Kefalonia, I Love You!

The sun reached its peak in the sky before slowly crawling to the west. This afternoon, we’d be following the dying trails of the sun over to the west peninsular in Kefalonia. However, before we left the east coast altogether, I wanted to have one last stop-off to allow this part of the island to redeem itself.

After our disappointing afternoon in Melissani cave, we decided to head back into Sami town where we did a bit of shopping. OK, that wasn’t the primary reason we retraced our steps. Yesterday whilst exploring some ruins, I had become a nice juicy snack for some mosquitos and my thighs were currently a pitiful sight to behold. I looked like I had chickenpox or something and the waitress in Stoa bakery this morning practically gasped when she saw me.

“What happened to your legs?” She asked, concerned.

“Mosquitos.” I murmured embarrassedly, unable to hide the ugly, red bumps in under shorts.

Anyway, now we were heading into the town to buy some bite cream as my legs were hot and itchy.

We successfully got our hands on some cream before doing a little bit of shopping. I fell in love with a Greek leather shop where I purchased some sandals (I had had quite enough of my flipflops falling off everywhere I went) and a tiny leather backpack. My excuse for purchasing this bag was that we needed to buy bags so we could transport all the wine home (yes, we had finally decided to take all 8 litres of wine home with us) and that meant we needed more bags. The backpack I had selected was the smallest thing in the world and there was absolutely no sense in purchasing it to move some of our items out of our little yellow hand-luggage-sized (I love making up words) suitcase into it. It could fit a camera at most. But I loved it and decided at this moment that I had to buy it and make it work. Logic, ya know?

Lewis was also getting on board with this shopping spree and decided to purchase a straw hat, like the one of my mum’s he was enjoying wearing in Mallorca.

The shop owner was so thrilled that we were interested in her items that she gave us a free fan as well.

“I want to give you this.” She handed the beautiful fan to me which was alive with colour. “You take this home and remember Sami.”

I was humbled by her generosity and her line stuck with me ever since. I did want to remember Sami. The town of Sami was beautiful and provided us with some gorgeous food. Furthermore, the quality of items in this store was incredible and for a very reasonable price. Finally, nothing could rival the kindness of the people we had met.

We ended our shopping spree with just the one bag – the tiny backpack. The problem persisted. How on earth were we going to transport everything home in just 1 drone bag, 1 small suitcase and now 1 tiny, tiny backpack? Did I mention the backpack was tiny?

It was time to wave goodbye to Sami and also the discomfort in my bladder. I had been unsuccessful in my hunt for a toilet after the toilets at Melissani cave scared me right off with a huge queue. No one wants to think about what the toilets look like at the other end of that queue. It turns out this must have been the only toilet in Sami as I was forced to pull over at the side of the road and crouch in a tiny thorn bush hanging over a low cliff into the ocean. Graceful, right? I’m not entirely convinced that the bush concealed my dignity.

Now that I was finally comfortable, we could commence our journey from east to west.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘a man cannot live on apple pie alone?’. Well, you haven’t because I just made that up but anyway, it’s true. For lunch today I had only had a solitary slice of apple pie and I was absolutely starving. Therefore, next on our agenda was to stop off at our absolute favourite restaurant on Kefalonia island, Ladokolla stin Plagia. It would be an hour’s drive to get there from Sami but no drive was too long in order to receive a taste of heaven.

It was our last evening in Kefalonia and I had a heavy heart. I’d flown to Kefalonia without too many expectations but this Greek island had quite frankly stolen my heart and now the last thing I wanted to do was leave. I would have loved to have spent a few more nights here and got the chance to drink our 8 litres of wine at a leisurely pace. Although, sometimes it’s best to leave on a high note.

We arrived at the restaurant just as the sun was starting to set. From our vantage point on the top of a hill in the centre of the peninsular, we had a spectacular view of the orange sun as it melted into the ocean, casting yellow rays over the land below.

As I flew my drone around the countryside, I caught the attention of a British family who had just finished eating at the restaurant. As they approached me, I started to feel nervous. After what happened in Mallorca, I was aware that not everyone was fond of drones, so I was fully prepared for an earful.

“Are you flying a drone?” The woman asked, politely.

