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// JUNE 2018
The raw diamond of Kefalonia
Athens
Patras
Sami
Lepeda
Lixouri
Paralia Petani
Porto Athera
Agia Thekli
Rifi
Chavdata
Chavriata
Mantzavinata
Lixouri
Lixouri
Lepeda
Argostolion
Lixouri
Kaminarata
Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon
Lepeda
Megas Lakkos
Paralia Petani
Platia Ammos
Skinos Chavriata
Kounopetra
Xi Beach
Lixouri
Lepeda
Atheras
Amidi Beach
Fteri Beach
Atheras
Lixouri
Myrtos

Argostoli


16nth of June
Argostoli

We woke up early in the morning and after having our breakfast, we drove to the port of Lixouri, where from we would take the ferry to Argostoli.
Although our journey to Kefalonia was scheduled about the peninsula of Paliki, it would be impossible not to devote at least one day for visiting the capital of Kefalonia, so as to see some of its beautiful historic buildings, to walk down its roads and squares and also to enjoy strolling on the cobbled (“goulostrato”) street of its port.  
We also wanted to pay a visit to its Botanical Garden (Cephalonia Botanica) and take some photos of it, since we knew that there we would see some of the most rare and interesting species of wild flora than can be found in the island.
 


No offence intended!!!

Truth be told, though, since we didn’t want to create some sort of…diplomatic episode between the inhabitants of Lixouri and the inhabitants of Argostoli, or to become … “Persona non grata” in Lixouri, after this particular excursion_ something really dangerous, since we would have to stay forever on the bloody ferry, in the middle of the sea, in between two towns which have a rivalry that keeps going on, for two and a half centuries now!_ we decided to leave quietly and carefully, like thieves, without informing our new friends about this audacity!  

We would tell them about it…afterwards and so…Help us God!!!

We embarked the ferry, taking also our car with us and photographed the port of Lixouri from many angles, while leaving.
We also didn’t stop taking snapshots and videos of the port of Argostoli, while the ferry was approaching it.
 


The capital of Prefecture of Kefallinia is a beautiful, modern town with remarkable historic and cultural tradition and is built amphitheatrically to the south of the island, right in the middle of Koutavos Lagoon.  
 


It would be unfair not to mention that the town has a very significant historic course.
Accordingly to historic sources, Argostoli was first inhabited two or three centuries ago. Before its inhabitance, at this geographical position there were only a few fishing huts.

Argostoli started thriving and becoming an organized community from 1757 onwards, when Doge Lauredano declared it as the capital of Kefalonia, due to its strategic position as central port of the island, and brought there all the administrative services.
We have already mentioned, in the beginning of our travelogue, that this act had serious consequences and was followed by many bloody and unfortunate incidents.

Moreover, at that period began the known rivalry in between Argostoli and Lixouri and the involution of the two towns with the subsequent governments of the French and the English, which succeeded the Venetians as conquerors of the Ionian Islands.


Vallianos Square and the historic roads around it

Vallianos Square and the statue of Panagis Vallianos are situated in the center of Argostoli. We parked our car on one of the nearby roads and walked down the historic square so as to explore it.

The square, recently renovated, is surrounded by many trees, mainly palm trees.
To its south part there are many cafés and restaurants and when the weather allows it there are tables outdoors for the locals and the guests of Argostoli too.

The square took its name from the Kefalonian benefactor Panagis Vallianos.
His statue is situated at the upper part of the square.
 


Panagis Vallianos was born in 1814 in Keramies of Kefalonia.
He was one of the six children of a very poor family and had never gone to school.
Much later, he managed to have some access to elementary writing and reading.
But regardless of the luck of education, three of the six children of the Vallianos family excelled as merchants in London and became very rich.
They donated a large part of their wealth to their homeland.
The National Library of Greece owes its construction to Panagis Vallianos, to that illiterate, but extremely perspicacious Kefalonian merchant, who died in London in 1902.

The statue of Panagis Vallianos in Argostoli was created by Georgios Bonanos from Lixouri, in the beginning of the 20nth century.
Bonanos is one of the most significant sculptors in Greece. 
Initially the statue was situated in the middle of the square, but later on it was put to its today’s position, which is the upper part of the square.

