This is our first DIY trip to Greece and as chief organiser I really want it to go smoothly as chief worrier might grump if things don’t go to plan !!
Accomodation for all parts of the trip is sorted as is transfers, bus and ferry times etc. Only thing not sorted is getting to our accommodation from the ferry (only one taxi and I know he will either not be on the island or will be picking up someone else from the ferry – I do have my plans and ideas !!)
Trip from home – airport – Preveza all went ok with no problems.
Long wait to get through passport control – can see worrier getting twitchy as he thinks our taxi driver will leave us behind ? Once he clears passport control and finds our case he’s off faster than Red Rum and quickly finds taxi driver with my name on a board and off they trot leaving me bringing up the rear !
We have a wait in Nidri for the next ferry and soak up the sunshine – at last we feel like we are home again!
Ferry comes with the usual slickness and ease that only exists in Greece and and delivers us to beautiful Meganisi and Spilia port.
This is where the only not organised bit needs to come into play so as we near the port my eyes are on stalks just in case the accommodation owner appears to collect us (no),
the taxi is free (no) – last resort the bus (mini bus) is there (yes!!!)
This is my last and only realistic option. I suggest that we need to be quick to jump on as not many tourists use the bus and once he has all the locals he thinks he is collecting the bus driver will be off. Once again, chief worrier springs into action and saves the day, jumping on with his case just before the door is about to be shut! Lots of grins and nods from the locals on the bus – we’ll probably be the topic around the dinner table tonight !
The driver looks a bit stunned as to where we want dropping off but once he is shown a photo map of where we want to be in Katomeri, he nods and off we go. Thank you Googlemaps !!
We have a lovely island tour to get to our destination, going through the three villages on Meganisi – Spartochori, Vathy and Katomeri. As we go through the small lanes in Spartochori I am no longer surprised by the appearance of the battered bus as we scrape along walls and the driver pulls his wing mirrors in. There is now a new 2018 bus that is pristine – probably not for long though !
We get off and start our walk down the fairly steep hill to our accommodation at the bottom of the lane. There is nothing but the studios down there and of course the lovely Elia Bay. And also the thousands of huge grass hopper/cricket type creatures that seem to have descended on the road. Ten minutes down the track we hear a car coming down so push ourselves and case into the undergrowth to let it pass and it’s non other than our host. He stops, has a look of faint recognition, shock and surprise rolled into one and says “You come today?”
Now either we were Scotch Mist or we were there in the flesh !!
“No problem!” he says and shoots off down the road leaving us stunned !
As it turns out it wasn’t a problem and the room was ready and waiting for us even though we were ‘early’!
We had glorious views over Elia Bay and there is no noise down there at all apart from the odd fishing boat or yacht. We soon sorted ourselves out and after explaining to our landlord there was no water settled into our holiday. Ouzo o’clock soon came around (thanks to a quick shop in Nidri) and then after showers off we went in search of our first meal. The chief worrier no longer seemed worried – happy days !
Back up the hill, pretty hard going at first in the heat and the grasshoppers didn’t help ! Into and through Katomeri and down to Vathi approx 30 mins walk.
Having been before we knew where we were heading for our pre-dinner drinkies and arrived to find that, thankfully, the kafenion hadn’t changed a bit. The waiter came over and after sidling over to us grunted. He took our order and came back with two glasses of ouzo, two glasses of water, a bowl of ice and a plate of delicious mezze, all banged down on the table as it is only done in Greece. He is not known for much chatter with tourists and as the two weeks went by he did start to respond to us and our attempts at simple Greek phrases and replied to our “kali-spiras and efharistos”. By the end of the first week he didn’t even come to take our order but it just appeared as if by magic !!
We had lots of lovely meals around Meganisi and found that the prices didn’t seem to have gone up much and a bonus – no individual olive oil bottles !
Each morning we went for a walk, climbing up the hill into Katomeri. We passed the first village house on our way each day and the old man who lives there sang every morning! Everyone we passed was really friendly so lots of “kalimera” and “yassas” to be had. We were even offered coffee one morning but were in a rush for the ferry.
Katomeri is the main village on the island and the old ladies are all dressed in very traditional style black outfits with headscarves. There is a number of these ladies that spin and weave the old fashioned way and they are more than happy to show visitors. You can see the looms etc just inside doorways and in gardens.
We really enjoy walking around Meganisi and over the 14 days walked around 135 miles. A lot of places are linked by small tracks and roads but the main roads are extremely quiet so this makes for easy walking (except for dodging the grasshoppers). One of our favourite walks links the three villages and also Spilia port. There are great views in every direction. We also walked to Ag.Ioannis and sat at a taverna with our frappe overlooking the sea towards Lefkas. Magnificent views. Compared to our little bay it was like watching a sea motorway there was that much marine activity. Here we also saw dolphins. On one of our walks we went down a road that had a sheep hut and the usual fences etc but also a Cuban flag and one of Fidel Castro! Further on and we found one of the most spectatcular views over towards the west coast and the ‘leg’ of Meganisi. Unfortunately this was also where the landfill waste site is.
There is a lot of wild life on Meganisi as well as crickets. We saw a huge caterpillar that must have been around four cm long, loads of birds and also foxes. Most nights we were woken up by the horrible yowling of a fox or two nearby. We walked up the road one evening to see one just in front of us catching and eating the grasshoppers on the road. It stopped when it saw us but just sat at the side of the road to wait whilst we passed. Another sloped around us as we sat on the beach one evening! There are also deer on the island but we didn’t see this.
Meganisi has seen lots of building work over the years of high class and very expensive villas. I hope that this doesn’t take over the whole island and change it from what it is today, a little island with a big heart.
Sadly we left Meganisi and spent our last evening in Preveza. Got to the hotel after a very strange bus journey (the worrier nearly came back!).
The hotel wasn’t expecting us and hadn’t got our booking!! I had though and after a lot of patience from the receptionist we were shown to our room for the night. It was very noisy and busy in Preveza after our fortnight of solitude but it was a lovely city and we enjoyed exploring it.
Sorry if this trip report is a bit long but I enjoyed revisiting my thoughts on our lovely holiday – especially as we found we had been burgled on our return home....