27-Day Backpacking Excursion / Greece! Take me back.

Kefalonia, Greece!

Day 8:

Monday morning we woke up in Pisa and had the morning to pack up and check out the Leaning Tower! We locked our bags in the hostel storage closet and had the hostel print our boarding pass that we needed later in our trip (we couldn’t check in to all of them because you can only check in 15 days before your flight). Anyway, they were nice and helpful and it was a relief to have them printed. Oh and I weighed my backpack before we left and it weighed 14 kg. Just a hair shy of RyanAir’s strict 10 kg limit. Fingers crossed.

We headed to the tower where we proceeded to take some classic tower pics and senior poses. Olivia bought a delicious looking piece of coconut that tasted like a flavorless piece of a really hard apple covered with bark. It was a very decieving treat. After acting thoroughly touristy by the tower we headed back to the hostel so we could catch our flight.

Thankfully our bags were still in the closet (everyone shares)…phew. Then we headed toward the bus/train station where we saw a bus that said “aeropuerto”. We hopped on. We asked the bus driver if we paid on the bus, but we had happened upon a bus driver switch, and ended up never having to pay. We’re pretty sure no one paid. So that was a nice little gift from Pisa, plus we didn’t have to walk. And seeing as it was super hot out, it was a real treat!

Even with my 14 kg. backpack we all made it through RyanAir security. Olivia was the only one who had to have her bag weighed, but she just wore the coat she had packed and was good to go. And our flight to Kefalonia was smooth besides a relatively bumpy landing. We landed on the strip and had to make a little u-turn to get back to the airport…that’s how bitty it was.

I had looked into renting cars before we had left Ireland and was really set on the idea. All the reviews I had read suggested that in order to really see the island you would  need to rent a car. I had seen that some of the companies would accept drivers who were 21+, so we were in luck. The estimates online said it would be around 250 euro for the week, so divided by the 5 of us, it would have been 50 each. So long story short, after stepping into the airport we began our rental car comparison. We split up and got prices and huddled back up to discuss our options. They were probably all annoyed with us because it was a very thorough procces, but we ended up getting an automatic, 5 person, Nissan Micra for 100 euro for the 5 days. Way cheaper than I expected. And we only used 25 euro worth of gas for the whole week which involved more than like 6 hours of driving. Entirely worth it. Oh and they fill up your car for you. You tell them how much you  want to spend and they fill it to that exact amount.

I was the driver of our car by default and actually ended up enjoying driving. The roads were nice and curvy. We were lucky enough that our hour and a half drive was entirely along the coast. And we had to stop for herds of goats. Dogs. Cats. Crazy drivers. It actually felt like a set-up driver’s ed test at points. “Oh no, a kid’s ball just rolled out into the street…what should you do?!”

 No close calls besides the time when we came to a halt because a wolf/dog made a B-line for my driver’s side door and in the meantime as it was barking and I was trying to inch away, 2 goats ran in front of our car. But we made it. Olivia even said that I was meant to drive in Greece. So that was about the sweetest thing ever. And they all were lovely navigators. And Olivia’s phone with 3G saved us multiple times.

We made it really close to our accommodation, but were still a little lost. Two of the girls hopped out of the car and asked a local baker for directions. She ended up drawing us a map on part of a bag and calling our apartment, Sirines. She said the host of our apartment would be standing outside so we would know that we made it. So sweet. I actually think the people of Kefalonia were overall more welcoming than the people of Ireland, that says a lot!

When we finally arrived, George (our host) was standing outside welcoming us to his place. We got out of the vehicle and he goes, “All girls?” He probably was a little worried, but we behaved ourselves. He showed us around and his daughter came and gave us the wifi password. When we were in the apartment, he asked who the driver was and when I said it was me, he just smiled. That was a good sign. Especially after the rental place, Europcar, told me that the drivers are crazy and sometimes the tourists from England forget they’re suppose to drive on the right side and not the left. Anyway, the apartment was beautiful. Stone floor, full kitchen, bath, separate shower room, two bedrooms, and two balconies looking out to the sea and mountains. He also left us homemade tropical wine, that Tay, Mimi, and Olivia enjoyed drinking. We then went to Maria’s Super Market, a little grocery store and bought some food for the week. It was super tiny. No refridgerated milk. Just cartoned milk that had to be refridgerated after opening. Didn’t experiment with that one.

Then we just came back and chilled on our balconie and I found out I got the internship I wnted in De Pere for the summer! So that was/is exciting. Then some pillow talk with my roomie, Tay.

