Hello – I’m back, it feels like a long time since I’ve posted. So – as a lot of you guessed, our mystery destination was Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands. I managed to keep it a secret until a few days before we left when I had to give the boys a small clue in case they read my last post.
As it was with you, the one I chose was too easy – Hellas. In an instant they knew we were going to Greece (because of the football team of course – I didn’t think of that) but they didn’t know it was Kefalonia until we arrived at the airport and I gave them the flight number. We hadn’t been to Greece for 11 years so they were all pleased.
Every year I book a flight that is scheduled to depart at about 10am and every year it is bumped back to an ungodly hour. This year we had to leave the house at 1.45am for a 5am departure so we missed a complete night’s sleep. On top of this, as anyone who is familiar with Kefalonia will know, we then had a 2 hour drive along hairpin bends to reach our final destination of Fiskardo at the very North of the island, so it was a relief to arrive at the villa.
Here are a couple of pictures to show you what greeted us when we finally got there. We were based in Tselendata, a little village about 2 miles away from Fiskardo.
We needed to eat so on our first evening we walked down the road to a beachside taverna feeling a bit like zombies but happy nevertheless.
White Company silver lustre t-shirt; Mango maxi skirt; Boden silver glitter sandals; Whistles clutch
After a while we felt restored and decided to drive out to Myrtos beach, famous for being featured on the covers of a thousand holiday brochures – you can see why. Thank you to the readers who recommended it…
… and the fabulous taverna (on the right at the top of the hill when you leave the beach). We had our best food of the whole holiday here.
After a few days Mr MC and I got into a relaxing rhythm of leaving the boys sleeping and popping out for breakfast – a definite benefit of having teenagers. It gave us a chance to catch up before another lazy day.
(Boden jersey dress; Boden espadrilles; Boden clutch)
Fiskardo is a pretty little harbourside town, the only one on the island that escaped the huge earthquake in 1953 which destroyed most of the island. It isn’t big but it’s big enough. It’s lovely sitting and watching the boats come and go.
Most evenings we went down to eat at one of the restaurants which all offer good Greek food. There are about 15 to choose from. The tourists are mostly Italian along with a rather ‘Boden’ British crowd. The mood is relaxed with people staying at their tables until late in the night, enjoying conversations over a bottle of wine.
Mango skirt; Boden halter top; Zara sandals, Mulberry clutch; rose gold wrap bracelet – Lizzy O
Here we are having our regular debate over which place to choose – one of the most taxing tasks of the holiday…
Of course as always in the world of Midlifechic there was an opportunity to browse around the shops. As Fiskardo has a captive and wealthy consumer base, prices were were high – and in the restaurants and supermarkets too.
I’m always at my happiest when I’m surrounded by mountains, trees and the sea – and my four most loved people in the world of course…
Before we knew it, the day was dawning on our youngest son’s birthday. He is now 13 so I no longer have a child in my nest – he still woke us all up mighty early though!
In the dark days of Winter, when I was busy planning Project Happier, I’d booked us all a celebratory day out with Ionian Discoveries, a team of British guys who have a fascination with marine life.
(White Stuff t shirt; Boden shorts; Zara sandals; Boden clutch)
We spent the day on their Greek Caique exploring the bays and the boys dived down with them to see what they could find.
Mr MC gently unearthed an octopus. Everything that was found was placed in a tank. After lunch they spent about an hour telling us all about the different creatures that we had on board – who knew an octopus has a beak?!
One thing that they talked about which is particularly interesting in hindsight was the geology of the sea bed. They told us that Kefalonia generally experiences at least one small earthquake every day. There had been an especially strong one about 10 days before we arrived but nothing since.
They were concerned that the Aegean sea plate had been rearranged in some way which was causing a change in the usual pattern – their hunch was that the longer the period went on without quakes, the more serious the outcome would be. We felt nothing whilst we were there but of course the day after we arrived home, the tragic news of the Italian earthquake broke. Italy is part of the same tectonic region as Kefalonia and all of our hearts go out to the people who have suffered such great losses.
Here is the birthday boy holding a very glamorous sea cucumber, Mr MC is still beaming with pride over his catch.
And so the first week continued. I spent a lot of days doing this…
(H&M t-shirt; hat bought in Greece; Fat Face bikini)
Rounded off by evenings like this…
(Hope silk trousers; Boden top; Boden espadrilles)
Being with the boys for such a long time meant we had the chance to really talk about everyone’s hopes and dreams. At home it isn’t always as easy to get them to chat unguardedly as it is when they have two weeks relaxing in the sun.
This little beach (Fokis beach) was a short walk from our villa. I know it’s a bit of an odd shot but I wanted to give you a panorama and show you how quiet it was. It was easy to spend a morning there and then just amble to the taverna for lunch when it got too hot.
In addition to our breakfasts, Mr MC and I achieved a night out on our own. I talk a lot about the joy of being away with the boys, but I love having time with him too. We started with cocktails and then moved on to eat.
M&S halter neck top; Zara trousers; Zara sandals; Mulberry clutch
Kefalonia is special to us because a friend read an extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin at our wedding. We tried to travel across to Fiskardo three times when we were staying in Lefkas 11 years ago but each time we were deterred by bad weather. So, coming here had been on my list for a very long time.
I think it’s a very popular reading now but the book had only recently been published when we were married so it felt quite avant garde. Here it is in case you haven’t heard it before:
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
Happily for us, our journey has shown that we are also one tree, despite the earthquakes that we’ve had to handle along the way. I like to think there is still some pretty blossom flowering on our branches too.
So that’s where I’ll leave you for today but I’ll be back with part two tomorrow. I hope you’ve enjoyed spending a week in Kefalonia with me – don’t forget to keep in touch.