Wednesday, September 24, 2014


St. Nicholas Church, Svoronata Kefalonia
St. Nicholas Church - Svoronata, Kefalonia
If I were to claim that I’ve been to more churches and remote chapels in Kefalonia than most local clergymen or the most devout members of their faithful flock, it may not be an exaggeration at all. And there isn’t one Kefalonian church or chapel that is not outstanding in some way, be it the architecture, the interior, the location, or all of the above. Some are simple but are perched on high hills offering such breathtaking views that make one think that God had the best real estate agent! Others are so imposing in size or architecture that dominate their humble surroundings and, aesthetically pleasing as they may be, their pomposity and grandeur is a stark contrast to their mission as places of worship and spiritual reprise. Most Kefalonian churches and chapels house unique treasures of great artistic merit in the form of elaborate ceilings, stunning Byzantine iconography and frescoes, old portable icons painted by well-known artists, historic manuscripts, and stunning wood-carved iconostases featuring intricate baroque elements. The bell towers are tall, distinctive and unattached from the church itself, following the western architectural style rather than that of the eastern Orthodox tradition.
Many a times in my photographic adventures or “missions” to record the island’s attractions for work-related projects, I’ve found myself filling memory cards with hundreds of images of these undeniably photogenic elements. But not without some degree of guilt. I always felt that I cheated myself and my readers as I was only capturing the obvious. That’s when I began to see rather than look, and it must have been in the Church of St. Nicholas* in Svoronata. It is a huge cathedral with one of the tallest bell towers in Kefalonia, an interior of grandiose, a mezzanine and embellished decoration from front to back and top to bottom. One could spend hours here gazing at and photographing the numerous objects and forms of ecclesiastic art. Having done so and turning to leave, I noticed an unpretentious composition, sitting in the middle of the floor, that seemed out of place in this showcase church of elegance, ornamentation and artistic excess.
On second thought, maybe it was the only thing that was in the right place…
oil candle Kefalonia

A battered wooden bench, not a fancy hand-carved stool, serving as a resting hub for a makeshift oil candle which defiantly claimed its place among the exquisite chandeliers and bronze candle holders. A simple household glass, not a tiffany or crystal utensil, held the olive oil, an aromatic beeswax candle -used to reach and light the wick - rested on the side, both atop a simple – though a bit inappropriate in design – serving tray so as to protect the old bench from possible oil stains! And this simple but genuinely beautiful composition competed on an equal basis with the geometric pattern of the traditional floor tiles.
Indeed, this is by far my favorite and most memorable image of this Kefalonian attraction and one that alleviates my guilt for overly showcasing the obvious.

But habits are hard to break, so here’s the rest of that obvious…
St. Nicholas Church, Svoronata Kefalonia
*note: According to Greek Orthodox tradition, St. Nicholas is the patron of seamen. Folklore abounds with accounts of seamen being pulled out and saved from shipwrecks by the Saint. This belief is clearly depicted in the iconography of any church dedicated to him. Seamen who leave for the faraway seas and those who attribute their safe return to the Saint, often dedicate items in gratitude. Aside from icons, popular dedications include replicas of ships. Some of these replicas are intricate and beautiful works of art, such as the ship replica on the left bottom of the image composition.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


