We are a bit out of sequence now having written last week about the Medicane as many people had contacted us to ask about it. Getting back onto our previous timeline, following our visit to Cephalonia we had a great sail over to Ithaca
Perfect wind for sailing but not great for hairstyles!!
According to modern interpretation, Ithaca was the island home of Homer’s hero, Odysseus. Sailors who spend time travelling between the Ionian islands and the north of Sicily will keep encountering locations which have a striking resemblance to this seafaring story written some 3000 years ago.
The island is mountainous and rugged but as these mountains descend into the sea, you will find pretty villages and beautiful beaches with golden sands.
We sailed down the west coast to hopefully find a bay on the south of the island to anchor for the night where there are many idyllic beaches, it was busier than expected but we eventually found a space and anchored only to be chased off by a robust German lady who felt that we were too close to her boat, and didn’t shy away from telling us! There was enough space (in our opinion), but not wanting to cause a diplomatic incident, (also not sure how well our anchor was holding) we decided to leave.
We continued back up the east coast to ‘Big’ Vathi where we anchored for the night.
Vathi is the capital and the main harbour of the island, the picturesque town was almost entirely re built after the 1953 earthquake.
Most of the ruined buildings were rebuilt by the residents, this was done in keeping with the original Venetian style. There was a law enforced in 1978 to preserve Vathi, this prohibited any construction that is not similar to the traditional architectural style and colour.
Vathi has a big sheltered bay with a narrow entrance, perfect for anchoring, in the centre there is the tiny little island of Lazarétto, a former sanatorium and prison.
We went ashore during the afternoon and there was almost no traffic and very little life either, almost everything was closed, they takes their siesta’s seriously around here and we realised later that everyone was saving themselves for the evening, shops opened and the bars and restaurants come to life after dark, loud music and partying continued until 4am!
After a couple of days we continued north up the coast to Kioni.
Kioni is a another pretty little village built on to the slopes of a mountain, with colourful tiled roofed houses, whitewashed courtyards filled with flowerpots, overlooking the picturesque port and turquoise water where small fishing boats are moored.
It is now a popular tourist resort and the harbour is surrounded by restaurants, cafes and many shops, particularly selling nice hand made jewellery.
At the entrance of the harbour, there are three windmill ruins, having sailed passed them many times we decided to take a closer look.
We walked along narrow, paved streets and steps up from the sea, and headed around the bay in search of the old windmills.
It bought us to a lovely little whitewashed church
Rather than taking the signposted route via the beach we headed off up the valley walking through goat farms, a caravan on a ledge on the hillside which could have only been placed there by a crane.
Eventually we stumbled across probably the most random thing that we have seen on any trip….
Yes it is a full sized swimming pool that seems to be abandoned on the side of a hill on a small Greek island up a track that seemed only accessible by foot or possibly a Land Rover type vehicle at a push!!
The path eventually petered out and we ended up scrambling over rocks to reach the windmills. Once we got there we realised that they were in fact just 3 exposed and ruined shells of the old windmills, there was an old pulley system from the rocky shore below up to the middle one, great views across the islands, but not much else to see.
We decided to follow the recommended track back down towards the beach, a small bay with clear blue water and a kantina selling beer and ice cream, what more could you want?
After spending some time at the beach, we continued along the path, back to the harbour ready for the evening.