Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Kefalonia - Part Two

Monday 16th

A glamorous lay in this morning; we got up at 1030, having had a full and wholesome 12 hours of rest to catch us up from the night before! At 1110 we left for Fiore D'amore, a cafe in town where we met up with the rest of the minibus crew from yesterday. Our rep, Elaine, arrived, looking brown as a native Greek, and launched into the run-down of what is available for us to do, both with Thomas Cook and local companies. After the talk we took a gander around a touristy shop that we hadn't noticed during last night's wanderings, and found some interesting goods. For €12, a fully-functional flintlock pistol (powder and shot sold separately), and for €40 a piece, either a gorgeous sword or a working modern harpoon (with one spear-ammo).

We stopped en route to the apartment to buy some more of the supermarket's simple but delectable sandwiches and at the bakery for another pain au chocolate and a massive, custard-filled danish pastry (for Katie). Back at our holiday home we changed and went down to the sea for a dip - quickly cut my swim short to trot into town and purchase another pair of snorkel and mask for myself, so we both had a set each to goggle at the marine life with. Soon though I was back in the water and we spent a good half hour exploring the local bay. We found, and I managed to free-dive to collect, a lovely pale cream urchin-shell, though unfortunately due to an accidental collision between the two of us in swimming back to shore, it was crushed and broken (though we enjoyed the display of fish that swarmed to nibble at the pieces).

 Soon after we returned up the hill and ate our lunch of pastry-based goodies, sandwiches and Peach Iced Tea (an amazingly refreshing and tasty beverage, especially when half-frozen into a slush!). We then wrote out our postcards, accompanied by a yummy dessert of Tesco's value midget gems (brought over from home), before sunning ourselves on the terrace (where we spotted our first Kefalonian cloud!!). At 1630 Elaine came around to her office here at Myrto (really just a desk inside a garage), and we booked a trip on the glass bottom boat trip for Saturday. Following this we had a little relax and read, before donning our swimmers and hitting the surf for a second time today.

Unfortunately the cloud earlier was a sign of things to come, and there are now a large group of them around Mt. Aenos (stop giggling those of you whose maturity levels are in need of a topping up). It's dropped the temperatures a little, but it is still about 25 degrees I'd approximate. We've seen alot more of the marine life this second time round; a large array of fish, big and small, including a huge school of mini-fish that were continually harassed by a single larger one (which I taught a lesson by diving after repeatedly, to see how it liked being chased!), a sea urchin and two star fish, one reddy-orange, and one black/brown. We also located another urchin shell, but unfortunately as soon as my hand touched it, it disintegrated. That was a big disappointment, as it took me a good seven dives to be able to reach the required depth (about 20-25ft down). Eventually though, nature called, and we returned to the apartment.

We washed the salt from ourselves, after-sunned and admired the tans we had already accumulated. Then we spent a good hour or so reading until hunger struck. Around 2030 we left for town, late in the style of proper Greek cuisine. My choice of venue tonight, and I selected cafe Finikas, about halfway along the north-western front of Agia Efimia. For starters Katie chose a simple Saganaki with pepper and tomato sauce (deep fried cheese), while I had a tantalizing Feta cheese in phyllo pastry, honey and sesame seed. During these we exclaimed at the strength of the wind that had picked up as evening progressed, the staff forced to close the giant umbrella that covered one portion of their dining area. Our mains consisted of a mixed kebap of chicken, pork and lamb for Katie and a soutzoukaki for myself (a fancy Greek term for spicy-sauced meatballs). The quay-side yachts were rocking to 45 degree angles at their moorings, the palms were bent over double and every loose piece of cloth, leaf or paper for miles around had disappeared.

Despite all this, the temperature remained pleasant, warm and just-under uncomfortable. To accompany my mains, I had decided to have a little alcohol. In light of this, I ordered a Sex On The Beach, one of my favourite cocktails. Long story short, the Greeks are not like their UK counterparts; they do not stint on the alcoholic ingredients in cocktails!Katie sampled the local island beer, Mythos, and reported it light and tasty (though I still maintain it, and all beers, taste #&%$!). After a lengthy wait for the bill we threw caution to the wind (see what I did there?) and walked around the bay to the second (and frankly, naff) supermarket. Returning to the first one, we purchased a few choice items and set off back towards home, gathering stamps from a kiosk en route.We made a slight detour on the way home via the harbour wall, and sat for a while admiring the large and clear sky of stars that the lack of light pollution provides. Halfway up the drive to our apartment, we stopped yet again for some star gazing, spotting two planes and, the highlight of our night, a shooting star! To bed!

Tuesday 17th

We awoke just prior to the alarm at 0930 this morning, and after breaking our fast with a tasty yoghurt each in the sun, we put on our gear and were in the crystal waters of the bay by 1015. Retracing our snorkelling route from yesterday we put our equipment back on the beach and lounged around on the surface waters (where I could actually float!), absorbing the rays. Before long though we tired of this and took to snorkelling once more. This time we followed the coast outside the mouth of our bay, through what we termed "Urchin Central". We also discovered yet another starfish and spotted the biggest fish yet - over a foot long and half as tall! Back at the apartment we rinsed off, admiring Katie's new M.J. look around her tan lines. Somehow, in a weird reverse of logic, my chest is still white, whilst my belly has acquired a fair tan. In light of Katie's tan we're sticking to SPF 50 and keeping her skin covered when not swimming - we don't want to to overboard!

Anyway by the time we had dressed it was 1330, so we set off into town for some supplies. I was happy to find some more Nestea Peach flavour in the supermarket, and we purchased some crisp-style nibbles for snacks. Katie posted the postcards, and we stopped off at the bakery before grabbing a cooling ice cream each. Katie had an almond caramel creme and cookie crunch, whilst I sampled caramel and chocolate. Simply put, they were divine! Once more at the apartment we feasted on our pastries (danish for her, pain of choc for moi), and settled down to read for a while. Unintended siesta over (oops!), and we returned to reading until about 2000 before heading out to dinner. Once again we dined at Spiros through mutual agreement, and ate Mezes again as a shared starter.

A trio of entertainers played on the deck nearby, a Greek singer/dancer with enigmatic feet and a beautiful voice accompanied by a chain-smoking keyboard player and a lyrist. We tried two new dishes to accent the Greek music floating through the air; Katie had beef giuvetsi which was a large bowl of rice-shaped pasta (orzo) with huge chunks of fall-apart beef in a tomato sauce and covered in grated feta. I went for a mixed souvlaki, which is essentially a kebap. Chicken, Sausage, Pork, Steak and Lamb made up my meal, with a gorgeous portion of chips on the side. Katie also sampled the house rose which, at €1.30 for a glass almost equivalent to an English large glass, tasted VERY nice! After paying the bill and thanking the entertainment, we took a walk around the bay to cool off and digest, before returning to our icy-cold air-conditioned room for reading and eventual sleep. Bliss.

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