“Yes, I’m getting a lovely view of the sunset.” I smiled, pointing to Droney who was little more than a dot on the far horizon.

“Oh, my! It’s so far away!” She squealed excitedly. “Can we watch you fly it?”

“Sure!”

My worries melted away at once as I sensed her excitement. In fact, she was so delighted, she called her husband over at once.

“Look!” She pointed to Droney. “She’s flying a drone! It’s all the way over there.”

A thought came to me. “Would you like a go?” I asked her.

Several people express interest in drones but when I offer them the chance to fly, they are rather hesitant. However, the woman couldn’t have said yes fast enough.

I showed her how to use the controls before she carefully started flying Droney. She was a natural!

It wasn’t long before the family’s daughter then appeared and came over to watch. Her mother was very excited to show off her new drone skills.

We all got talking and they enjoyed taking photos. I even posed for a photo alongside them! I was so thrilled that I was able to put a smile on all of their faces that evening. They couldn’t thank me enough for showing them Droney and allowing them to have a go.

It makes me smile to know that not everyone hates drones.

Once my drone battery was sufficiently drained, I was then able to join Lewis in the restaurant for some delicious food. Upon entry to the building, the waitress immediately recognised us and came bounding over. She called us ‘the photographers’ as I always rock up with a bag full of camera equipment, haha.

Today we ordered the ‘salad of the restaurant’ and some tomato bread for starter followed by a special for the day which was a pork leg with chips. The salad was a recommended starter so although I’m not exactly a fan of salad, I decided to give it a go! Lewis said that compared to regular salads, it was delicious.

The pork leg was out of this world. It was heaven on a plate.

Lewis was rocking is new hat from Sami
The delicious pork leg

The food and the service at Ladokolla stin Plagia are of such a high standard that we were compelled to come back here after falling in love with it on our first official night in Kefalonia. However, there were other aspects of the restaurant that we also loved: the cats.

A little tortoiseshell with vibrant amber eyes sat at Lewis’ feet, meowling pitifully. I remembered this cat from our first night here. She reminded me a lot of a cat I frequently meet on my trips to Mallorca called Pimi (short for Pimiento which is Pepper in Spanish) and so I decided to call this little she-cat Pimi II.

Pimi II
Pimi II

At first, I must confess, I was a bit put out that Pimi had chosen to sit beside Lewis instead of me. Lewis was paying her no attention as she looked up with him with her huge golden eyes. I was more than eager to feed her, if only she paid me a bit of attention!

Here I was, looking like a fool, crouching under the table with a piece of pork between my greasy fingers, making like psss psss hissing sounds. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, Pimi was paying absolutely no attention.

I couldn’t just give in and look like a monumental buffoon. I knew I would have to get her to come over. Psss psss psss psss. Thank the lord! Finally, she sauntered over and took the pork from my hands. But as she chewed clumsily on the stone floor, another head appeared from right beside my chair, thinking the food was for her.

I was taken aback. I had no idea there was another cat here – one that had been waiting patiently the whole time!

I scrambled around to rip the newcomer a piece of my pork before carefully placing it beside her paws on the floor. Only now was I able to see who this cat was.

She was a lithe tortoiseshell and white she-cat with a dusty grey muzzle. Her eyes were a creamy green colour and they gazed up at me curiously.

I recognised her from our first night here. She had been shy and I hadn’t seen much of her. But right now, she seemed comfortably sitting beside me and watched me intently, ready to see if I would provide her with any more food.

Of course, I gladly accepted and ended up giving her piece after piece, my heart melting over her beautiful green eyes and tentative movements.

Pimi had scuttled back over to Lewis who was only feeding her a fraction of what I was giving my cat. Speaking of which, mine needed a name. I looked at her closely. A Greek name would be fitting. Then it came to me. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. I’d call her ‘Phro’ or ‘Fro’ for short.

Fro

Our waitress came to see how we were getting on with our food. She just so happened to come as I was giving Fro yet another piece of meat. I noticed both her and Lewis chuckling together.

“She loves the cats.” Lewis commented.

I grinned sheepishly.

“This one is crazy.” The waitress began, pointing to Pimi who was sat beside Lewis.

“How come?” I asked.

“She goes around biting the other cats. She’s a crazy, mean cat.” I could sense a teasing side to the waitress. She very clearly loved the cats and knew them all individually.

