Thursday, 27 March 2008

Travelogue: Kefalonia - a taste of untamed Greece

I have drifted away from the gardening themes. Only for a while though. Apart from the general lethargy the weather has inflicted upon me, I didn't really get the chance to do some gardening without needing an umbrella one minute and a snow shovel the next. And now its raining again. I used to love rain, I loved the exquisite scent in the air just before the storm (not the one from the sewer obviously), and I never thought I'd be so susceptible to weather changes. Nag, nag, nag...

Island of Lopud, Croatia

To make up for all this nagging and to cheer up both myself and anyone else in need I'm going to tell you a 'short' story about a place I still consider a hidden peace of heaven. I do come from a small country that has been generously graced by an astounding amount of natural beauty, a breathtaking coast and the crystal-clear Adriatic sea. 1185 islands, islets and reefs and each has a different story to tell. We don't exaggerate (not that much) when we say that nowhere else will you find a sea as clean as the Croatian Adriatic and that Croatia is ecologically one of the best preserved European countries. You don't need more than that to get all proud & patriotic every now and then. But then there's this place that feels just like home and leaves you in awe of all the untamed beauty and one of nature's very best attempts to make another masterpiece. So welcome to Kefalonia, an extraordinary island that has made me an eternal captive. The sea is as turquoise as on the brochure, the food as tasty as the mouth-watering descriptions, the dramatic scenery takes your breath away, and as for the locals go, they make this Greek island such an unforgettable place.

the world famous Myrtos beach, Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands and the sixth largest of all the Greek islands. Nevertheless, although earning some prestige as setting for the film based on the wonderful book by L. de Bernieres ''Cpt Corelli's Mandolin'', Kefalonia is still mostly untouched by the evil tentacles of mass tourism I think of it as a paradise lost and found, which has had and still has a true greek spirit in its purest form. No view from the balcony of a 5* hotel could ever make you feel as blessed as a dusty old dirt-track somewhere on the kefalonian west coast, a piece of rock to climb on and a breathtaking view of the deep, blue Ionian sea in all its might, followed by a distant tinkle of a goat bell somewhere among the countless olive groves. Truly a taste of untamed Greece. You can't but be mesmerized by its sparkling creeks, beaches and scenery dotted with century-old olive trees, cypress forests and forgotten villages. In lord Byron's footsteps (who wrote his Don Juan here during the Greek War of Independence), you are tempted to discover Kefalonia's mysterious geological phenomena - its caves, its underground streams and lakes, and its stark rocky landscape.

It was not my intention to sound like a brochure, but reading back I can see I'm on my best way to get there. So I'll just do what was initially my wish - to share some views of Kefalonia through a glimpse of a gardener and most of all, nature lover. If, on the other hand, you wish to find out more tricks and trinkets about this amazing place, feel free to visit my Kef website as I have (appropriately ;-) placed it among my favourite links.

... one of many forest paths...

Sissia - one of Kef's secret beaches, adorned with lush greenery and oleanders

Fiskardo - a village in bloom

Bougainvilleas galore

Sission ruins- a monastery founded by St Francis of Assisi;
up there in the background is MtAinos, home to dark forests
of a unique Greek fir (Abies cephalonica), an endemic specie

Kourkumelata - the prettiest village,
with the prettiest gardens

Visions of Kefalonia

... more to come !

6 komentari:

Hunde Haus said...

Kefalonia. Gosh, that is a heaven on earth.

Thanks so much for sharing about this magical place!

And now I MUST go look at your garden and the rest of your blog. :-)

( thank you so very much for your post concerning my dog Jack. Your words truly helped my heart. )

garden girl said...

Wow, what a beautiful place. You make me want to learn more about Croatia and its islands. Kefalonia looks like paradise.

Viooltje said...

It is. I regularly bore my friends to death talking about Kefalonia. In fact I'm so taken over by the place I wonder how the hell it took me so long to spill the beans about it on my blog. I've been there several times so far, but never in spring. That's my biggest wish.

Amy said...

I had no idea this part of the world was so incredibly beautiful. Lets hope those evil mass tourism tentacles never, ever spoil such a heavenly spot!

Marie said...

Fantastic photos :)

AiaKirjanik said...

Gorgeous pictures! I have been there, but muy pictures were not so good:D

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