Thursday 06.06.2002 - Bird's nest

Argostoli - Travliata - Vlachata - Katelios
49,5 km
49,5 km


At 7 am Alain's mobile wakes us up.
We take a shower and stuff ourselves with breakfast, knowing from experience that all this energy will be burned within 3 hours.

Whilst putting our bags on the bike, some old Englishmen approach and declare us crazy for making a tour of the island by bike. They might be right...
We buy some bottles of water, fill our drinking bottles and are ready for the trip.

During the first part alongside the port, we cycle in opposite direction of the traffic but soon the busy centre changes into quiet roads. 10 km further on we stop at Agios Georgios, the best remained medieval castle of the Ionic isles. The climb to the castle is very steep and gives us a good impression of what we are to expect during the next few days: stepping hard on the pedals!

Agios Georgios And again Agios Georgios

The castle is situated near the village of Peratata, on a 320 m. high hill. It was built in the 13th century to fortify the island's old capital which was housed here until 1757.
The castle, along with the island, fell in succession into the hands of the Byzantines, the Franks, the Turks and the Venetians. The castle has loopholes, observatories and cannon positions. Inside, one can admire the tower called "Old Fortress", as well as part of the walls, underground arches, the throne of the Venetian Lord and a catholic church, where the nobles of Kefalonia were buried.

On top of it we have a marvellous view over the West and South coast, the inland and the capital Argostoli.

At the entrance we have a drink at the castle's taverna, the friendly owner immediately offers us an extra glass of water. The drinks are welcome, the sky is glaring blue and the sun does its job.

On our way down from Agios Georgios we pass two packed bikers. Quite a relief to know there are more fools on this island!

We are looking for the main road to get to the coast, but we must have missed a turn somewhere. We turn around a bit and finally get to the right road.
But we have more difficulties in getting to Agios Thomas: Piet suddenly noticed a sign mentioning this village so he yells at us to turn to the right. He sounds very convinced but after a while our map tells us we are entirely going into the wrong direction. Have we missed another sign somewhere?
We go all the way back to the originally sign and notice that it does not point to the right at all but to the left! Piet's "small" mistake just made the trip 6 km longer!

Agios Thomas

It has turned quite hot when we take a break in Agios Thomas and we let our T-shirts dry on our bikes. We put on some sun milk on the face, arms, legs and feet. Half an hour later the burning sun has already given Piet's back a nice red colour.
We got the message: our white skin is not used to a lot of sun and putting sun milk all over our body is definitely required.

The first part back to the inland is very steep, the small roads at the coast practically always are.
Suddenly we hear a devastating scream behind us. It's Alain cursing that his glasses are not on his nose but still down at the beach. He turns back reluctantly and has to do the climb all over again.

We choose to look for an unpaved road to get to Vlachata instead of taking the same road we took earlier.
We must not expect the presence of signs on these small roads and weigh up the different possibilities ourselves. We go for the right road, the path is OK but our bikes soon are covered with thin white dust. Nevertheless it was the right choice and after a few kilometres we arrive at the planned destination.

Let's go!

We have to do some more climbing to get to the main road, which we follow for a while and then take the turn to Skala. A bit further on we see a sign to a local winery. Big dilemma: stop here and taste some wine on an empty stomach or continue and first have some food? The food wins.

We get to Katelios, a cosy village with several restaurants and hotels alongside the coast.
After a corpulent meal we start looking for a place to spend the night. This is harder than expected actually. Possibilities enough but the places are or fully booked or closed. And since we just stay for the night a lot of owners are rather sceptic about it.

We cycle back a bit and find an apartment. Initially the older lady seemed happy about us renting the apartment, but she apparently thought we would stay for several nights. It takes a lot to convince her but eventually we get an entirely equipped apartment for the cheap price of 20 euro.

The sea is calling so we rush into our swimming gear and head for the coast. The first jump into the water is marvellous. On a bed of seaweed we lay down to enjoy the sunshine.

Back into the apartment we notice a swallow's nest at the ceiling. It is still empty but who knows we might have visitors tonight. The nest actually doesn't fit in this otherwise tidy and clean room.

A bird's nest... above Alain's bed!

We end the day in a restaurant alongside the beach, while dark clouds are passing by. Hopefully it will remain dry tomorrow.