Lefkada

The fact that there is beauty in the world…undeniable. The fact that we have always been allowed to explore it…unquestionable. And still…there seem to be these happenings of Mother Nature revealing her insurmountable desire to take it all back: the wonders, human access, leniency. As much as we like to believe we have conquered Mother Nature in all that She is,  we can but lie obedient when She decides to make a stand. And for all that we have not worshipped in Mother Nature, till that judgement day, we can but take a bow and ask for mercy when she decides to taketh all away. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard, that on the 17th of November, 2015, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world was naturally destroyed, by a powerful earthquake that shook the western coast of Lefkada. What once was, the Egremni Beach in Lefkada, now is no more. And as I was watching it all on the news – those monumental stone walls collapsing into the sea like powder cinnamon – I couldn’t help, but mourn, a great loss. To think, that three years before, on our way to Porto Katsiki, we took a wrong turn, and what we thought of as a misfortune, proved out to be exactly the opposite. Our taking this wrong turn was actually a gift: Mother Nature’s gift of absolute splendour. Ladies and gentlemen…before I take you any further on our Lefkada journey, I  feel obliged to present to you: The Beach of Egremeni. And in remembrance, I would also tell you about the pristine white dust that paved the road, 1 km before you got here. I would also share with you the travesty of having to climb down what seemed like one million or so steps, to actually arrive here. But making every moment of our day at Egremni worthwhile…that was easy. And there are more moments in a day well-spent, than there are in an entire lifetime spent dreaming at what’s in reach, but never grasped.

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On a more happy note…I would honestly tell you that Lefkada takes a little time to get used to. I have this thing and it goes like this: when I get somewhere, and that somewhere has a beach nearby, the first thing I do, no matter how long the road before, I go and check the beach out. In Lefkada, we stayed at the Enodia Hotel in Vasiliki Bay. And yes, we got the upgraded room with the sea view and everything was lovely, but the beach in Vasiliki Bay…well, let’s say that it is more dedicated to water sports than leisure. This beach was pebbly and sunbathing…well…I wouldn’t recommend it. So no, there was no quiet holiday for us this time either. The first thing we did after our short stroll to Vasiliki Bay, was try and figure out a solution to our little predicament. We went to the reception of the hotel and asked for a map of other beaches nearby. And as it proved out: there were no other beaches in near distance of our hotel. There was the Agiofili Beach. But it was only accessible by boat, and the boat had no reasonable schedule whatsoever. Moreover, it only took passengers to Agiofili, when and if there were enough passengers to make the trip worthwhile. There was Porto Katsiki, and getting there meant driving your car on this suicide lane across the mountain, that they called road. There were Gialos Beach and Egremni. But getting to them, over and across the mountain, seemed suicidal all over again.  It seemed that we were stuck on an island that was incredibly unmanageable and utterly rough.

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File_006 (9)However, we had booked 7 days on this island and we had to figure out something to do with our time. So we got a can of beer and we went for a walk. We strode along the Beach, down to Vasiliki Bay, and where the road looked like it was starting to end, it actually went further, into the woods, onto the mountain. So we took this steep road into the woods, along the coast of the mountain. Eventually we gave up. We were too tired to go any further. But what we found out, on our way down, was that this hardly practicable path, was the “earth-bound” way to Agiofili. We left the idea some time to sink in, and the next day we got into our car and decided to take on the strong will of the mountain. Now, the funny thing is, our car is not a Range Rover by far. We took this wrong turn, somewhere, and ended up on the side of the mountain, another car coming form the opposite direction, on an earthy road with only one lane, technical problems with our clutch and everything. Oh yes, it was no piece of cake. This island, I suggest, is best visited when you are young. So you still have the energy to carry on when it strikes you down. We somehow got out of that mess, and we went up the mountain, and down again…and we eventually came across Gialos Beach right at the bottom. It was pebbly and vast, but…it was beautiful and it had a bar….so….we stayed. After all, tales of adventures have to be outlived to be told 🙂

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The next day, the idea sunk in. We decided to take the mountain path to Agiofili. Now…the thing is…we like to take our time in the mornings. And with a continental breakfast like the one at the Enodia Hotel, you might just take longer than usual. So we got to climbing at about 12:00 A.M., 30 degrees outside, beach stuff, umbrella and all that. When we got to Agiofili, I was just about to give it all up: the exploring, the heat, the island, the holiday. But…there was something about the Agiofili beach…which set everything into place. It had the shallow water, the fish, the waves when it got windy.  Overall, it had this kind of serenity to it, that urged us to stay, and think about all the beauty in this one place….maybe come back tomorrow, which we, of course, did. We came back the next day, and the day after…and then it started to rain on us.

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And there was wind and there were sea-storms, and it kept pouring down on us, until it was time to go back home again. Luckily, Vasiliki Bay is one of the animated places on the island. There is tones of stuff to do, even on a rainy day, and if you’re into eating…well…there is no place better to enjoy the best fresh seafood ever.

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I guess, the most beautiful places in the world, take some effort to unravel and explore. But these kind of stories are the ones worth telling…these kind of stories become the novels that do not get to see the bookshelves. However, they will forever be remembered  as the  best-sellers of our lives, wouldn’t you agree?

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P.S. We eventually got to also see Porto Katsiki, two years after our trip to Lefkada, on our way to Kefalonia, when our ferry from Vasiliki Bay was postponed due to bad weather.

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