If one wants to reach Vallianos Square, must cross the main pedestrian zone called “Lithostroto”. On the other side of the square, begins the Radicals Avenue, with its beautiful tall palm trees decorating the pavements.
 


Corgialenios Foundation- Library and Historical Cultural Museum

We walked the streets around the square and passed by the significant Corgialenios Library.

Corgialenios Library of Argostoli was founded in 1924 accordingly to the will of Marinos Corgialenios, the great benefactor of Kefalonia. It opened formally in 1925 and in 1926, with a decision from the Ministry of Education, was merged with the older Public Library of Kefalonia, which was functioning in Argostoli since 1887.  

Library’s oldest material was the books of the old Public Library of Kefalonia and the personal collection of Marinos Corgialenios. 

The initial building was destroyed during the earthquakes of 1953 and there was a relocation of the library to its today building in 1963.
The new construction was designed in order to resemble the pro-earthquake building. 

Corgialenios Library currently has 62.000 volumes which were saved during the era of the catastrophic earthquakes, thanks to the devotion and self- abnegation of the people who were working there.
 


At the ground floor of the Corgialenios Library there is the Historical Cultural Museum, which was created in 1966 in order to protect the cultural legacy and the traditions of Kefalonia, along with all those elements which prove the existence of civilization in the Ionian Islands, with all the social particularities that appear during the successive foreign administrations from 1204 to 1864.
More over is given to the visitor the chance to have an experiential image of the island’s society before the 1953 earthquakes.


Foundation of Sons Fokas – Cosmetatos.

The foundation of Sons Panagis Fokas-Kosmetatos is to be found on the P.Vallianos Street, very near the central square of Argostoli.
 


The family home of the brothers, rebuilt on a smaller scale in 1956, after its complete destruction by the earthquake of 1953 and its incineration, due to the big fire that followed the earthquake, hosts the foundation today.

The collections of the foundation compose an educational exhibiting area which is aimed at every Kefalonian and also at every traveler-guest.

They include among others, furniture of the Fokas-Kosmetatos family (beginning of the 20th century), lithographs by: Joseph Cartwright , Edward Lear and Henry Cook, lithographs with traditional costumes of the Ionian Islands, two flags/heirlooms (flags of the Ionian State) and various portraits.  In the parlor of the collections is hosted the permanent exhibition:

Chronicle of Currency

This exhibition includes very rare samples of coins and banknotes that were used in the Ionian Islands during their whole long history.

There is also a very important exhibition in the yard of the building which refers to the

Earthquake of 1953

The exhibition includes photos of buildings and streets, mainly of the town of Argostoli, before and after the big earthquake of 1953, revealing the extent of the disaster in Kefalonia. The guests also have the chance to watch an important, rare documentary of those days, too.
 


When the lady responsible for the museum learnt that we had visited the foundation in order to display it on our site mytravellingdays, she was extremely helpful and also allowed us to take videos of the internal parlors, something that under normal circumstances is forbidden to the guests .


The beautiful seafront road of Argostoli 

We left behind us the historic buildings and went for a walk along the seafront. On the way there, we saw a…doll house of exquisite elegance, selling various sweets and it was impossible for us not to photograph it. Its aesthetics reminded us of a real French Patisserie…
 


The seafront road was decorated with black and white pebbles in modern motives, something that gives an artistic touch to the natural port of Argostoli.
We saw seagulls and wild ducks next to sailing boats and spotted two Caretta Caretta turtles next to a small fishing boat.
They were swimming carefree and fearless and were not bothered about the enthusiastic crowd which had gathered to watch them and take photos of them.
We too, naturally, took videos and photos of them. 
 


We carried on our walk to the seafront and passed by the Kefalonian Fish Market, where we saw plenty of fresh fish and seafood into huge skeps advertised vividly by the local fishermen.
 


 Very near the Fish Market, we saw the groceries market with yummy fruits and vegetables, which seemed as if they had just been brought there from the garden.
 


