Sunday, 28 July 2013

Dining & Wining in Ithaka

Here we are, as promised, once again to talk about the quiet island of Ithaka. 

  
This time we thought it could have been useful to chat about food, wine and restaurants. Just the basic information to survive in case any of you is going there soon.
First of all don't expect only fish or seafood. The culinary tradition on the island is really Greek: lots of meat especially lamb which is everywhere. A couple of places would also serve wild goat, if your palate is brave enough for such a strong taste.
I have to admit that for 2 foodies (and sometimes tripadvisor addicted) like us, finding places to eat on Ithaka hasn't been that easy. The web doesn't offer that many info on the subject so we had to be adventurous!
Let me start from the place we liked the least that was called Sirines
The service was so dramatically slow, that when the food finally arrived we were so hungry, we literally jumped on it and totally forgot about taking pictures. And unfortunately the quality was just average.
Lovely location on a pedestrian internal square of Vathi but not an experience to repeat.
Further up on our personal chart there is Kohili, that is a quite rustic taverna on the harbour of Vathi. It was suggested by the owner of the apartments where we were staying (Forkis apartments).
The starter of baked feta, with sesame seeds and honey, was delicious and came in a big portion. Not to talk about the grilled prawns that followed shortly... 















A very nice place. Simple food and not expensive. The perfect dinner after a long day of traveling.

Just next to Kohili is another little restaurant with an Asian twist. Manu, owner and chef, is Vietnamese and offers a mix of Greek and Asian dishes which are extremely cheap and well made.
My tempura cod was excellent and the stir fried veggies extremely tasty. We normally tend to eat local, but this time we were tempted by the menu and Manu's hospitality! 


A couple of special notes...one for the bill that was the lowest of the entire holiday and the second for the funniest waitress ever...a bit patchy but super-funny!

Last but not least on our list is Polifemus, a little gem in Stavros. In their lovely garden we tried octopus, stuffed peppers, lamb, moussaka, Greek salad, the house wine and a strong local spirit (so strong that it deleted any memories about its name)...just the 2 of us!

  








Rustic and genuine cuisine. All very good, friendly service and fairly priced.



And since we were staying in an apartment we also had the chance to test the local products with our own cooking skills. The result was yummy....and the view of Dexa bay the best companion for a relaxing dinner on our little terrace.

 














A little addition on this list is for a taverna in Sami, that deserves a special mention. We stopped there before getting on the ferry to Piso Aetos. We were served fresh quid in front on the sea. Unfortunately we cannot remember the name but it's the last one on the road of the ferry port and was suggested by the lady at the ticket office. If you are hungry while waiting for the ferry, don't miss it. Don't expect anything sophisticated but the food is great and very cheap.

To finish off with wine, we often drunk Robola from Kefalonia and a couple of other local wines and beers, but for more info we will divert you to our `sister blog` Winehippie

We should have stimulated your appetite enough with these pictures...so we will leave you with that hoping this list will be helpful!

Buon appetito!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

50 Shades of Blue

I still can't explain why we have been neglecting this blog for such a long time. 
Maybe it has been a lack of inspiration. Maybe we were too absorbed in our everyday life and jobs. 
Or we were just too lazy....

For sure our passion for traveling hasn't vanished at all. Actually we have kept it alive through various experiences around the world and it is now, if possible, even stronger than ever.

But what really brought us back to our bloggers' duties is our last short holiday in the Ionian island of Ithaca.

Ithaca is a little paradise on earth, but finding information on the web has been quite difficult. Probably because the island is quite unspoilt and definitely away from mass tourism. And this is one of the reasons why we liked it so much, in addition to the secluded pebble beaches and the pristine and pure sea waters.
The seabed is full of variously sized fishes, and snorkeling is the best way to spend your time!


The island shape is a bit funny, looking like a two small islands kept together by a thin stretch of land.
The southern part is a bit more inaccessible with properly paved roads terminating in the upper village of Perahori. Behind it there is just vineyards and some coves only accessible by boat.
The northern part has a few more picturesque villages, a couple of lively port towns (Frikes and Kioni) and more easily accessible coves.

The vegetation on the whole island is mainly Mediterranean with low bushes, lots of wild herbs (rosemary, sage...), cypresses and olive trees.


The green scenario is interrupted only by the the view of an old house ruin (lots of the buildings were destroyed in a earthquake in 1953)....




....and the magnificent opening of a bay with its amazing shades of blue.














The air is filled with cicadas' songs and the sound of the cowbells of some rambling goats.


The capital, Vathi, in the Southern part, is a little port town whose social life is centered in the the few cafes on the central square and the nice little `tavernas` on the harbour. A part form these, there are a few shops of handmade trinkets, a couple of supermarkets and a line of yacht parked at night!


The other towns, Stavros, Platrithias, Exogi, Frikes, Kioni and Anogi are all small picturesque traditional village, with a very relaxed atmosphere.

There isn't an airport in Ithaca, so you need to get there via ferry. We took the one from Kefalonia. We flew from London, rented a car a drove the 45 minutes dividing Argostoli (Kefalonia's capital and airport town) to Sami where we loaded the car on the ferry that takes apprximately 30 minutes into Piso Aetos in Ithaca.


We were a bit worried about the long trip but afterwards I have to say that it was totally worth.

Ithaca is an amazing place. Even in July it was not crowded and perfectly enjoyable. It is a perfect place to put your feet up and forget about work and city life: traffic or parking issues can only be bad memories!
And if the static, lazy sea holiday is not your cup of tea, there is plenty to discover in a week: a few hiking trails, a couple of ancient monasteries with Byzantine frescoes and even a prehistoric menhir!

More stories ad info will follow in the next weeks. So bear with us and let us help you in discovering the beauty of this island!