A little R & R
After we finished up our hiking trip in Italy, it was time for some R&R – so where else better to do that then the beaches of Greece?? We headed to Kefalonia for the next couple weeks. About 5-6 years ago, my cousin got married on this beautiful island and I have been dreaming of coming back since. We started in the main city or Argostoli where we stayed with this really nice man named Panos, he was super helpful in getting us information we needed for our stay. Our first night, we got in late but made sure to go straight for some late night souvlaki! It began the first of SO many AMAZING meals. We decided to rent a moped for our few days here, which was very helpful in visiting the sites. Anyways… we went up to St. George Castle and at a the top of the hill with an amazing view, found a nice quiet little beach where we snorkeled and played in the water, walked across the bridge at night for a beautiful view of the little city and nearly every night we ate at this little restaurant along the water where we had the BEST calamari saganaki and octopus I have ever had followed by a stop at a killer pastry shop. Our favorite spot was definitely Pasada beach though! It was by far the most beautiful beach we saw during our whole trip – tucked away in a little cove with crystal clear water.
Our next stop in Kefalonia was Assos – this is the tiniest little town ever but man is it beautiful! Each night we hiked up to see the sunset at the castle of Assos with a bottle of wine. On our first hike up we met a man that was from South Carolina but had lived in Atlanta for quite a while so we met up with him, his wife and friend later that evening for a bite. They agreed to take us with them to the famous Myrtos beach the next day, which was great because we didn’t have any transportation and a cab was quite expensive. Myrtos was as stunning as it is in the photos, however it was incredibly crowded so after about an hour we headed to another beach that we found on the map, it was about a 20 minute trek to get to but was well worth it. We finished up with a drink in Fiskardo and planned to all get together for dinner. We really enjoyed our day with them, so we were looking forward to spending more time with them, however by the time dinner came around, the man in the couple got WAY WAY too drunk and became verbally combative and made everyone so uncomfortable! Sort of an awkward way to end a nice couple days, but thankfully they were headed in a different direction so we no longer had to see them.
Next on our list was Fiskardo – definitely the most famous stop on Kefalonia. We were unsure how we would get there since there was no bus the day we needed to go and a taxi was around 30 euro for a 30 minute drive (yikes!) but then Rob saw a girl in a car by herself and he decided he might as well ask if she would take us and she said yes (Rob edit: it wasn’t purely chance, the car said “Fiskardo Rental Cars” on the side, haha). She wouldn’t even let us give her gas money! Our hotel in Fiskardo was by far the nicest we had during our time in Greece with a giant patio that over-looked the port. It is very picturesque here but the food was – meh. We rented a boat one day to head to a secluded beach and Rob caught an octopus… well 1/8th of one. We also went to a popular beach called Foki beach, which was really lovely with tons of olive trees providing shade. After some exploring we found a HUGE cave and explored there for a while. We only spent a few days here but it was lovely
Our last stop in Kefalonia was Sami, we didn’t do much in this town as we were pretty beat up by the sun so we set up a hammock in the shade on the beach and hung in our room most days. One day we did rent a moped and drove to Messilani Cave, which is pretty fantastic (photos below) and then did a little trip up to Mount Aionos. The only problem with this was that we had the worlds worst moped and Rob kept having to use his feet like we were on a razor scooter to keep our momentum up the mountain. A few times I even had to get off and walk, but the view was a perfect end to our time on the island. At least the ride was down a breeze!
After a few pretty low-key weeks, we wanted to get to northern Greece. We took a bus, a ferry and then two more busses to get to Ioannina. Our hopes were that it would be much cooler in the mountains since it had been so brutally hot on the beaches, but by some black magic it was hotter here than on the islands! We rented a car for our time up north and planned to go see all these beautiful arched bridges and hang out by the river, fish and enjoy our days…. except…. all the rivers were dry. ALL OF THEM. This was our plan for most of our days here so we had to come up with some alternatives on the fly…. We chose Meteora.
Meteora was a bit far, 2 hours away by car, but it was so worth the drive. Meteora is an area with rock formations hosting one of the largest complexes of monasteries in the world – thought to be built in the late 11th century. We spent the next couple days here touring around the monasteries and photographing their beauty. There isn’t a whole lot to say about what we did, but the scenery was unbelievable. We did our best to capture it below in our photos.
Before heading back to the states – we did a week in Bulgaria (see our post here) and then a couple days in Athens. I wish I had more to report on our Athens days but Rob and I spent most of them very very sick and were unable to visit most of the sites. We did however get to spend some quality time with some of my cousins and that was wonderful, they were great hosts, I only wish we would have felt a little better during our time.