May 31, 2011

THE RIGHT WAY TO FRAPPE!

Andy and Lynn in Kefalonia
Andy and Lynn in KefaloniaWhen Lynn finally deciphered the message of her Valentine's Day card, Oh what Joy! Andy had succumbed to her wish, it was to be Kefalonia again. What he didn't know at the time was that she was a woman with a purpose. Yes, she was finally going to perfect her frappe drinking technique, do it like the Greeks do - slowly and enjoying every sip!
Well, things did not work out that way, despite her good intentions. Within minutes, she managed to drink it all up, though conscious that the glass content was diminishing too quickly.

Face it Lynn, these things need practice. On location!
You may have to come back several times before you get your bona fide status as a  frappe drinker.

We'll all be back at Pessada to welcome you back in September...

Happy Homecoming Andy and Lynn!

A FIT FAREWELL TO SPRING

Spring on Kefalonia
To May

"Since thy return, through days and weeks
Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks
Have kindled into health!
The Old, by thee revived, have said,
'Another year is ours;'
And wayworn Wanderers, poorly fed,
Have smiled upon thy flowers."
- William Wordsworth


Soon the yellow hills of blossoming broom and the interlocking fury of red poppies and yellow daisies will fade.
 Don't fret. 
 It's part of the master plan.
It's another season's, another color's turn....
Kefalonia Spring Colors
Kefalonia's hills dressed in yellow for Spring.

GET YOUR DAISY FIX BEFORE WE RUN OUT!

chapel, Xenopoulo Kefalonia 




The "white stuff" keeps piling up on the side of the road from mid February till late in May. In most places they'd send out the snow plows to remove it.
In Kefalonia, because it is of a different nature, we let it grow in greater piles and then pick the perfect one out of the bunch to pluck. And if the process ends in an "undesirable"  leftover leaf, we just repeat with a new sample till it comes out right!

Have no fear, there are plenty of odd number leafed daisies around to attest of our loved one's devotion....

Kefalonia Springtime daisies



BYRON'S LEGACY

Byron's Rock, Kefalonia
Solitude
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.
George Gordon (Lord Byron)


Byron's Rock, Kefalonia
 "If I am a poet, I owe it to the air of Greece"
This is the literal translation of the Greek inscription on the plaque at Byron's Rock in Lakithra, Kefalonia. Having lived for a period of his life on the island of Kefalonia, Lord Byron is believed to have written several verses of "Prelude" and "Don Juan" sitting on this rock and gazing out to the open sea.
The gaze is, nowadays, interrupted by the airport runway, but it is inspiring nevertheless.
I am not sure that this is true - as far as the specific works are concerned - because Byron's arrival in Kefalonia came later than the publication of the bulk of the above poems. This was his last stay before setting off for Messolonghi to join the Greek Liberation Forces. (He died there in 1824).
It does seem likely though that one of his popular quotes was inspired by this view, regardless of chronological correctness:

“In solitude, where we are least alone.”

(the stamp image is "borrowed" from Google images and appears on several Byron bio sites)

May 30, 2011

RESCUE THIS BIRD!

Agia Efimia, Kefalonia
"There's an unsigned pact between God and us islanders here in Greece. He makes sure we have the brightest and bluest waters and we, in turn, have committed to decorating them in the most colorful and imaginative way."
These words belong to an old fisherman I met some years ago; a face weathered more by the sun and the sea than the passage of time, with patience, wisdom, and pride.

The "decorations" he referred to are the traditional wooden boats and caϊques which are so characteristic of the Greek Islands. Fishermen take great pride in painting them in bright colors - each trying to outdo the other in fulfilling the "contract" with God.

Unfortunately, EC directives dictate that  wooden  boats be physically destroyed and replaced with plastic and fiberglass hulled vessels.

All we can hope for is that God is not too upset with this breach of contract. I can't imagine Him not holding up his part of the deal for bright, blue seas!


Note: The traditional fishing boat pictured here is the "SEABIRD," resting for the day in the bay of Agia Efimia.

May 28, 2011

SPLASH!