If there was such a scale, September would score high on the unpredictability index. On an island that could serve as an accurate definition of contrast and unpredictable disposition, this seems almost redundant. Sailing in Kefalonia But, on second thought, Kefalonia itself is redundant - too much blue, too much green, too many beaches, too many cliffs,  too much sky, way too many images to process.
Speaking of images, if I were to dump all the images I’ve gathered over the years – an immense task, I assure you – into an unlabeled folder, I would not be able to pick out those taken in September. And that is just the  images captured by the camera. The images engraved in my mind would have to wait for that digital measurement that will replace the terabyte. 
September is a little bit of everything.
Sailing the Kefalonia-Ithaca ChannelIt can have the bright colors of April, the dewy beauty of May, the awesomeness of June, the heat of July and August, the rain and thunderstorms of October, or the laid back indulgence of November. And it does have them all in a daily change of mood that is often hard to keep up with. Above all, September is impish, mischievous, a real rascal. Just when you thought you would enjoy the beach, free of the August crowds, the sound of rolling thunder reminds you that, even in this corner of the world, the calendar demands respect. But don’t be quick to pack away your flip-flops and beach towel. More likely than not, tomorrow will be a gorgeous day for the beach. So ease back and wait for the rascal’s temper tantrum to pass. Like most rascals, September really does have a heart of gold once you get to know him!Argostoli Lighthouse
Easing back does not by any means imply that you must stay indoors until the storm is over. Personally, I always alleviated my “pain” by taking a drive to the Lighthouse and focusing – digitally and mentally – on the rain that seemed to wash away the lingering sins of naughty August.
Lithero Beach, Kefalonia
But that is not all. September adds a “bonus track” in an effort to make up for its momentary wickedness. Aside from March, this is the best time of year to photograph Kefalonia’s stunning landscape as the rain also washes away the dust and heat of hardcore summer and renders all colors to their natural, basic hues. It adds slanted sun rays to highlight the turquoise among other blues, whitecaps to emphasize the predominance of the northwestern winds, and long shadows to mark the shift of the sun’s position in the horizon. Skies in layered gray and seas in light strips of turquoise is all any lens ever needs to be happy!Trapezaki Beach, Kefalonia
And there is always September the Imitator! Trying to pass as April or June and being really good at it. Like this:Makris Gialos, Kefalonia
Of course, there are those who have no interest in photographing the whims of the island or the month. They know that Kefalonia’s soft summer has just begun and prefer diving in to get the inside story instead of collecting digital accounts.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Before the ink had a chance to dry (*) on the first photo stories I prepared for the KefaloniaWorld e-Magazine, the unrelenting dilemma surfaced. What do I include and what do I leave out? Despite the plethora of images available as a result of years' worth of roaming on Kefalonia with a camera strapped around my neck, the problem is not quantitative but qualitative. Take sunsets, for example, as I have hundreds of such images that I could use. Some of my "better" sunset images - photographically wise - do not mean that much to me. There, I've said it! Let me explain. Sometimes I went about it with a purpose in mind, correct settings on the camera, time to spare and after having consciously picked the location and time so it'd be advantageous in terms of light and sky conditions. So, I do have heaps of "semi-correct" (**) sundown images. On the other hand, sometimes I was just impelled to point the camera at the horizon and snap. Without addressing suitability of lens, settings or position. But Kefalonia does that. You may be on the road driving or occupied photographing sea shells and if you lift or divert your glance from the task at hand you are overwhelmed by colors, shapes and light formations that developed while your attention was focused elsewhere. Then you act on feeling and instinct rather than on plan. And although the images that result are not picture-perfect, they are loaded with memories of those moments and stories that are hard to put into words. Like these outtakes... which will probably never make it to be featured on the site as I'll keep them to share here.
Kefalonia sunset, Dias Islet, Avythos
Sunset over Dias Islet, Kefalonia
Photo above was taken from Avythos Beach on an afternoon dedicated to collecting pebbles and sea shells since the approaching sunset and sky seemed to be dull, monochromatic and otherwise uninteresting.
Kefalonia sunset from Gradakia, Paliki Peninsula
Sunset over Paliki Peninsula
Photo above was taken from Gradakia Beach, while in the car listening to music and daydreaming to pass the time till the full moon became visible in the sky.
Sunset over Livatho, Kefalonia
Sunset over Livatho
Eyes on the road! That is the wise thing to do if you're driving on the Poros-Argostoli road, and not just in the afternoon! But as you drive through the villages of Simotata and Vlahata, you always should be prepared - for me that translates into quick recollection of all possible widenings and clearings along the road and camera on the passenger seat - regardless of lens or settings as the Kefalonian light will do all the exposure compensation ever required.

