Idyllic Ithaca

Suzanne Barney on 12 June 2005
We were invited to my friend Sue’s wedding in Ithaca. Sue use to work with me in Greece and whilst visiting me in Coventry one New Year’s Eve she met John who was to be her future husband. So Sue chose to go back to Ithaca to get married as she fell in love with the island whilst working there. Ithaca lies just off Kefalonia and to get to the island you have to get a ferry - it takes about an hour from the mainland. It’s a lovely journey as you come into the port of Vathi you get this feeling of 'coming home'. Vathi is the Capital of Ithaca, it is a pretty town with houses built up into the hills. I worked on the island in 1987 but in 20 years the island has changed so little in fact there was probably less going on now than then!. We stayed in apartments on the waterfront with a pool overlooking where the ferries come in. John and Sue’s family were scattered all over Vathi. There were about 20 of us in all, some had come as far as Holland & Thailand to be there. Ithaca doesn't have many beaches, from Vathi they are a bit of a trek to the other side of the island so we needed transportation. I hired a moped and as the island is only 30 minutes from one end to the other, took Jim on a bit of a tour of the island. The island is very hilly and at one point is only 1km wide so the scenery was absolutely stunning. I popped into the Nostos Hotel in Frikes and said hello to Nikki & Andreas with a glass of orange juice. Then further down to Kioni the most beautiful Greek village with just two tavernas on the waterfront for lunch. We had a hen night in Vathi where I came out of retirement to demonstrate my party piece of Greek dancing with a glass on my head! We just congregated in a local bar so nothing too rowdy.

Donna, who use to rep with us in the 80's, organised the wedding. She never left and married a local so started up 'Kefalonia Weddings'. The wedding was the first for UK citizens to marry on Ithaca. The wedding was held in the town hall in Vathi and from there we immediately boarded Andreas’ boat (Andreas use to do our boat BBQs in the 80's so took a bit of tracking down) and circled the harbour tooting his horn whilst we drank champagne. He dropped us off at 'Gregories' a traditional seafood restaurant on the waterfront where we had a mezze of Greek specialities and plenty of wine. Some people had too much wine - John 'the groom' decided he wanted a swim and decided to strip off to his birthday suit (with his mother present sitting next to me) and Sue the bride cycled off getting her dress caught in the spokes! Although it was great to be back in Ithaca a week was enough especially because of the lack of beaches. There are no discos and only a few bars to go to and not too many restaurants. However there is very little tourism here and it’s a great place to go if you want to do nothing at all but relax.