Kefalonia: First impressions
When we picked Kefalonia as the first stop on our gap year adventure it was partly because we thought it would be a great place to do some island hopping from (as well as being in a good position to visit the Greek mainland). Also partly because we know some people who live here, who always rave about how beautiful it is and partly because they have mild winters. Escaping the impending grey of the UK November was high on our list of “reasons to go”.
Flying out of Gatwick 4 days ago we found ourselves on a half empty plane. Most tourists have stopped coming now that the winter season is starting and schools are back until Christmas, and so, while the return planes back to the UK are full of sun kissed visitors sad to be leaving, most people on the way here are residents coming back from visiting family.
We arrived at the sleepy airport in the early evening, an airport where you are off the plane, walking across the runway and into passport control within 3 minutes and before we knew it we had our luggage and were wandering towards the exit.
A friendly woman holding our car hire sign met us and whisked me a short drive up a hill to collect the car for our stay and then, having scooped up Kris and the boys again, we were on our way deep into the island.
That first drive was….interesting. I’ll do a separate post about driving here once I have got my head around it all, but navigating the small, winding country lanes, with few signs while being on the “wrong side” of the road proved to be intense. Luckily there was hardly any other traffic about so my slow meandering along didn’t upset anyone.
A combination of Google maps and good instructions from our hosts meant we made the 20 minute journey from the airport without incident and found ourselves at Anchorage Villas, in a sleepy village called Karavados.
It’s everything you want to see when arriving somewhere like this, blue skies, white walled villas, outside seating under verandas and an infinity pool looking out across the island to the sea ahead.
We had a tour of our villa and the outside space, were introduced to the numerous animals (dog, cats and chickens aplenty) and then were left to unpack, eat some delicious fresh baked bread and sit around feeling especially pleased with ourselves.
We’ve done so much in the past 4 days that it feels like we’ve been here much longer: walks to the local village where a bakery and coffee shop invite you in, daring you to stay for just one more drink before the dusty walk home. We braved our first trip to a supermarket, marvelling at the abundance of beautifully fresh fruit and vegetables while simultaneously wishing we’d studied our Greek alphabet a bit harder as we struggled to decipher packets and boxes (thank you Google Translate!).
We drove into the harbour town of Argostoli yesterday to eat delicious olives, garlic potatoes and fried vegetables while we sat overlooking a lagoon which is home to loggerhead turtles who winter there in the warm waters.
We’ve swum in the chilly infinity pool each day, daring each other to get in as warm skin screams resistance against the cold water until you take a deep breath, slip into the pool and, after a few laps, get out feeling refreshed and thankful for the sun to dry you quickly before you start the process again.
We’ve settled in to the villa too, it already feels homely, with our belongings tucked into drawers and cupboards and our kitchen full with food both comfortingly familiar and excitingly new too.
I said to a friend today that so far it feels like a wonderful holiday, like we’ll be heading away again soon when in reality we have weeks of exploring ahead of us. Kris will start work again after his break towards the end of this week and once that starts I think we’ll begin to settle into our new Greek routine. I’m excited to see what that feels like.
So for now, I’m going to take myself off to the pool again, drink another glass of the freshest orange juice and stare out at the never boring views over this idyllic island.
μέχρι την επόμενη φορά (Until next time) x