Leaving Kefalonia Behind (for now)

Despite my best intentions to blog about my time in Kefalonia once or twice a week, I only managed two posts during my two months there.

Sitting here at 4.15am in the morning, with jet lag-induced insomnia I thought, why not be productive and reflect on my epic, eye-opening adventure.

The truth is, it was very busy and my pre-Kefalonian daydreamings of sitting by the pool didn’t eventuate until about four weeks in.

My mum and stepfathers’ new villa is now complete. It consumed me from the minute I arrived and them for the past 18 months. But, only when you see can you appreciate that every tear and stress was worth it. I’ll post a full wrap up of the villa next week.

Here is a little wrap of what I have learnt and experienced in beautiful Kefalonia;

  • The single biggest challenge to any person building in Kefalonia, local or foreigner, is availability. Being a small, somewhat isolated island, the suppliers here stock very little. Therefore most items must be ordered from a brochure, sight unseen. Shall we go into details about the problems this can cause…? Let’s not. Mum has a little joke that if she hears the line from a suppliers ‘ah, we must order from Athen’s’ one more time, she will have a conniption.

Ordering from Athens is not a basic as it sounds, and has been a source of endless stress for them. Adding more fuel to the fire is the fact that as manyhouse hold items, appliances, furniture and soft furnishings are supplied by Germany or Italy. These suppliers are reluctant to work on credit due to the current economic situation in Greece, with payments up front the norm. This is obviously a risk as suppliers going bankrupt before your order is fulfilled is not unheard of. Just ask the guy who was supposed to supply our staircase banister! Enough said.

  • Time is not a precious commodity like it is at home. Everything is a lot more relaxed there, which is good and bad. I love the way they don’t stress out, its all pretty laid back. But it can be frustrating. Where in Australia you expect your 3pm appointment to be kept by the other person, here you wouldn’t be surprised if they casually rocked up at 5pm, or not at all! Having said that, I think we could all do with a bit of a chill pill sometimes. I know I could.
  • Colour – if someone asked me, what is it about Kefalonia that stands out to you? I would answer (aside from the magnificent beaches, and charming, generous people); colour. Oh and light. The Kefalonians smash the idea of the ‘neutral palette’ and use colour to its full effect. And the effect is stunning.

Whether it be a salmon render, with turquoise shutters, a peach render with mint green shutters, or a white render with electric purple Bougainvillea creeping skyward, it really does take your breath away. I wish I could replicate these colour combos at home, and to an extent I could, but out of the Kefalonian context, it may be too much. The vastness of the sea, the cloudless sky and the rich golden sunsets provide the perfect backdrop for the searing colours the Kefalonians have mastered over time. It is a happy, uplifting place.

  • Doors and shutters – in my opinion are the features of any home or building, giving a structure character and charm. Here they are just beautiful. My favourite are the older homes, with the flaking, or iodised iron gates. They have a vintage quality which you can’t replicate in a new build, and interest that I love. My friend asked me to post some images of the beaches, enough of the doors already. My fascination is intense, but I do get that it doesn’t really appeal to everyone!

I am pleased to be home and to get stuck into semester two of college, but part of me (yes, quite a large chunk) wishes I could have stayed….

One response to “Leaving Kefalonia Behind (for now)

  1. Dear Darling this is excellent well done! And very true. Loved the old Ford. I will plagiarise some of it for our website maybe! Hope you well and your insomnia totally disappeared!! Hope you find that large chunk of yourself! Love Mum xx Vin says he thought you had already lost the large chunk!!

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