As I sit writing this on our Palagos Bay balcony with the early evening sun casting a syrupy golden blanket across the surrounding mixture of terrain – lush green mountains, empty roads and a turquoise widescreen vista of sea meeting sky – it’s satisfyingly difficult to remember the recession-torn country we left behind three days ago.
This being the third time we’ve visited the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia, it’s no secret that my girlfriend and I have fallen in love with the place and would heartily recommend it to anyone fancying a week or two of work-free bliss.
This time, we’re staying in the pretty town of Skala, the second most popular touist resort. And it appears we’ve fallen on our feet with this week’s accommodation: Pelagos Bay. Run by Billy, a man I struggle to draw any comparisons with previous foreign hotel owners (or anyone, for that matter), from the very moment we arrived we have been made to feel completely at home. Pelagos’ motto, etched across the back of the bar: ‘Arrive as strangers, leave as friends’ is rather fitting.
That last sentence was an uncomfortably one as, usually, I like nothing less than having to converse with fellow human beings during my holidays, preferring to keep myself very much to myself and my iPod earphones firmly in my ears. Billy, however, seems strikingly adept at removing the quiet indignation us Brits seem to hold onto so dear with his outwardly forthright yet not at all brash personality. He also posesses the often underrated ability to remember each one of his 40+ guests’ names and can regularly be found propping up the poolside bar of an evening, drinking as heartily as the rest of us. Quite a character. He’s even had George Best to stay, although he claims he had no idea who he was until he popped the question and received the fabulously Best-esque ‘You know Pele? Well, I was the Irish Pele.’
Anyway, after today’s extensive road trip, I have to recommend three must-visits if you’re planning on coming to Kefalonia. Myrtos beach ranks among the top ten in the world and it is simply stunning, with an almost ethereal bluey-green sea and mile-long beach hidden away in a deep alcove. Google it, it’s breathtaking.
Secondly, Assos, for it’s unspoilt village and a quiet coffee by the crystal clear waterfront. Shame ours was soundtracked by some British prat who wanted everyone within a five mile radius to hear about his intentions to buy a holiday home in the island’s capital, Argostoli. Wherever us Brits go, we always manage to bring the tone down just a little, don’t we?
Lastly, Fiskardo, which is located at the northern most tip of the island. A favourite with the likes of Johnny Depp and Nicholas Cage, it oozes upper class pretentions and houses many a super yacht complete with champagne quaffing toffs. Don’t let any of that put you off though, as it is a truely gorgeous little port with some eye catching pre-earthquake ruins. It’s also where the photo you can see of my girlfriend, Lindsey, was taken. We couldn’t quite pull off the I-want-everyone-to-hear-how-many-houses-I’ve-got jargon, but we gave it a good go.