July 28, 2014

The Greece Diaries - Lefkada

Porto Katsiki Beach, Lefkada
When planning my trip to Greece, I'll admit that I didn't do much.

Maria had it all mapped out, and my only request was that she take me to the ocean. I didn't care where we went. If anything, I wanted her to take me to where she usually goes. Before this trip, I've never heard of Lefkada. When friends or family visited Greece, they told me to check out Mykonos, Santorini, or Ios.

I learned that Lekfada is part of the Ionian Sea (most of the other islands are part of the Aegean Sea) and that it is one of the only Greek islands that can be accessed by car.

Driving to Lefkada was one of the most amazing experiences I've had on vacation. We drove on roads that spun off cliffs of lush forests where you could never tell where the sky or sea started. While there, we visited three beaches:

When I first got to Kathisma, I thought I hit the centre of an alternative paradise. The water was as clear as a man-made backyard pool, the temperature like a warm bath. Maria and Kostas barely fluttered an eyelid, assuring me that the next two beaches we'd visit would blow my mind.

I said I didn't believe them.

Cue Day Two. We arrived at Porto Katsiki. A beach that was carved out of speckled white and orange cliffs, the colour of a Tabby cat. The water here was clearer, and I spent the day dripping in salt water, climbing on rocks, and floating on my back, unable to process where exactly I was in the world.

I then told them, nothing could be better.

Day Three: the final escape to Egremni, a beach that could only be accessed by walking down 347 steps.

We left early in the morning, and as we arrived the sun was just starting to illuminate the endless stretch of sand and ocean. As my feet sunk into the rocky ground, the shore would spit up white, foamy bubbles like the mix of saliva and toothpaste in a sink.

Kostas found us a grotto to rest our stuff under, our own personal cave where we could hide from the sun when it got too strong (and the sun is no joke in Greece). The only caveat of Egremni beach is when you have to use the bathroom, you have to climb back up the 347 steps. I caved and made the trip up in the afternoon, a feat that I definitely don't recommend. Kostas and Maria, more seasoned beach professionals waited until we left to climb back up.

All I can recall from that day is the blue. The bluntness of the shade. The way I flung off my sunglasses to examine the colours. The deep ombre of the ocean, starting with an electric indigo, and ending in cyan. 

I've never seen blue like that, except maybe in the irises of my grandparents' eyes. That's all I remember. That's the most I'll ever be able to describe.

Below are some photos! Enjoy.