Did I want to go on holiday to a beautiful Greek island, asked my lovely friend on a wet cold January evening in a local pub. Would anyone hesitate? Of course I wanted to go! Where did I sign?
Getting on that plane was a huge moment for me. It was the first time I’d gone on holiday with a friend, without kids or partner. It was also the first time I’d been anywhere further than Majorca, and I was so excited that I was definitely at risk of expecting too much.
I wasn’t disappointed, though…
From the moment we stepped off the plane into brilliant sunshine, I was falling in love. Kefelonia is simply spectacular, a myriad of contrasting views and experiences tastes, smells, sights and sounds. We stayed in a tiny, family-run apartment block near Argostoli – simple, friendly and pretty with a truly excellent pool bar – setting ourselves a challenge of sampling every cocktail on the menu was daunting, but we really did our best and surpassed ourselves.
The local beach was idyllic: fine sand, gentle breezes and cold drinks available just a short walk away.
I began to wonder if it was necessary for us to even leave the resort…surely this was the best Kefalonia had to offer. Why bother going anywhere else?
We did decide to explore further, though… real effort to get ourselves off those sunbeds and away from that pool bar, to be honest, but we did achieve it. The first excursion found us travelling over mountains and through valleys of olive groves, past wild goats with the strangest silver teeth (result of eating mineral laden foliage, apparently!) and round high altitude, precarious hairpin bends taken at speeds cautious English girls like myself nearly fainted at. Lunching lazily in beautiful waterside bistros, wandering through cobbled sunlit streets admiring local produce and souvenirs (and buying a lot, too), envying the elite yachts cruising across the bays. Cliché, I know…but I truly could have stayed forever.
We took a ferry from Sami, film location of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and visited Ithaca, home of the mythical Odysseus. I could truly see why he struggled for 20 years to get back there! Next stop was the Drogarati Caves with its awe-inspiring, ultramarine blue underground Lake Melissani, which we explored by boat, trailing our fingers through the icy cold water and listening quietly to the guide explaining the mysteries of the world under the Kefalonian’s feet.
Another evening found us in the capital, Argostoli, shopping and enjoying yet more cocktails and local food. Wandering around one corner, we came across the town square, where a festival was taking place, complete with dancers in national costume and small children playing happily between the market stalls late into the night as their parents laughed and chatted with their neighbours.
The afternoon drive to the Omala Valley wine cellars…I’m absolutely not a wine buff, and couldn’t tell my Robolo from my Rioja, but I do know it was heady stuff! Wildly contrasting was the visit to the beautiful St Gerasimo’s church, where you can climb down a ladder to see the cave where the hermit spent his life.
I remember the shop that sold nothing, it seemed, but enormous watermelons…the lady who listened with patient encouragement as I attempted to thank her in my haltingly awful Greek…the yellow river taxis in their neat ranks, bobbing gently as they awaited their fares…the tiny, darting silver fish which played in the shadows cast by our feet over the shallows as we sat on the harbour wall eating ice creams…every returning memory serves to reinforce my viewpoint of this place as truly special.
I haven’t returned yet. Part of me fears that it won’t be as wonderful as I remember it. Part of me only wants to go if it can be with my lovely friend again, so we can repeat the whole experience!
But I WILL go back, and hopefully it will be very soon. Kefalonia remains for me the perfect destination…but don’t take my word for it. Why would you? You don’t know me! Go and see for yourself…
A short tour of Kefalonia
Written by Caron Brown in 2017. On completing this blog she booked a ticket and came back in August 2017!
Maybe she’ll write another blog about her return!