Written by GB from Devizes on 31 Oct, 2005
Vathy is blessed with several churches so I decide to find the three that are listed as the most worthwhile to visit. The nearest one to me from my chair at the Kantouni Bar is Agios Nikoloas, a five-minute stroll away in Kallinkou, just past…Read More
Vathy is blessed with several churches so I decide to find the three that are listed as the most worthwhile to visit. The nearest one to me from my chair at the Kantouni Bar is Agios Nikoloas, a five-minute stroll away in Kallinkou, just past the archaeological museum.
Agios Nikolaos sits in a quiet back-street, away from the high season hubbub on the harbour-side. It has recently undergone extensive renovation and is positioned behind iron railings. It has an integral bell-tower, unlike most on Kefalonia, with two bells housed within. Just in front of the church is a statue depicting Eugenios Karabias. My poor Greek tells me that some of the inscription beneath relates to “Constantinople” and events that occurred on “10th April 1821”. I have searched the web without joy to find who this person is. Any help at identification would be appreciated.
The next church I visit it that of Agios Spirodon, just a short walk from the last. This is certainly the prettiest and most simple church in the town, painted as it is pure, brilliant white with a pale blue underside to the entrance portico and positioned in well maintained gardens. Like Agios Nikolaos, it is locked. I do knock on a couple of adjacent doors to see if anyone knows whom the key-holder is but to no avail. It probably doesn’t help that the neighbours have no English and asking for the address of the key-holder in Greek is currently beyond my linguistic talents.
I then have a flash of brilliant inspiration and resort to “parlez-vous Francais?” Rather unsurprisingly, I receive a couple of astonished and bemused looks.
Never mind, at least I can see the outside which has a separate campanile “a la Kefalonia” (sorry, I’m still in French mode here), and is just as pretty as the principal building. I saunter on by and head now for Agios Ioannis (St John) which looks like a stiff climb up the hillside on the southern end of the town.
Hopefully, the church and the view will be worth it. I let my mind wander off for a moment and suddenly find myself saying out loud how bloody stupid it is to ask a Greek in a small, island town if he speaks French. I start sniggering to myself and the next thing I know, two elderly Greek chaps stroll past me, pause, then burst out laughing themselves. My God, I hope they’re not related to the folks I’ve just asked for directions from or I’ll be on the next boat to the local asylum or worse still, to Lazaretto Island.
It is indeed a stiff climb up to Agios Ioannis but the views en route (French again) are worth the effort. Small, well-cared for houses with citrus trees in their gardens line the way, some of which is steep steps, some just dirt track. The church comes into sight and again, it is protected by a high stone- wall, the gate of which is padlocked. There are no houses this far up so reluctantly, I have to accept that using my French to ask for the key will not be an option up here.
The church is painted very similarly to the example at Kioni on the north side of the island and seems to be built in a similar style, with an open, separate campanile. I can’t get in though so I have to concede defeat. Vathy obviously doesn’t want people roaming around in her churches.
But being the optimist I am, I look on the bright side. I’ve had a good walk, seen some great views, practised my French and convinced the local population that all Brits should be certified.
Written by GB from Devizes on 24 Oct, 2005
Any outing to Ithaca starts with the trip across Kefalonia to your favoured port of exit. I chose Sami, as it was the closest to Lassi at 28km, although the road crosses the foothills of the Mount Ainos range and takes a full hour to…Read More
Any outing to Ithaca starts with the trip across Kefalonia to your favoured port of exit. I chose Sami, as it was the closest to Lassi at 28km, although the road crosses the foothills of the Mount Ainos range and takes a full hour to complete the drive. It’s essentially 14km up, then another 14km back down. The ferry route from Sami is the shortest, although it does deposit you at Agios Pisaeton, a remote west coast landing stage, rather than take you around the island to the larger Vathy.