We have been on Kefalonia one of the Ionian Islands for 2 days now. An idea of our most experienced world cycling friend.
It is great to see how an island is really Greek, but also unique. For example, there are no stray dogs here (but all the more goats) and there is much less litter (man the Greeks are smears). Another thing is that the tourist season here starts a month later, on May 1, with the result that everything is closed. Not only are there no boats between the islands (so much for our plan to go island hopping). The campsite, all hotels and attractions, a good part of the shops and all restaurants are closed too. A great opportunity for the Kefaloniers to show their best side. After we found the closed campside and 3 hotels with an open door but no people, the courage began to sink. Then Oscar decided to check the door of hotel Athina in Karavomylos. Open again, we’d seen that before, but now he stayed away for a long time. I was already starting to calculate how far we could cycle before it would get dark, when he came out with the greetings of Nikos ‘Oscar my friend’ who was painting the patio of his hotel. He had to work until the sundown, but we could stay on his private land. Past the 2nd white car behind the gate. He would leave the hotel open so we could use the toilet. And so he did: all the doors open, keys inside. Pay? No, “what are you talking about”. “Are your friends coming to Kefalonia in 3 weeks? Send them too. I make a place for them and then we drink ouzo.”

The next day after a 20km long climb we find a snackbar. We go in to dry up. “Your drinks are on Nikos” (other man, same name) because he thinks ‘the Dutch’ are the nicest Europeans, “because they always smile”.

Also today, we find only kindness. Again a dark and greasy smelling snackbar. Beggars can’t be choosers. “Coffee? Uh, Greek coffee?” ‘yes, fine.’ “Sugar?” “No Sugar.” Oscar sees how they Fire up a butagas stove to boil water. It takes a while, but then 2 large cardboard cups come out with coffee that almost tastes like chocolate milk. ‘water?’ A bottle arrives and after a few minutes 2 glasses. And a cookie? A gesture towards the mountain. It is clear he thinks we need that. And when we needed the toilet, the private bathroom is made available. At our departure I have to press to pay more than 2 euro.

In the meantime, we enjoy the rugged landscape and spectacular views. Which are crowned with the sleepy harbor of Friskado where the only shopkeeper present summons his wife to open their ‘magnolia apartment’ in the adjacent village with collapsed church tower to us.

Too bad we’ll finish our tour tomorrow. Friday morning we sail to Astakos to pick up the route along the coast. Another 350km to Albania.

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