“I love this one.” I remarked, pointing to Fro who was sat under my chair.

“Ah, who have you got there?” The waitress came over. “Oh, wow.” She looked shocked when she saw the little cat at my feet. “You’ve got the momma cat. She doesn’t go to anyone. She’s very scared. She must really like you! I’ve never seen her come to anyone before!”

The revelation warmed my heart. I felt honoured that Fro had taken a liking to me. I was also surprised to discover that she was a mother as well. Intrigued, I asked more.

“She has three little kittens who live under the stairs.” The waitress pointed to the stairs in the restaurant. “They play in the day but it gets loud at night so they don’t come out. She’s a great momma cat.” She smiled. “I don’t know how she does it. Maybe fourteen times a night she goes back to the babies with more food. She must take very little for herself.”

As if I couldn’t love Fro anymore. I was certainly glad I had decided to be so generous with my food now as it sounded like most of what she was given or scavenged ended up going to her kittens. It was good that tonight she was having a nice wholesome meal too – and it was damn good meat too!

Fro
Fro

The restaurant loves to give out complimentary desserts. Today we had watermelon. I tried some of it but I am not the biggest fruit fan on earth so it was down to Lewis to polish off the rest.

As the evening had gone on, the restaurant had got busier and busier. As the noise increased, little Fro had crawled even further under our table, I assume to get away from the bustle going on behind us. Being the clumsy eater I am, there was quite a lot of food on our table cloth which I was continuing to feed her in drips and drabs.

The waitress returned to clear away the last of our plates and spotted me feeding Fro again. Smiling she sighed, “Oh, you two!”

If I could have, I would have loved to have taken Fro home! But I could tell she had a lovely home here and was clearly loved by the staff and her kittens. Leaving Fro behind was very sad. I was already reluctant to get on my plane tomorrow and now I was bonding with a local cat!

The last light in the sky had faded by the time we left the restaurant. My stomach was full with delicious food and wine. Speaking of wine, our night’s activities didn’t end there. No. when we returned to the villa, we had to pack and that meant finding a home for all our wine, once and for all.

Pretty much our whole holiday had been building up to this moment.

Sclavos wines had given us their 4 bottles of wine in a cardboard box with 6 dividers in. This could work as the basis of our packing. We’d drunk just 1 of the 4 wines from Sclavos which meant that 3 of the dividers were occupied. This left another 3.

Our villa’s host had kindly dropped off a 5 litre glass bottle of his own homemade wine. Tonight, after returning from the restaurant, we enjoyed a glass each. The wine was wonderful! You could tell that the wine had been grown using very natural techniques. It reminded me a lot of the Sclavos wines. Certainly, none of these wines are anything like the cheap £5 bottles you get back home. The difference is incredible!

Anyway, the 5 litre bottle was way too big to fit in our suitcase. However, Lewis and I had come up with a backup plan.

The petrol station near Myrtos beach sold fizzy water in glass 1 litre bottles. We decided to decant the wine into 4 of these bottles and drink the remainder of the wine today.

Over the last few days, we had purchased the bottles and I’d been spending a lot of time drinking the water, which really was no chore as I do tend to go through a bottle of sparkling water a day. This did mean I had to drink slightly more than usual but I’m sure my body was grateful that I kept it hydrated.

We successfully decanted the wine into 4 empty glass bottles. 3 of those bottles fit in the remainder of the Sclavos wine box (although it was a tight squeeze) and then the final bottle fit next to that box. It was a miracle but the small yellow case did in fact shut! We padded the box and the solitary bottle with clothes.

Any clothes which didn’t fit in there had to move to my drone bag and my tiny, tiny backpack. We had discovered a fourth bag which was one of our ‘stuffpacks’ (a bag that folds up tiny, tiny but can actually fit quite a lot in). The three of these bags were able to hold all our clothing.

Finally, we had so say goodbye to some reusable water bottles which we had bought here with us. We asked our host if he’d like them for the house and he was more than happy to accept them so nothing was wasted!

A can-do attitude can go a heck of a long way! At the airport, we requested ‘fragile’ stickers for the yellow case before booking it into the hold. Maybe we were lucky, but all 7 bottles of wine made it back to the UK all in one piece!