 Riding the crest of a breaking wave or showing off their 360 degree vision, fun loving swimmers and woodcocks* are really birds of the same feather at Trapezaki Beach! **

* Woodcocks are a common species of wading birds living in woodlands close to the coastline. Though elusive, they are popular game birds :((

** Behind the beach is a densely wooded ravine, naturally canopied by plane trees wrapped in climbing and ground-creeping ivy, bindweed, and other foliage, and natural springs and running waters forming small reflecting pools. This is a habitat for many birds, including falcons.
There's is a marked walking trail along the ravine, but I've never tried it since I'm not too keen on experiencing an encounter with any type of creature belonging to the reptile family! So, I stick to walking or driving along the narrow ravine road. It's gorgeous ...and safer!

Trapezaki, Kefalonia birds

WHITE ON BLUE

Sailing in Kefalonia
Sailing along Kefalonia's southeastern coast
There are times when less is more.
Strip away the colorful wrappings and get to the essence of absolute bliss.
Don't sail, just glide...

Float in a two dimensional reality...
Let your guard down but keep your sails ready...
It's a matter of time before the northern breeze awakes from its midday siesta...

But you'll be ready for it...

May 27, 2011

A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

Kefalonia Sky in June
More often than not, they engage in harmonious cooperation. The sea and the sky, I mean.
Once in a while though, one or the other decides to break the pact and just do "its own thing." June and September are typical months for this arrogant behavior, with the sky usually being the culprit. While the sea succumbs to the inevitable end of the day, the great ceiling insists on making the lasting impression before all lights are turned off.
Due to this lack of cooperation, the island does gets a bit "top heavy",
    but

as long as I get my cotton candy heavens, who am I to take sides?

May 26, 2011

ONCE UPON A WIND

Kefalonia sunset

This humble tree has seen it all.
Same place, approximately same time, different season, different wind.

Standing unassumingly on the side of the road, near the village of Markopoulo, it is a lonely figure outlined in color or total oblivion - depending on the whims of the seasonal winds.

Kefalonia in Fog

When the cool and dry northwestern mistral and the gentle, though unpredictable, zephyr from the west take turns in coloring Kefalonia's evenings, the little fellow basks in an orange and purple shroud.

It is when ostria - the wicked lady blowing in from the south - rolls in with a roar from the shores of northern Africa, the tree stops being a mere foreground element. It is almost like a beacon on a rugged shore; its earthly existence takes on a practical purpose. Yes, this is the edge of the road, beyond here is a white abyss of mist - the "southern bitch's" calling card.
Luckily, she is restless and won't stick around for long.
(Top photo taken in October, bottom photo in early May - but the order could just as easily be reversed!)

OUTLINES IN MORNING HAZE

Kefalonia Hazy Morning, Koutavos Lagoon
Hazy Morning, Koutavos Lagoon - Kefalonia
It was a drizzly November morning, one of those that I can barely drag myself out of bed... Ugh! Staggering by the window, I drearily looked at the hazy sky and reached for my ever handy Canon. Snap, snap, snap! I needed proof that this floating rock is not always topped by clear blue skies.
Argostoli Bay was recovering from days of rain and relatively high temperatures, "gifted" by the dreaded southeastern winds. Koutavos Lagoon was just steaming! Not a very interesting frame - unless you've left the polarizer filter on the lens.
I did, and... VOILA!

May 22, 2011

RED MULLETS FOR THE LADY!

Kefalonia Caretta Caretta Turtle
The story: This loggerhead turtle (caretta-caretta) is very particular about her meals. A veteran of Argostoli Bay, she enjoys "pet status" among the local fishermen. Totally spoiled, she chooses her "target" with exceptional precision each time, and is relentlessly playful until she is hand fed her choice meal by one of her unofficial caretakers.
Preferences include red mullets and small sea bass. Though one of many turtles frequenting the bay, she is easily recognizable by a white bone scar on her back, probably due to a past encounter with a boat propeller or hull. Her favorite hangout is the fish boat docking section along Argostoli's waterfront - for obvious reasons!