We learnt that lately several artistic events take place at the seafront road, like the famous Barcaroles, with musicians and choruses participating, but we didn’t have time to watch one such an event, even if there was a chance for it to take place in that particular evening.  

The coast road continues further than the “goulostrato”, towards Maistrato and leads to some of the most beautiful beaches (Makrys Gialos and Platys Gialos) and also to some other wonderful sightseeings, like the famous Katavothres and the idyllic Lighthouse (Fanari).
Among the most significant sightseeings, at the south side of Koutavos Lagoon, is the beautiful De Bosset (Drapano) bridge, where you can get a wide angle view of the city and the port.
Almost halfway along the bridge stands a stone column (obelisk) built by the British to commemorate their stay.
 


The excellent Botanical Garden: “Cephalonia Botanica”

We had left for the end of our trip to Argostoli the Botanical Garden, but since we had parked our car near Vallianos Square, we decided to take a taxi so as to be able to reach our final destination before the entrance for the guests closed.  

Although we arrived there late, we realized, to our surprise, that we were expected!

We were welcomed by two very polite young people, who had been informed by the Foundation of sons Fokas Kosmetatos for our visit!
They provided us with a mini acoustic guidance system and with a relevant leaflet, which helped us during our tour to the beautiful Botanical Garden, a real jewel of Argostoli.
 


We walked around the pretty paths, where we saw and photographed the fascinating wild flora of Kefalonia, crossed an olive grove and found a picturesque lake too.

In between the green plants and the low bushes, we noticed some exceptional modern, urban style sculptures, in perfect harmony with the landscape which was surrounding us.

We also discovered an opened space with an outdoors small theater, where to several cultural events take place.
The youngsters at the entrance of the Botanical Garden were waiting patiently and politely for us to return, since we were the last visitors of the day and it was time for the Garden to close its doors.
 


We had made arrangements to return to Vallianos Square by taxi and, when we arrived there, we sat at a nice café/restaurant and tried the famous Kefalonian meat pie and also Italian bruschettas, before our return to the port.
From there, we took the ferry and returned to Lixouri.  
 

 

 

Country: Greece
Date: 2018
Route: Kefalonia-Peninsula of Paliki
Cities: Athens, Patras, Sami, Lepeda, Lixouri, Paralia Petani, Porto Athera, Agia Thekli, Rifi, Chavdata, Chavriata, Mantzavinata, Lixouri, Lixouri, Lepeda, Argostolion, Lixouri, Kaminarata, Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon, Lepeda, Megas Lakkos, Paralia Petani, Platia Ammos, Skinos Chavriata , Kounopetra, Xi Beach, Lixouri, Lepeda, Atheras, Amidi Beach, Fteri Beach, Atheras, Lixouri
Duration: 8
Difficulty:
Population:
Rating:
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Country: Greece
Date: 2018
Route: Kefalonia-Peninsula of Paliki
Cities: Athens, Patras, Sami, Lepeda, Lixouri, Paralia Petani, Porto Athera, Agia Thekli, Rifi, Chavdata, Chavriata, Mantzavinata, Lixouri, Lixouri, Lepeda, Argostolion, Lixouri, Kaminarata, Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon, Lepeda, Megas Lakkos, Paralia Petani, Platia Ammos, Skinos Chavriata , Kounopetra, Xi Beach, Lixouri, Lepeda, Atheras, Amidi Beach, Fteri Beach, Atheras, Lixouri
Duration: 8
Difficulty:
Population:
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Greece
Date: 2018
Route: Kefalonia-Peninsula of Paliki
Cities: Athens, Patras, Sami, Lepeda, Lixouri, Paralia Petani, Porto Athera, Agia Thekli, Rifi, Chavdata, Chavriata, Mantzavinata, Lixouri, Lixouri, Lepeda, Argostolion, Lixouri, Kaminarata, Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon, Lepeda, Megas Lakkos, Paralia Petani, Platia Ammos, Skinos Chavriata , Kounopetra, Xi Beach, Lixouri, Lepeda, Atheras, Amidi Beach, Fteri Beach, Atheras, Lixouri
Duration: 8 days
Difficulty:
Population:
Rating:
comments
VIEW