On my last full day on Cephalonia I decided to drag myself away from the pool and explore a bit. It will give ne something to talk about when I get home. When asked ‘where did you go?’ I can answer. Argostoli, Lourdas and Lixouri.
Harry kindly gave myself, Gill and John a lift out of the narrow streets of Valchata, on to the top road to catch the ‘big bus’ to Argostoli. I took a front seat and watched the mainly industrial businesses and supermarkets drift by. One village looked very British I thought, with red roofed buildings, cream plaster, front gardens, trees and pavements.
Argostoli bus station is much like any other. Chaos and fumes. Tourists dragging luggage behind them. A quick exit brought us to the seafront. I noted how Italianate it looks with more cafes than tavernas. It is easier here to buy ice cream and cake than gyros and ouzo.
As we walk along the seafront by the lagoon that splits the island in two, we stop to look for the Mediterranean sea turtles, ‘Caretta Caretta’ of ‘Loggerhead’. They lay eggs, swim and live here in the harbour. Young volunteers help the young hatchlings find their way to sea, save they get confused by the bright lights of commerce in the town which look like the moon to a young turtle.
A large specimen breaches the surface of the water. I am shocked as to its beauty and size. They grow to over a metre in length. We get a better view further down where they visit the fishing boats landing their daily catch. I feel privileged to see these creatures in a wild state here, and swear to do my bit to protect the seas for marine life such as these.
There is a large pedestrian shopping street running through the centre of town. Bored husbands are standing dutifully by as wives try on sun hats. They are careful to make all the right noises. ‘Yes darling, you look amazing!’ I am both pleased and disappointed all at once to be travelling light. No purchases for me save for a very lightweight pair of earrings!
Window shopping completed I take a walk to the port area. A large cruise ship is in. On a whim, I jump onto the ferry for the 20 minute journey across the narrow channel to Lixouri. It feels good to be on the water hopping about a bit. Its Greek travel as I am used to.
Argostoli from the sea looks like it could be Paignton or Falmouth to me. It’s a different kind of Greek vista.
Lixouri itself is shabbier than Argostoli. There is not much here to recommend apart from a few cafes. I stop for a drink in the shade. Its 30 degrees already. Determined that I must be missing something, I pay my bill and take off on foot. I walk behind an older Greek man who farts loudly as he saunters along. No hint of embarrassment or apology forthcoming. He really did let rip!
Satisfied that I haven’t missed a thing, I board the next ferry back. I can tick Lixouri off the list. The bus takes me bacI to Valchata at 2.30 and I am back round the pool by 4 pleased with my morning.
Last evenings are always tricky. Thoughts full of what you’ve experienced and what you failed to visit and see. A last meal of Calamari cheers my mood. I laugh to myself at my table for one, as the young girl to the left of me looks at the handsome waiter and orders ‘village sausage’ with hope in her eyes.
Ross and Helen are in the same restaurant. I hope they don’t see me. Not because I don’t want their company – it is their last night too and I want them to enjoy it as a couple. They don’t need a gooseberry. Everybody has been so kind already.
The evening ended saying goodbye to new freinds round the pool bar. There was laughter, silliness and more dancing. There are videos somewhere that I hope never see the light of day. Sore heads will greet us all tomorrow but it was worth it.
As I pack my bags to go home, I know I have these memories of a Greek summer to get me through winter. There is a time coming where I shall be sitting for hours in a boardroom, getting nowhere fast, while it rains incessantly outside. My emotional bank has been replenished.
I decided to document this in a blog, not for ‘likes’ or attention. But for me. When I embarked upon this journey, I knew it was a one-off. Memories can fade quickly. I wanted to be able to recall my experiences and keep my memories fresh. If you have enjoyed reading about it all – then that’s a bonus to me. Thankyou x