The Fact: Kefalonia - along with the neighboring island of Zante- is a major habitat and breeding location for the Mediterranean loggerhead turtle caretta-caretta, a species protected by law as endangered for extinction.

A BIT OF GEOGRAPHY, SOME FACTS, AND THE OBVIOUS....


Kefalonia is the largest of the islands sprawling the Ionian Sea on the western coast of Greece, from north to south. Separated by a narrow channel from Ithaca, Kefalonia lies in the middle of this colorful sea. The island's terrain is rugged and its shores are highly indented with beaches, inlets and hidden coves. The abundance of limestone in the sub terrain and seabed makes for some interesting geological variations in the land and colors in the sea.

Myrtos Beach, KefaloniaMyrtos Beach, Kefalonia In contrast to the deep blue of the Aegean Sea, the Ionian Sea toggles between sky blue, transparent emerald, and milky turquoise. Interesting and rare flora, evergreen mountains, and bare limestone cliffs cascading to the sea, make for breathtaking contrasts and a stunning landscape year round. Never a dull moment here as the seasons change!
Kefalonia's trademark photo is that of Myrtos Beach. Year after year, Myrtos finds its way to the top of Greece's "best beaches" list and is placed on the top 5 or 10 list of best beaches in Europe and the world. This distinction is certainly justified. But... this is part of the "obvious" beauty of the island. So, I'll post the "obvious" photos now so I can move on to more subtle but certainly more interesting things!

(note: it'll be a while before I post anything about Myrtos again, so, get your fix now!)

Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia

May 21, 2011

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Kefalonia Island
Try to google "Kefalonia" and you'll come across all the spelling variations of the island's name. The reasons are complex and linked to the island's history, linguistics, etc. The most popular and widely used variation - in English - is KEFALONIA. 
However, the substance is not in the name; while the argument for the definitive name carries on, the seasons change and along with them so do the colors, the moods, the scents, the skies and the sea. None should be missed for the sake of getting the "label" correct.
Because ....
"that which we call a rose,
by any other name
would smell as sweet"
*



* (Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare)

May 19, 2011

SETTING THE GROUND RULES: COPYRIGHTS AND DISCLAIMERS


Every single word and photograph on this blog is original, and mine. I don’t “borrow” – creatively or otherwise – and, as a rule, I don’t repost third party material. When I do, I always mention the source. It is a matter of principle.
Exceptions to the above:
-    Of course I did not redraw the map of Kefalonia. (thank you, Google)
-    I use song lyrics extensively: sometimes in the titles of posts, sometimes in my main text. Though I always strive to give credit where due, sometimes I may not; most of these lyrics are so “public domain” in a way, as they are widely recognizable and/or have been incorporated into everyday expression. (for example: “All you need is Love”, “Stairway to Heaven”, etc, etc)
-    I do borrow quotes shamelessly from literary giants, but only as a tribute to them since I could never express it better than they have. And yes, I have a special “thing” for the absolute master of the English language – William Shakespeare – but always with all credit due to the Great One, lest he come back and haunt me with some medieval copyright law, yelling at me “Out, out, you damned spot”!

THE COPYRIGHT ISSUE

I’ll be succinct: No portion of this blog may be copied, used, reproduced or presented in any form without my prior knowledge and consent. Reposting on social media or other noncommercial media is ok, as long as the source is clearly mentioned.


Kefalonia fishing
(To take some of the photos I post here, I spent lots of time driving on dirt roads, climbing hills and rocks, ducking crashing waves, avoiding encounters with some unfriendly species of local flora and fauna – not to mention cash outlays for car repairs, camera equipment and first aid kits (prickly pears are nice to look at but they do sting!) Therefore, it’s absolutely maddening to have someone benefit commercially from this without having to do more than just right click. The same is true for text: writing is a result of one’s sum total of feelings, knowledge, education, experiences etc.  I’ve seen portions of my work reproduced on commercial sites without credit and it’s infuriating. )
However, if you like a photo for your own use – e.g. as a screensaver – please email me and I’ll send it to you in the proper resolution. (Material is available for commercial use as well, under certain conditions).
Anyone caught in a net of copyright abuse, will be promptly fried... ;-)

