Did Homer actually see this island?Nalynn Dolan Caine ▼ |
However, we won't pay attention to Homer because Ithaca is the island on which we'd like to spend our holiday. So close to get to it with boat, yet so far away from noisy places on Greek coast. That small island is also called Ithaka or Ithaki, and it lies off the east coast of Kefalonia. It is inhabited with around 3500 people, with very few shops and no attractions that would attract 20-something to drink until... You know.
The narrowest part of Ithaca is the bay at Ateos with two large peninsulas on the north and south. On the north, you will find interesting routes for walking, biggest villages, and resorts. The south is the home of capital Vathi. The west coast is rough with only a couple of decent beaches, and the eastern side is a home of rolling hills and lush farmland.
Ithaca is an island for those looking for a place to unwind and where "the most exciting event of the day is catching the waiter's eye to order the next round". Which is good, I believe, after day to day 5-9 working hours.
The islanders will take you to the Homer's route on a one day boat and coach trip from nearby Kefalonia and they will mention, just by the way, that lord Byron thought Ithaca so beautiful he wanted to buy it. We don't know about that, but we certainly don't agree with Homer: It is not just for goats. Countryside is astonishing, the scenery breathtakingly beautiful and, if you are looking for tranquility, look no further.
What to see and where to go? First, take it slow. There's no rush there, so we'll give just a few hints, and the rest is up to you.
Main port on the south is called Vathi, it has one of the most idyllic seafront settings in Greece, nestled at the end of a long, deep bay and embraced by mountains. The wooded islet of Lazaretto sits in the bay where a quarantine station was built back in 17 century; later it was converted to a prison and ruined in the earthquake in 1953. All that remains are trees and a picturesque, whitewashed church.
In Vathi you will find post office, bank, cash machine, bakery, mini markets, travel agents and shops. Ferries go from there to mainland Greece, Kefalonia, Corfu and Italy, and boats offer many trips around the island and to Kefalonia. Above the beach at Dexa is the Cave of Nymphs; the local people will say Marmarospilia. This is the where Odysseus is supposed to have hidden his treasure on his return from Troy. What treasures have been found are more of an archaeological nature and can be found in the museum in Vathy.
What treasures you can find on Ithaca? Above all, you will find peace, beautiful scenery, and peace for your hard-working soul. Take a walk and don't plan where you will stop. Take it easy and slow, you're not at work. And Ithaca deserves to be seen. Step by step, tree by tree... ■