Roaming the Greek Island of Kefalonia

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Our three-week stay on the Greek island of Kefalonia has passed quickly and we will be leaving by ferry early on Thursday morning. Once we’re back on the mainland we will be backtracking on our original route to get to Macedonia.

Macedonia in the Balkans is our next travel destination and we will be there for the next three months. However, crossing mainland Greece (again) to get to Macedonia will take us about two or two and half weeks—but we’re in no particular hurry.

Last week we spent over six hours driving around the island seeing the sights—and at over 300 mi² it’s a big island. We were originally scheduled for Tuesday but a Sirocco wind blew in from North Africa (Sahara Desert). The Sirocco wind carried a lot of Saharan desert sand with it obscuring the sun and casting an orange glow over everything—much like a large, smokey fire will do. The next day, Wednesday, the wind had subsided and the sky had cleared—our driver picked us up at our hotel at 9 a.m. and we were off to explore. First stop was an old graveyard (Circa 700 BC) and then the 11th-century Castle of Saint George.

Castle of Saint George – Kefalonia, Greece

Crossing the island of Kefalonia (up and over the island’s mountains) towards the small coastal town of Sami (our arrival port of entry) we passed a winery and stopped at a Greek Orthodox monastery. In front of the monastery we saw a local shepherd grazing his small flock of shaggy sheep. He had a very interesting face that I wanted to photograph but he didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any Greek. I used my international photographer’s pantomime gestures to communicate my request and he readily agreed—as long as I also photographed his sheep. My time with Demetrius was the highlight of my day.

Demitrius the Greek Shepherd – Kefalonia, Greece

We also toured two caves, one dry and one wet. The first cave was Drogarati Cave (the dry cave) about 3km from Sami and the second cave (the wet cave) was Mellissani the Cave of the Nymphs (nope we didn’t see any nymphs—and we looked). Mellissani was very much like the cenotes we found in Yucatan, Mexico but much larger—like a cenote on steroids. We toured Melissani by rowboat before heading to the coastal village of Assos (Population: less than 300 residents). Assos was both quiet and beautiful and in our minds representative of the quintessential Greece we’ve been looking for. We’ll soon leave Greece for Macedonia.

Assos – Kefalonia, Greece

Field Notes: I photographed all the images in this post with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV full-frame DSLR and Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens. My Canon 24-70mm lens is an excellent travel lens because of its versatility even if it’s a tad bit boring—it’s not excellent at anything but is reasonably competent at everything. Photography is all about compromise and tradeoffs and my 24-70mm lens is representative of that paradigm. In dense urban areas I will often trade my 24-70mm zoom lens for the more dramatic Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM ultra wide-angle zoom lens. I shoot RAW and process with Adobe ACR & PSE15. SFD

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