A Disclaimer of Sorts

Although a lover of English literature – esp. fascinated by the writers of the Victorian and Romantic Eras – I write in “American” English. This is inevitable as I grew up and was schooled across the Atlantic. Therefore, my rainbows have colors (instead of colours), my posts are organized (instead of organised) in categories, and, I place my photos off center (instead of off centre). Though most of the quotes and allusions used are strictly literary, some are inevitably cultural - as are numerous colloquialisms used. I feel the need for clarifying this point because I’d hate to unintentionally alienate my Brit friends.  All I can promise is to always strive to be sincere and “correct” in information disseminated through this blog – linguistic “correctness” is beyond me at this time. OK?

And a Disclaimer of Principle

This blog is NOT A COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY on my part. Yes, I do similar work professionally: mostly writing for print and digital destination marketing. BUT this is MY PERSONAL BLOG, the place I unload my “likes” and concerns, my interests, the stuff that usually gets left out from official brochures and websites as too “particular, too unconventional.” This is the dump site of my heart and soul – the place where I share all the thoughts and material that fills up many gigabytes on several hard disks and is shouting out to be seen and heard.
There will NOT be commercial activity on this blog, with the possible exception of a link to any site that endorses the blog. NO ADVERTISING of accommodation, holiday packages or local ...widgets! However, from time to time I may mention a service, business, person or product within the context of my posts. Any such mention will be strictly on a personal level and from personal experience or knowledge. There are some noteworthy people doing excellent work out here and some of them are my friends. So, without undue guilt, I will mention them - if and when appropriate - but no links to commercial sites. Should any of you wish to explore such a mention further, email me and I’ll get you in touch.

No more, no less….
Note: All photos are as"straight out of the camera"- with the exception of some cropping to accommodate sizing needs. No Photoshop, no touch up, no erasing of distractions. WYSIWYG.

KEFALONIA WORLD LIFT OFF!



Kefalonia seagull

By way of Introduction

I’ve been thinking about this for a while… starting a blog about Kefalonia.
There’s a need in me to say and show things about this island that I don’t get the chance to do in my professional capacity. Though I have authored and designed/managed the content of many brochures, websites and multimedia applications on Kefalonia, there is always something missing. No, this place is not only about its well known beaches and tourist attractions – you know, the stuff you see on printed or digital guides.

But try to convince a client or a local official to include a photograph that shows anything but the heart of summer, with beaches “planted” with sun beds and shades and they'll look at you like you just landed from a distant galaxy… ( I did manage once to convince a mayor to dedicate a few pages to “the other seasons” – real groundbreaking stuff!)

It is my deep belief that people who visit Kefalonia are shortchanged because they never get to see the real beauty beyond the obvious, the conventional, and the commercial aspect. No, you will never get your time’s (or money’s) worth seeing the well advertised obvious!

Sooooo, let’s remedy this.

EXPERIENCE the place and find out what it’s really about….

KefaloniaWorld

It’s all about rainbows, those show-off, arched bridges of extravagant color…
It’s about intuitively tracking the flight pattern of a seagull or just following the sun exploding from the horizon and racing to mid heavens…
It’s about color – true, vivid, unadulterated color
It’s about light – raw, bright, clear, forceful…
It’s about shape – rugged and clearly defined, odd and distinctive…
It’s about a place where the sky, the cascading cliffs, and the sea continue to engage in their perpetual struggle for dominance, with each taking alternating turns in victory and defeat…
It’s about people – living and experiencing the colors and the light…
It’s about sharing the experience with new friends…

Come along, let me show you what I mean……..

May 16, 2011

TESTING THE WATERS OF KEFALONIA

Kefalonia Island


Warming up and testing the waters.........

It is possible that I'll get this right and it is possible that you'll like these waters and will come back for a dip....

I thought about making my first post a general description, with information and disclaimers, but it just didn't seem right...

Join me, let's get acquainted - or reacquainted - LET'S GET OUR FEET WET!