As I have mentioned in my previous blog post about Lefkada island, during our stay there we booked a few boat tours that were departing from the Nydri marina.
The one I liked the most was a tour to nearby destinations such as, Kefalonia, Ithaka, Meganissi, Papanicolis Cave, Scorpio and Madouri.
All those destinations were magic. The colors of the water and the sky were stunning. Everything was so beautifully blue. This tour was really worth the money.
On our way to Kefalonia boat made a few more stops, where they let us swim at some amazing places that you can only have access by boat. One of those places was also a small uninhabited island, Maduri. This privately owned island is in the possession of the Valaoritis family. It was the place where Aristotelis Valaoritis, a Greek 19th-century poet, grew up. The current owner is the distinguished writer Nanos Valaoritis. The villa was the principal location in Billy Wilder’s incredible 1978 film, Fedora.
We also had a short stop by the Papanicolis Cave. This cave played a critical role for Greece during WW II. A famous submarine was hiding there during the war to evade enemy radars and the locals were supplying the sailors during the night. All the photos from this post were taken using my mobile phone and the only thing I edited is the image size. The color of the sea and the sky on the photos are natural as they are, and I haven’t done any software editing regarding color saturation. If you ever visit this place you will be able to see it and to be amazed with those colors yourself.
Our boat did not enter the cave, because of the waves, it was too dangerous. Maybe you will be luckier to have better weather if you decide to take this tour and to experience how it is to drive through the Papanicolis cave.
Boat also stopped by Scorpios, the private island that once belonged to the famous Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate who amassed the world’s largest privately owned shipping fleet and was one of the world’s richest and most famous men.
After his death his daughter Christina inherited all his fortune. Christina was not his only child, Aristotle Onassis also had a son Alexander, unfortunately his son died in a plane accident.
Onassis’ daughter Christina also died of pulmonary edema in November 1988. Her only child, a daughter, Athina Helene Onassis Roussel from her short marriage to Thierry Roussel, was just three years old when her mother Christina died. This is how she became the only heir that was left alive from Onassis family.
Athina was never a big fun of Greeks and Greece, so she decided at some point to sell the island to a Russian businesswoman Ekaterina Dmitrievna Rybolovleva, the daughter of Dmitry Rybolovlev. As one of our guides said the Russians are planning to make a big hotel & casino resort on the island in the near future (if they manage with difficult Greek administration of course).
The tour was very interesting, but as I early mentioned the part I liked the most was our visit to Fiscardo small port of Kefalonia island.
The island is marked by sandy coves and dry rugged landscapes. Its capital, Argostoli, is built on a hillside overlooking a narrow harbor.
Kefalonia’s indented coastline is made up of limestone cliffs, bays and short strips of white sand, like Myrtos Beach in the north. Many beaches at Kefalonia are only accessible by boat, on foot or via narrow twisting roads.
Durring WW II the island was occupied by Italian forces. After 3 September 1943, Walter Bedell Smith and Giuseppe Castellano signed armistice between Kingdom of Italy and the Allies of the WW II. An armistice was a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting.
After its publication, Germany retaliated against Italy. On the other side the Italian soldiers of Kefalonia were hoping to go back home since the war was practically over for them.
But German forces attacked the Italians on Kefalonia because they did not want Italian ammunition being used against them.
Some Italians surrounded, but most of them fought back against the new German invasion.
The fighting came to a head at the siege of Argostoli, on September 1943, where the Italians held out.
Ultimately the Germans prevailed, taking full control of the island. Approximately five thousand of the nine thousand surviving Italian soldiers were executed in reprisal by the German forces.
The book Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres, which was later made into the film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin‘, is based on this story.
The movie was filmed mostly at Kefalonia. This movie, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, revives the love story of the Italian officer Antonio Corelli (Nicolas Cage), who arrives in Kefalonia as the officer of the infantry division Acqui during the Italian occupation of the Ionian islands (Second World War). There he meets Pelagia (Penelope Cruz), a strong-willed woman and a relationship develops between them.
The movie peaks with the Massacre of the Italian division by the Nazi troops, their former allies. This war crime was unknown to Italy till the early 1980s, but it became widely known by the novel of Louis de Bernier, on which this same movie is based.
There is a memorial close to Lassi Kefalonia, dedicated to this Italian Division. Therfore many Italian tourists are visiting this island.
Thanks to the ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin‘ movie a stunning beauty of this area became known all around the world.
In particular, most of the scenes were shot in the village of Sami, which was partly reconstructed to look like before the severe earthquake that hit the Ionian islands in 1953, in the fabulous beach of Antisamos, in Argostoli and also in Fiscardo.
This island is very beautiful and big. The only spot on the island we visited was actually Fiscardo. The town is the northernmost port of Kefalonia, a short distance from Ithaca. I wish we could spend some more time there and discover more of Kefalonia. But we visited the island by boat tour, and we had to go back to Nydri after a few hours.
We did have some free time for scrolling around Fiskardo town, to have quick lunch, grab some sweets to eat on our way back, and even to swim at the town beach. The town beach was nothing special though. If I knew I wouldn’t bother to go all the way there.
I hope I can visit this island again in the future, and to see and discover more of it.
Fiscardo is a very charming fisherman town, with a lot of beautiful mansions, shops, bars and restaurants situated around the colorful harbor.
Since I really love colors, you can understand how amazed I was with all this pink bougainvillea plants around and all this shades of blue that represent Greece in general. Everything was so colorful and charming. I really loved this place.
There is one more thing I would like to mention regarding this tour. When we purchased our tickets for the tour we were told that we will have lunch on the boat included in the ticket price. At the boat at some point of our journey, we noticed how some of the passengers were taking plates with the food from the boat bar after giving some coupons.
We did not have any coupons to give. I went to ask about it, even though it was very uncomfortable situation for me. At the end, after the small argument I had with them, they gave us the lunch, (very poor by the way) but I felt very bad about this event. I was wondering why some people were provided with coupons and some others had to beg for the lunch that was actually paid and included in the ticket price? Why the people that sold tickets to us put us in such an unpleasant situation?
So, please check it before you purchase the ticket, what is included and what not in the ticket price. If they say that lunch is included, then ask for the lunch coupons. It probably has to do with the place where someone will purchase the tickets. We did it at the company official office in Nydri, so something like this shouldn’t happen to us. But it did. I hope everything will go smoothly for you guys. But at the end we were glad we took this tour. It was really unforgettable experience and worth the money.
Stay tuned to find out about my next journey.