Few days before the change of the 2016, me and two other friends decided to visit and experience by bike the island of Kefalonia. Kefalonia is a popular destination for tourists during the summer because of it’s rich history, wonderful beaches and hospitable littoral towns . To see an island like this through the rough filter of winter was always in my future plans but due to my love for mountains I haven’t tried yet. This time was different though’ we had fewer days than usual (4) and the winter struck Greece ferociously this year making my friends nervous about sleeping in snowy mountains under unforgiving cold temperatures. After some discussion we decided to visit Kefalonia, which is a very nice island, relatively close to our home city with cheap ferry line tickets (around 25euros to go and come back) .
As always, due to poor planning and procrastination, the night before the departure, we had to stay up until 5 am fixing and adjusting a bike with problems. We slept for few hours and woke up to start our journey. The boat was leaving at 6pm from Kilini Port and had to cover 70 km in an ugly highway.
This trip was very interesting for many reasons, one of them was the
DIY basket I designed and made few days earlier and I was eager to try it in a self supporting tour!
You can see it here (Google maps can’t connect the left route on northern part because of the crack on the road above Mirtos Beach)
And here is the photo travelogue :
Our first quick break in Prokopou Lake. On the way to the Kilini Port we did a very slight deviation from our route to see flamingos and cormorants in the wetland habitat of the area.
As the sun is setting we are approaching the port of Kilini. Few kilometers more and we will be at the port to get our boat to Kefalonia.
Our first morning in Kefalonia. I slept outside the tent on the blue camping mat your see at the right. During the night I had to cover my self with my nylon sheet because of sudden rain. Fortunately the first and last rain drop of our trip! This place is a small square very close to the port of Poros in Kefalonia.
This is the port as we see it from our sleeping spot. I saw that sweet old man limping with his dog on his side and I wanted to take a photograph to remember him.
After few kilometers we took a visit to the Mycenaean Tomb of Tzanata. A nice place right before a beautiful river delta. A peculiar lady show us the tomb and told us some interesting things about it. This big tomb is a good sign that Kefalonia was a big civilization center of antiquity. Some archeologists even identify it with Homer’s Ithaca.
Unike mountains, islands don’t provide springs that often. That means you have to fill up your bottles when you see little squares like this with running water. It’s a good excuse to hope off the bicycle and relax a little under the sun!
Have you read about the Lotus-eaters? The mythical, peaceful people from Greek mythology? They would love Kefalonia! The southern part is full of lotus trees and this time of the year they are ripe and ready to be eaten! My favorite fruit, I can die eating lotus fruits! You can see George trying to grab a ripe one!
This must be the view from the road of Mousata village. You can see the Zante island in the distance
I rarely get into trouble to take a photograph of the whole team, but this was a nice spot with great view and nice
This is a very typical image from Kefalonia’s roads. Later on, on this road, we met with the famous insular wind! Fortunately for the rest of the journey we didn’t have to deal with big winds.
We fund an open bakery somewhere in Metaxata village and stopped to eat delicious cheese pie and donuts. I love cycling, but I also love those little breaks where you eat delicious warm pies and laugh with stupid jokes!
I love to explore smaller gravel routes, so I suggested to explore the are before we reach our big stop, city of Argostoli. The landscape was wilder and the car traffic ofcourse was zero (this time of the year all the islands have almost zero traffic, everywhere though).
Out first stop in town was the historical bridge of De Bosset that connects the capitl of the island with the coast across. We stayed there for a while in silence, to enjoy the view of the town. A town that could be the creation of an impressionist painter.
These are the cyclopian walls. We spent the night there and we had few hours in the morning to appreciate those huge walls. They are called Cyclopian because people thought that only cyclops could move huge blocks of rock that big. The big block at the right was 2m high and 4 m width.
A typical house in Kefalonia. surrounded by orange trees. Most of the houses of the island look new, because in 1953 a devastating earthquake left very few buildings standing. Two years ago a big earthquake caused also huge problems.
This is me looking happy. Our goal was to reach the small town of Fiskardo by night so we could sleep there. The route included big climbs that made our mission difficult. Thew view is always excellent though!
We found this robin on the side of the road. He was still warm, so he just died. The cause was almost certainly the cold, so I tried to warm him up in my basket…just in case. Unfortunately he didn’t wake up 😦
We were rolling down a big slope that leads to Fiskardo. We didn’t expect that much cold so we weren’t prepared properly. It was one of the coldest descents I have done by bicycle (and I’ve done a lot!). Right on a corner of a quiet village we found open a small traditional coffee place. We met some locals and we had some delicous traditional greek Christmas sweets. An old man bought us the drinks and the owner didn’t charge us for the rest! If you ever go to Kefalonia, please visit the place, it is called ‘Sinantisis’! The village is ‘Mesovounia’.
We are in Fiskardo. Probably the only area of the island that wasn’t destroyed by the earthquakes. In my opinion is the most beautiful of all. During the winter it looks like a Hollywood movie setting. During the night we didn’t even see one person. We found this sweet spot and spent the night looking at the fishing boats.
If you follow a path outside the town you can visit this Venetian lighthouse from 1892 along with an older one from the 16th century. They used to be incredible important for the ships that wanted to approach the small harbor, but nowadays both stand defenseless to time and negligence.
The bike warriors with the beautiful Fiskardo in the background. I truly fell in love with this little town!
A small square inside the classy houses of Fiskardo. Big impressive fishes in the pond, kittnes rubbing on your feet and a bright sun painting the olive tree leaves with silver… This is a modern zen garden!
A breathtaking view to Mirtos, the most famous beach of Kefalonia. Right here, the recent earthquake of 2014 created a huge crack on the rock above the beach, cutting the road in half. The road is still under construction but fortunately, we are cyclists, and cyclists can go everywhere!
The lady that owned this house passed away recently. Her tree though. still feeds travelers.. It’s a kind of poetic thought, isn’t it?
We are very close to Poros, our starting point. Our beautiful journey is coming to an end, the blackness of the night is stronger than some dim nights here and there and we are passing through quiet villages like this. I am guessing it’s few habitats are too old or too tired to decorate their village’s big square with more lights and trees.
We are back to Poros. We decided to celebrate the end of the trip with delicious souvlaki (unfortunately I can’t recall the name of this place) and some local beer. Ahhh, sweet memories!
Back to Kilini port. The hardest kms are ahead of us, cycling on a highway again. I already miss quiet Kefalonia…
I am almost home. Fortunately home has some nice places as well. That makes the transition way easier….
This is it. I am back home now. I stop for few minutes to enjoy the sunset. An other beautiful bicycle trip came to an end, and I can now spend the rest of the day appreciating the beautiful moments I ‘ve experienced once more on the saddle. I am one lucky bastard! I feel so grateful that I get to do these trips. I kiss my bicycle, I hop on the saddle and I start pedaling to my house…