Friday, March 23, 2012


Part One-  SKALA

The Greek islands have to be some of the most gloriously beautiful places on earth. My goodness. 

When my two besties and I got off the plane in Kefalonia airport, I immediately got chastised by security for whipping out my camera. My first thought was you weren't supposed to snap pictures of the airport building (?), but the real reason was No Electronics near the planes that were getting fueled up! Yikes!
(And I'm always so careful not to use my cell phone at the gas pump!)

The first thing we noticed on the island was the sweet-scented breeze. It was lovely from the start and it continued to be a literal breath of fresh air throughout our stay.

Being a part of a tourist group came in handy right away, because we were herded through customs and onto a waiting bus. It was a relief not to have to mess with finding transportation on our own to get to the village of Skala, an hour's drive away.
Those bus rides are not for the faint at heart! Several times we came around corners, barely missing the oncoming bus or truck, and it felt like we nearly took a plunge a time or two down the cliff on the other side. Oih! I forgot to enjoy the ocean views!

But we made it. The bus driver beamed at his success in the speedy delivery.

          Our hotel, Mi Abeli, in Skala
The entry held books and beach umbrellas for the guests to borrow! 

Our balcony in the back was greeted by banana trees!

Less than a hundred yards from the hotel was the beach, which naturally made for a pleasant stay.

The salt concentration in the Ionian Sea is so high you can float with practically no effort. We tested this out as soon as we had dropped our bags off in the room.

Our first evening meal was at the hotel restaurant. The staff was so friendly and accommodating, we felt we should start there, to return the kindness. (The hotel manager was also the head waiter and left in the middle of waiting tables to come fix our air conditioning.)
To try something local we chose mousaka. I was surprised by the doughy breadiness of the crust, and it wasn't my favorite. 

But everything I ate for the rest of the trip was heavenly! Lots of chunky salads with tomato, cucumber, and feta. Great fish. (And, I confess, I had pizza. In Greece. I know.) For breakfasts, we ended up stopping by the small grocery store two doors down from the hotel. Let me just say: Greek Yoghurt.

The village of Skala has developed into a nice tourist destination with restaurants, tavernas, and souvenir shops all within a three-block radius. The beach is clean and water skiing and turtle-watching are available. But what we really enjoyed was the chance to mingle with the locals. You only had to walk a few blocks out to be able to watch their comings and goings...

                                 ... Some of which proved to be in very tight spaces! 
                                        A common scene, we soon found out.

                   Walking around in Skala was lovely, lovely, lovely.

I enjoy exploring churches wherever I go. I feel there's such a richness in that.
Churches can tell a lot about people and places.

                                                                      random chair

Skala is what has been rebuilt after the old village was destroyed in the earthquake of 1953. Old Skala is on top of the hill. Locals claim it's an easy walk (or that's what we thought they told us), but we sure were glad we drove, as it took a good ten minutes by car on steep, narrow roads.

            From the top, there's a sweeping view of the town below 



              with a view   
                                                                                              ... and roots above ground!

I wanted to learn Greek dancing and the last night we were in Skala we spotted a restaurant with a band that played music just for that purpose.
The owner came out and taught us the footwork, which turned out to take a bit more coordination than I had anticipated. One of the waiters took a knee in the corner to keep beat. It was a fun-filled evening to wrap up our stay in Skala.

            Leaving town, to go north, the road hugs the ocean in  
                                     places. Beautiful vistas!

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