The guy at the rental car office told us his favourite place in the island was Assos so we decided to go there the next day. The itinerary for the day was Assos in the morning and Myrtos Beach in the afternoon. It was another tricky drive for the intrepid driver (Vittoria) and a very nervous backseat driver/passenger (who else?!?). The road to Assos was full of zigzags and hairpin bends. I don’t think there is a straight road in Kefalonia. We got to the village, parked the car, and saw directions for a castle. We decided to do the walk up to the hill to the castle. There was a well-paved, zigzagging (yet again) walkway, with absolutely stunning views. We had to stop every time we found shade among the pine trees dotted along the way, as it was a searing hot day. (No one should go to Kefalonia without a hat, preferably a wide-brimmed one – – – it’s a must!!)
It must have taken us about 30-40 minutes to get to the top as we stopped every so often for shade and to take lots of photos. We found that that there was not a lot left of the castle, but the walls were still very much intact. We were very thirsty at this point, not having bothered to bring water, thinking it wasn’t going to be a long walk up to the top, so we didn’t do much exploring when we got there. We decided to take a breather before heading down and while catching our breath, we saw two men who were walking up the castle from the opposite direction.
I recalled that about 5 minutes into our walk up, I had seen signs for a shorter but what looked like a steep rugged path (800m to castle) versus the paved walkway we used (1200m to castle) – the men said they came via the rugged footpath and so we decided to walk back down the opposite way, towards the direction the men came from. We walked for about 10-15 mins, then met a couple who seemed to be lost, also looking for the footpath. They had given up and decided to go back to the castle and walk back the way we came, But we were stubborn, thinking the “entrance” to that path must be there somewhere! We kept walking..and walking…eventually there was no one around but us….we walked past a herd of goats, a rusty abandoned car without tires, and a very old church. At this point, we were still hoping we’d find our way down. Finally, we saw what looked like a beaten path with rows of olive trees lining it, we almost ran towards the end of the path, very sure we were on the right track, but when we got there, it was actually a cliff at what seemed to be the other edge of the island, opposite where we should have been heading! We were at the wrong end of the island! We saw a couple of walkers up ahead and they shouted “Assos village is over there”, pointing to where we had just come from. We were out of energy and almost out of patience. We chatted to the walkers for a bit, telling them about getting lost and our mistake of not bringing water, and headed back.
We came back to the old church and saw the two walkers were already there. The man then came over and gave us a small bottle of water…we were so thankful!!! Thank God for the kindness of strangers. Finally, we got back to the village about 3 hours after we set out. There were a number of tavernas at the village and we chose to have lunch at Nefeli, which was on the sea front. We ordered the day’s special of various fried fish, along with pita bread with aubergine dip and a tomato & cucumber salad. The special consisted of prawns, fish, sardines, squid and it was super tasty and perfectly cooked. The aubergine dip tasted lovely and fresh with the bread. I wish we had stayed longer at Assos as the village itself looked really charming and it would have been nice to explore it, and there was also a small beach you could stay at, so I suggest a full day at Assos.
We had a quick coffee before heading off to Myrtos Beach. I’ve never seen Captain Captain Corelli’s Mandolin but the film was shot in many locations in Kefalonia and an episode was shot in Myrtos. It’s the kind of beach you would imagine a perfect beach in a Greek island to look like. Myrtos can be reached via the village of Divarata, and the road down to the bay is a steep, narrow, winding road, with even more difficult, heart-stopping hairpin turns. There are places to park very near the beach but we decided to park further up and walk down to avoid a few more really steep turns. The scenery at Myrtos is so beautiful and dramatic and no camera can ever do it justice. The semi-circular beach is surrounded by white rocky cliffs, the pebbles are pure white and the water is the perfect shade of turquoise. Most beaches in Kefalonia are pebbly and Myrtos is no exception. (To fully enjoy Kefalonia’s pebble beaches, I’d highly recommend bringing aqua shoes. There’s nothing less glamourous than ooh-ing and aah-ing in agony, as you enter and exit the water!) We left Myrtos at about 7:30pm, before sunset, deciding it would be best to do the difficult drive back before it gets dark.
Still working on writing about day three and 4! Liza’s crossing her fingers for that to be done in this year or the next. 😀