(*)  Although old enough to have actually used plain  paper and ink, I do really mean "before I could save the .doc file on my computer screen" - but it just doesn't look and sound as good as ink drying on the page!
(**) I will never aspire for more than "semi-correct" - lest I fall into the popular trap of shooting or post processing photos to such correctness that they no longer resemble the island. You know what I mean ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


OR PEBBLES... whichever you prefer.
Fact is, I need to complete the puzzle for the KefaloniaWorld Site.
Although it is pretty much mapped out in terms of content, your input in filling in the blanks is needed and appreciated. Besides, I think it will be much more fun if we complete this project together.
Putting the KefaloniaWorld site together using authentic materials

The goal is to build an e-magazine for the English speaking world community of "Kefalonians."
The "Kefalonian e-nation" includes all those who have a relationship with the island of Kefalonia by birth, ancestry, heritage, marriage, residence, love, or inclination!
So there you have it.
a cicada in Kefalonia
Kefalonian Cicada

And this is where you come in! In music I've always preferred bands to solo artists. All those lazy afternoons in Kefalonia, I've often found the sound of a single cicada on a tree by my window discordant or even annoying, while the noisy chatter of many of these little critters sounded like the best conducted orchestra in the world.  To get this e-magazine off the ground properly, I need the wings and buzz of many cicadas.
Use the comments section below or e-mail me and tell me your story. Tell me what you do, maybe others want to network with you. Tell me how you spend your time in Kefalonia, why you keep going back, what special memories you have there. And by all means send photos to accompany your story. If you are second, third + generation Kefalonian, share your family history, your experiences and tell me what you do if you wish to be included in the "Kefalonians in Focus" section. (tentative name).
Tell me about "the first time" and about the renewal of your vows of love with the island. Recommend books, videos, etc., or a special experience you or someone you know has had that might be worth writing about to share with others. If you engage in a hobby, art or craft involving or inspired by Kefalonia, please tell me about it. If you are seeking your Kefalonian roots, tell us your story and maybe one of your fellow readers can help you get your eureka! moment. Or, if you have found your island roots, share the experience. Anything you think has a place or should be featured on this e-magazine. (see notes below)
I did try to think of an "incentive plan" for this call for assistance but could not come up with anything viable and with broad appeal. But I cannot resist aiming a small bribe your way: depending on the response, I may be convinced to reveal the exact location of my gestalt rock!
1. Every orchestra needs a conductor. Therefore, I will be making the final decision on the material: what goes into the e-magazine as well as how extensive the coverage of the stories chosen will be. I do believe, though, that my cherished and honest relationship with all of you on this blog entitles me to request that you trust my judgement as the head cicada!
2. Please do not spam my e-mail or comment box below with hidden commercial links, etc
3.The cicada connection is fully attributed and credited to my favorite Kefalonian author!

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Kefalonia Camomile (chamomile) Tea
Kefalonian Camomile Tea
We've been down this road before. After each hiatus in writing, I renew my intention to keep up with regular posting. But you know what they say about the best intentions....
This blog is not, and never intended to be, a writing venture. It was more like a love child, a celebration of the bond I have with my tiny birthplace. As with every love and every celebration, circumstances, feelings, forces beyond our control do sometimes alter our mood and disposition. Obviously, it hasn't been as easy to maintain the daily pace and momentum since I no longer live in Kefalonia and have to now rely on my accumulated photo collection - extensive as that is - and my memories - vivid as they are. If that wasn't enough, the earthquakes earlier this year devastated my morale on a number of fronts. I am not one to sugarcoat hard facts and I honestly was not sure if it was right to keep posting about the beauty and side sweep the devastation. Last, but far from least, the daily routine, the long New York winter, and involvement in several writing projects left me without much energy to write in the fashion I usually do on this blog. So, I did not.
BUT, with life returning to normal on the island and my other projects falling into place, I've decided that it's time to move on, to heal, and TO RENEW AND EXPAND.
Kefalonia World over the next few weeks will become a full-fledged website on For all English-speaking "Kefalonians" everywhere. This here blog will remain my personal refuge and place of carefree expression. (More info coming up soon along with my definition of "Kefalonians" Winking Emoticon )
Thank you for keeping up with the blog while I haven't - this has been instrumental in my decision to resume and expand. Check back in!
Note: Why the photo of camomile tea? For those who are not familiar with this perennial herb, here is some basic info that will make you understand. The name camomile (or chamomile) comes from two Greek words ("hamilos" meaning low or close to the ground, and "milo" meaning apple) and describes the herb that grows close to the ground and its infusion smells a lot like apples. It has been used for centuries in Greece as a cure-all remedy due to its calming and healing effects. It tastes pretty good too! So there, now you have the connection...

