The photo is the Melisanni undeground lake, in Sami, Cephalonia, from where I’ve recently returned after a short visit (one week). So.. Cephalonia, where to start? Its a beautiful place, very un-developed (hardly any cars on the roads apart from the small cars favoured by tourists and lorries carrying the produce to and from the various inter-island ferries).
The airport. Very small and woefully unable to cope with more than one inbound tourist flight at a time. The luggage carousel sounded like it was about to give up the ghost at any time. While the family were fighting their way through the crowds of tourist waiting to claim their bags, I went off to sort out the hire car. We’d decided to hire a villa for this our first Greek Island adventure(the brochure said it was essential – it wasnt wrong).
We struggled for a while getting our bearings before we eventually found the villa courtesy of a very kind shop owner who took pity on me when I called in the second time trying to sort out directions and actually led us to it in his car!
Once you get used to the roads they’re fine, but a bit of a shock to someone used to the well-manicured roads of the United Kingdom! The island is very hilly (lots of practice for your clutch control and hill starts!), the roads have lots of ‘interesting’ hairpins and are typically roads which are just about passable by 2 cars simultaneously. Their is one main road which circumnavigates the island and also crosses the mountainous interior. Lorries and coaches tend to come around corners sitting in the centre of the road which made for a few close-shaves. The roads are generally very clear(we didnt see our first traffic ‘jam’ until we went to the island capital, Argostoli and event then it was only a queue of a dozen or so cars) and once you get used to quirks very enjoyable to drive as the scenery is typically spectacular.
Roundabouts (or rotaries for those of you in the US) are in short supply – I only encountered 3 on the whole island along the single piece of dual-carriageway in the run into Argostoli. BUT.. one good piece of information I was given is that its the traffic coming ONTO the roundabout that has priority(the opposite of the UK and other places). It didnt cause any major problems though.
There are lots of monasteries and churches, beautiful beaches and fantastic scenery. The pace of life is so much slower – very relaxing. Not the place for someone that likes to keep very active on holiday as their arent many options – there are a couple of horse-riding stables – the one my daughter used was very good. Their are also a couple of official attractions – The Melissani Underground lake(pictured) and the Drogararti Cave (not too deep), but fascinating.
Apparently the weather was pretty typical for the time of year, i.e. HOT (typically 30 degrees + although we did hit 40 degrees C on a couple of occasions), quite intense sunshine, especially between noon and 3 or 4pm (time for siesta!), and their was an every present breeeze. The beaches were great and the water very clear and full of fish.
This blog post has been a bit like our outings, wandering from here to there and somehow managing to find our way back to the start.
Cephalonia – an excellent first visit and I am sure it wont be the last. I plan to go back and relax some more.