Cephalonia is one of the largest Greek islands, situated off the western coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea. Argostoli is its capital. It’s a beautiful seaside town, with tree-lined streets filled with shops selling everything from gardening supplies to video games. It doesn’t give you that feeling that poverty lurks around the next corner; it seems bright and busy and prosperous.
The Armonia anchored in the middle of the harbor again, and we took the tender boats into town. We were somewhat clueless again as to what to do, but eventually we found a big sign with a city map, and an archaeological museum up the hill just a few blocks away.
The museum was only 3€ each for admission, and it consisted of three rooms with displays of digsite relics from different periods. The first room covered prehistory, and displayed flint tools from 5,000 or so years ago, when Cephalonians were inhabiting the caves along the rocky shore. The middle room showed pottery and beads from about 2,000 BC, and the last room had more pottery and bronze, iron and gold items and coins from the heyday of the Greek civilization.
Argostoli was leveled in 1953 by an earthquake. We got a little more information at lunch from our waiter, a very personable young man who was happy to talk to us in English. He told us that only two houses were left standing. The entire town was rebuilt, which might account for the fact that it looked new and well kept, compared to Corfu and Gythion. He also told us they still have tremors — just ten days ago they had a tremor strong enough to knock a clock off a shelf in his house.
He recommended a traditional Greek meat pie, which was like chunks of beef and onions and something like rice in a pastry crust. It had the consistency of a meat loaf, not like I would think of a meat pie with vegetables in a more runny gravy. It was wonderful, with a glass of the local white wine.
I know there is so much more to see in these cities. Just walking around seems like a waste when you are surrounded by so much history and culture. But it would take much more than the four hours given to us by the cruise line to really feel that you had done it justice.
I am almost to the point, though, that I have seen enough. I miss home, my daughters, our single-family house with a yard and a flower garden. I miss being able to walk to work, half an hour down the sidewalks where you might not see another soul, and don’t have to constantly weave your way around other people, parked cars, sidewalk cafes. street vendors, and cat poo. Somewhere you can express yourself in English and know you will be understood.
The cruise is an experience in itself. Sitting on the deck in the sun, reading and blogging and watching the rocky Greek coastline go by. Eavesdropping on the Italians around me to see if I can make out what they are saying. Eating food I’ve only watched them make on TV. (Tonight I had a smoked marlin appetizer…) Nightly shows in the theater, and making new friends from the other side of the planet. It’s totally great.
So today we say goodbye to Greece, tomorrow we visit Kotor, Montenegro. I have no idea what language they speak or if they use euros, but I am looking forward to finding out.