Monday, January 27, 2014


Kefalonia Earthquake 2014
Beyond words...
January 26, 2014... the earth moved again, violently and relentlessly...
This is not the way I intended to resume the blog in the new year...
Nor did I ever imagine in August that I'd have to write about it it before the next anniversary...
The "event" is still "in progress" and the information a bit overwhelming to process...
I don't think... I feel...
But, I've touched and I've seen... all of it...
And that's a lot more than could reasonably be expected in a lifetime...

All will be OK again in Kefalonia
 ...if for no other reason than to resume its mission of lending beauty to more lives and defining more lifetimes...

Friday, November 15, 2013


It started in August of 2011.
But it didn't start with a kiss, the kisses and hugs came much later! It all started with a message in my FB inbox: 
"Hi Eleni - hope you don't mind me sending you this but I've just been reading your Kefalonia World! My husband and I have been going to Katelios for 20 years now - every summer without fail! We love your island! ... I just wanted to say I enjoyed your May blog after coming home to UK and rain yesterday!"
Sunrise over Katelios, Kefalonia
Sunrise over Katelios, Kefalonia

Sunrise over Katelios as seen from Markopoulo, Kefalonia
Sunrise over Katelios as seen from Markopoulo, Kefalonia
 It was a message from Pam, a lady who had stumbled upon this blog and wanted to let me know that she enjoyed it. I accepted that friendship request and the rest, as they say, is history. Eventually, I became FB friends with Graham, her husband, as well. I was still living in Kefalonia at the time and after several virtual exchanges, we were to finally meet in the summer of 2012 when they were to - once again - visit the island. However, I relocated to New York in the spring of that year and the meeting never took place. In October of 2012, Pam and Graham visited New York and we renewed our plans to get together. Well, you know what they say about "the best laid plans of mice and men.." Hurricane Sandy decided to put a damper on those plans (pun intended). They were stranded in Manhattan and I was keeping my head above water out in Long Island. After surviving dangling cranes, submerged subways, and an emergency evacuation from their hotel, my - still - virtual friends finally made their way back to England. Plans postponed once again. October 2013 rolled around. Pam and Graham were to visit again, and we made plans once again. We were determined - but so were the elements of Nature! St. Jude, a long lost cousin of our lady Sandy, made his way to the other side of the big pond this time. Fortunately, Pam and Graham's flight managed to take off before the storm became nasty, and we FINALLY got to meet in Manhattan!
I will stop the story here and let the images speak for themselves. Anything else would be an OXYMORON - but that's an inside joke that I couldn't even start to explain in this limited space.
Suffice it to say that this is the first time I post photos on this blog that were not taken in Kefalonia.
But I think you'll understand...

Finally! Only a red light and the pavement of W 59th St.- Central Park South between us
Pam and Graham - from virtual to real friends
New York this time, Katelios next time?
 P.S. I'm overjoyed and proud of the fact that this blog is about so much more than page views and all those numbers on Google Analytics. It's about views of cherished places, colors, sunrises, sunsets and the feelings they evoke - shared with those who understand.
And Pam 'n Graham understand... just like Emma 'n Neal and Lynn 'n Andy do.
I feel fortunate in knowing each one of them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Making the connection between a water drop quietly slipping off an acorn of a Mediterranean oak, water cascading with disproportionate noise from a small "fall" in Kefalonia, freshly plowed fields at Omala Valley, and assuming the responsibility of creating and editing a new magazine may seem far fetched. But, rather than confusing you further, let me explain.

holm oak in Kefalonia
Mediterranean (Holm) Oak
I just completed the flatplan of a new magazine, a project that was entrusted to me to design, develop, and eventually manage as editor-in-chief. The first part of the project having been completed, I could think of no other way to announce it than through this blog. True, the magazine will be published in the U.S. and will not involve Kefalonia (at least, not directly). But everything I do has the same pivot point of inspiration - so, there you have it, that is the connection.
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
 Figuratively speaking, the connection is deeper. A drop (the original idea), millions of drops flowing (the little things coming together), the plowed field (the hours of planning in the hope for reaping the result), I truly cannot but assign and relate every step of the way to an object, a place, or an event of the core and source of any inspiration I'm blessed with. Simply put, it's the river that fills the pool of creativity that I need in order to be able to go anywhere with this ambitious, exciting and - at times - overwhelming project.
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
A good two to three months of long hours and hard work is surely in store for me before I can come back and share with you the finished project. But I wanted to share this now and HERE.
Omala Valley, Kefalonia
Omala Valley, Kefalonia
Omala Valley, Kefalonia
Omala Valley, Kefalonia

Of course, things are still kind of "hush-hush" and I cannot divulge as much detail yet as I would like to. Bear with me!
I promise not to disappoint.