Day 9:

Tuesday started with me frying up an egg in a pot. That was relatively disastrous, but we didn’t have a pan. They tasted good. We stayed close to our Apartment for the first day and took a nice little walk to Lourdas Beach. It was a little rocky, but super sunny, and we found a little patch of sand to camp out on. And then a little dog showed up to play. He hung out with us for the day. We ended up going in the water. It was comparable to Lake Michigan/Superior temp…a temp cold enough that you can numb up to it. But it really wasn’t that bad. Mimi and I ended up going under. It was super salty. Afterwards we warmed up on the beach and I journaled a little bit, and had Tay’s ipod playing some quality 90s music. Then we headed back to Sirines, bought a few more groceries, cooked some dinner, sat out on the balcony, and played cards out on their patio-surrounded by a beautiful garden.

It was a solid first day.

Day 10:

I woke up and called my favorite sister. It was 8:45 am my time which was conveniently 12:45 am her time. She was a little sleepy, studying for Spanish, but it was nice to talk.

Wednesday was roadtrip day. When I was originally looking into Kefalonia, all the famus beach pictures were of Myrtos. So that was top on my list. We first made our way to the capitol, Argostoli where we bought some delicious strawberries, sunscreen, used the hard-to-find ATM (very rare in Kefalonia), and I bought some allergey meds. The box is all in Greek, but she said it was “Claritin” and “12 hours”, she spoke enough English to get me exactly what I needed. I’m so jealous of how pretty much everyone in Europe is at least bi-lingual, if not tri, or quad. So awesome. We had a little picnic on the bay in Argostoli and got back on the road to Myrtos.

The drive was beautiful and all along the coast. There were a ton of signs that warned of goats crossing, rocks falling, slippery cars, curves, and the occasional sign that just had a big exclamation mark on them. Those were exciting. There were tiny little churches along the road, which we eventually gathered to be memorials, so that was overwhelminglysad. But driving was not bad at all. I think it was partially because it was off-season for tourists, which meant very few cars. Plus everyone was very observant and I tried to be as cautious and defensive as possible, just like Papa Steve and Mama Amy have taught me.

Anyway, we made it to the beach and went in. The waves were huge, but Mimi and I went under again. Nice and refreshing. We headed back to Vlachata and went out to dinner near our apartment at a place called Afrodite’s. I ended up having a chicken shish-kebab with french fries, pita bread, and some sliced vegetables. And greek yogurt and honey for dessert naturally. The owner gave us bread with oil on the house and after dinner shots made from a fruit specific to Kefalonia and vodka. He was very nice and funny!

Day 11:

Thursday was our last full day in Kefalonia. I woke up and did some laundry in a bucket and hung it out to dry on the balcony. I cooked a poached egg for the first time. Seeing as the whole over-easy-egg in a pot situation didn’t go so smoothly. It turned out alright! Then we packed some lunches and headed to the city of Sami to find Melassani Lake.

We arrived at the lake and found the place. It was 7 euro for a little boat ride around the lake/cave. The water was super blue, but definitely not warm. A consistent 15 degrees celsius all of the time. He rowed around once, and then offered a second time (because no one else was there pretty much). He even let each of us row! That was cute. The depth of the little lake varied from 1 to 39 meters.

Afterwards we drove to Antisamos Beach and spent the remainder of the day there. The temperature was a little cooler, but the beach was situated in a nice little cove so it wasn’t windy or wavy. That was nice!

We then headed back to Sirines, cooked up the rest of our random food, ate some dinner, and played some cards. It was a great day!

Day 12:

Today was our last day  in Greece. We spent the morning packing up and cleaning up the place a little bit. Then Olivia and I paid for George’s wife’s buffet breakfast. Homemade cakes, yogurt, marmalade, bread, local eggs hard-boiled, and juice. It was delicious and entirely worth the 5 euro. We went back to Maria’s for the last time and bought some postcards. After saying our goodbyes we headed back to the airport. Made it back with just enough gas. We got the car with 1\8th a tank and had to return it like that. Checked the car in. Made it through security again. They actually checked the literal size of our bags. I had to wedge mine in. After it was 3\4 in, she said good enough and told me she’d help me get it out. So nice.

We hopped on the plane. They asked us to sit in the front, because apparetly they need people to, and we ended up talking to two of the attendants. One of which was a girl around our age from Dublin. It was a smooth flight and we’re on to our next adventure.

Greece was all I could have hoped for and Sirines Apartments was literally the best accommodation I’ve ever had. Such nice people and such a beautiful, beautiful place!



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