Ionian Islandry

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October 15th 2008
Published: November 16th 2008
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033 - Greece - Kefalonia

10/15/08 - 10/21/08

Ionian Islandry

We like Greek islands. And, compared to the hustle of big city life in Athens, we really like Greek islands.

It all started as we hopped off the ferry onto Ithaki, Homer's (as in the Iliad and the Odyssey, not the Simpsons!) home in the Ionian Sea. Unlike most ports, however, there was hardly anyone there! No buses, no taxis, nothing. Just me and Hannah, and Yiayia, who wanted to come along to see Ithaki and her friends in Kefalonia during the Saint Gerasimo festival on October 20th. Luckily, there was a friendly old lady selling coffee at a stand that agreed to call a taxi to come pick us up. While waiting, we started off a conversation and I realized how friendly the people of Ithaki are compared to Athenians. This 'friendly' trend continued for our entire stay on the islands, and our 'Athens city guard' slowly melted away.

We rented a car and explored every square inch of Ithaki island. We also took some unpaved roads and tested the ground clearance of our rented Fiat en route to some secluded beaches and bays [NOTE: The ground clearance on a Fiat Punto is quite low!). I finally got to do some snorkeling in the Mediterranean and it was fantastic, albeit a tad cold.

After Ithaki, we went to the island of Kefalonia and stayed with our family friends Katie and Anastasi. They were incredibly friendly and treated us like their own kids. Anastasi is in his early eighties and stays remarkably active by managing his numerous gardens and chickens in plots around his house. He calls his chickens his 'girls' and raises them but never eats them himself. In fact, he doesn't consume or sell most of the food he grows, opting instead to give it away to friends and neighbors. When I questioned him about his motives for spending so much of his time on farming crops and chickens he doesn't use, he told me he does it for his health. 'If I don't do this, I'll stay at home and slowly whither away.' May we all be blessed with such a great attitude at that age!

Saint Gerasimo is the patron saint of Kefalonia. Every year, there is a huge celebration on October 20th which draws believers from all over Greece. In case you didn't know it, Greeks, and the Orthodox faith in general, are heavy believers that saints are messengers of God and are capable of miracles. By praying to a certain saint you can ask for help depending on his or her 'specialty'. In St. Gerasimo's case, he is known as being able to help people that are possessed by the devil! Other saints are known for other miracles, such as assistance with fertility problems or protection while traveling.

During the celebration, Hannah and I went down to Saint Gerasimo's sleeping quarters. He used to sleep in a tiny cave underneath the old church in Kefalonia. The entrance to the cave is a teeny tiny hole that you have to crawl through flat on your stomach. I squeezed through but wondered if anyone has ever been stuck trying to get through? Well, legend has it that anyone, even large people, can fit through the hole as long as they are believers!!!

Next, we head back to Athens and pick up Hannah's mom before heading to picture-perfect Santorini!

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 24


Nuns at St. Gerasimo 's sleeping caveNuns at St. Gerasimo 's sleeping cave
Nuns at St. Gerasimo 's sleeping cave

It was crazy to watch these nuns crawl through the hole on their hands and knees... they were stoked though!!

16th November 2008

Ouzo and St. Nicolas
I miss my ouzo and orange juice! They don't serve it on the airlines here. Imagine that! I'll have to stock up for when you guys get to the east coast of the USA. Nico, you may not be a saint yet, but I continue to hear reliable reports that you are one stellar young man! Keep on taking good care of my girl, and you'll both stay at the top of my BEST list! Love, Mom aka MaMa T
17th November 2008

I have to admit that I love the Euro Huggers. I just got back from a beach in Florida and I don't know what the point is of wearing boxers followed by 'shorts' that fall almost to your ankles! It's downright Puritan and I think the American look is completely ridiculous (I'm an American). Long live the Euro huggers and may they come back to America soon!
17th November 2008

You renew good memories
The Greek Islands were wonderful ... and, as I was kayaking there, I noticed that I never saw a Grecian flag that wasn't flying in the wind. A windy place, challenging kayaking, but the most wonderful people in the world. Thanks for renewing my memories!
6th January 2009

hi all your fotos are really nice i am also in love with kefalonia i am cypriot but build a house there near lixouri 5 km from petani beach a 2bedroom one big garage and i am selling it at a cost price 120.000 euros because i found a plot next to the sea if anybody interested i can send you fotos 00357-99603450 my email
18th April 2010

my wonderful kefalonia
Dear Nico and Hannad very nice fotos of kefalonia i am cypriot in love with kefalonia also i do have a house near Lixouri but because of crisis i would like sombody to to share my house i mean to buy half of it and keetp the other half i like so much kefalonia that i want to carry on coming threre can anybody help me?00357-99603450 neoptolemos

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