This past summer I returned to Greece once more, though this time to my father's island of Kefalonia, which is situated off of the country's western coast. If the colors blue, white, and beige embody life on the Aegean islands, then surely blue, orange, and deep green epitomize the Ionian islands and Kefalonia. To view the trip's full gallery visit: https://pavloskaralis.smugmug.com/Travel/Kefalonia-2015/.
From the moment I stepped off of the plane I could sense Kefalonia's untamed nature, as I observed the sun dying the sky red-orange in stark contrast to the surrounding patterns of overgrown plant life. Furthermore, unlike the direct routes experienced in Naxos, the way to the hotel was full of twisting roadways and hidden turns. In hindsight, it was well worth it given the resort's prime location along a beach with aquamarine waters, and a massive cliff face.
The first day - and not surprisingly each following morning - was spent enjoying a breakfast buffet and then walking to the beach for a relaxing swim. Afterward, I headed up into the mountains to explore the ruins of St. George's Castle: a Byzantine fortress once used to safeguard the island. From there, I went back down to coast to discover more scenic views at Argostoli's harbor (the island's capital).
The next day was again spent going up into the mountains, only this time much further and higher to see my father's childhood village of Kornellos. Afterward, I headed down the backside of the largest mountain to the coastal town of Poros, where I enjoyed a fresh seafood lunch. Ironically, these were the same species of fish as the ones which occasional nipped me while swimming at the beach.
On the third day, I visited two spectacular natural sites, as well as the remains of my grandfather's village (Latavinata). The first location was that of Drogarati Cave, which if my memory serves correctly, is equal in size to that of Luray Caverns in Virginia. The second location -- admittedly more frightening given my inability to swim -- was Melissani Lake, which is accessible only from a man made tunnel or . . . a 120 foot plunge into cold, brackish waters roughly 40 feet deep, and full of indiscernible sea life.
After the drive to Poros, I assumed that I had experienced the worst of the narrow roadways, though was proven wrong the following day with the long drive to Assos. Similar to Poros in its architecture, Assos is discretely tucked away on Kefalonia's northern peninsula. The landscape here is far more wild and rocky with its numerous cliff faces, atop of which another of the island's fortresses is situated.
On the last day it was time to say goodbye to Kefalonia, though not without a final stop at Argostoli's colorful market district and historical museum. Overall, while the island is admittedly far more difficult to get to than Naxos, given the unsettling 10 hour layover involved, I have to say that I prefer Kefalonia's rocky, vegetated landscape as it resonated with me on a much deeper level.