As for the this blog, well... I have some news on that front too. By the end of the year, it will have company! But, I don't want to spoil the surprise.
Hope you stay around.....

Speaking of HOPE, when I made the last post, I promised my friend Elpida - her name means Hope in Greek - that the next post would be about a place very special to her. It was a promise I did not keep and I apologize for that. But, I will remedy this very soon :)

P.S. This post includes a previously uploaded image. Couldn't help it, it popped to mind on its own when "connecting the unconnected."

Friday, September 27, 2013


Fall in Kefalonia - Avythos Beach
Avythos Beach, Kefalonia
Some are subtle, while others stare you in the face. Some are more colorful than others. Regardless of their discretion, or lack of, the signs of the transition from summer to fall are everywhere. The sunlight has a diffused, slightly orange cast; the sea tries out the deeper shades of the blue palette; the sky is a bit more decisive in color as the temperatures dip, eliminating the summer haze; the beach is reclaimed by its natural inhabitants - pebbles, seaweed, and the white froth of bolder waves; and, sun-scorched rocks get to finally quench their thirst as the first fall springs begin to timidly let their waters flow to meet the sea, forming tiny cascades over green plants in doing so.

It's a natural slowdown, a change of gears - not a reversal. This replenishing and welcome repose for nature signals the beginning of the season that - while introvert in character - has a surprisingly stunning palette of its own. A bit more muted, perhaps, but certainly more varied.

'Tis the time to recompose and bask in the ever present, still warm - but less aggressive - sunlight.

Fall in Kefalonia - Agios Thomas, Karavados
Agios Thomas, Karavados
Fall in Kefalonia - Antisamos Beach
Antisamos Beach, Kefalonia
Fall in Kefalonia - Avythos Beach

And, if the calm sea and deceivingly blue skies lull you into thinking that it's still summer, the chrysanthemums everywhere will certainly remind you that it is not....

Xenopoulo, Kefalonia

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Somewhere along the southern shores of Kefalonia. Look for it!
Take a quick look at the images and answer the question!
(no cheating, please - just say the very first thing that comes to mind)
What do you see in the first image? Is it a seal, a dog, a dolphin, an eagle, or something else?
What about the second image? Is it a dog's paw, an elephant's foot, or something else?
Do you see a wimpy cloud or an eagle taking off in the third image?

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
From Myrtos to Assos, or vice versa!

I'm sure that most of us have had these "eureka" kind of flashes. You know, that "cry of joy or satisfaction when one finds or discovers something." I have the most vivid memories of those "splats" of the Rorschach evaluation method that seemed so ridiculous at first, back in college. A person's reaction or response to these ambiguous forms was supposed to reveal significant information for the evaluation of his/her personality and perceptions. On the other hand, Gestalt theory - and all its sub theories of grouping, similarity,proximity, emergence, symmetry, closure e.t.c. - was the hottest topic in management, marketing and behavioral psychology lecture halls. After all, it did make a difference - or so it was claimed - if a person saw an old lady rather than a young girl depicted in the drawing being passed around. Or, seeing a circle in an incomplete arc, or, a square in four incomplete perpendicular lines! Of course, as diligent students, we memorized all the pertinent facts: the human eye "sees and perceives objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts" and our senses do have the "form-generating capability" to fill the gaps in information presented. When applied to stimuli in the environment, this simply means that we understand them as a whole rather than the sums of their parts. And this "whole" is greater than the sum of its parts. Sounds very scientific, doesn't it? I'm pretty sure that most of us, at that tender age, wondered how in the name of heavens would all this ever be applicable to anything in the real world. Well, speaking for myself, I finally do see the light! 
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Storms and birds of prey over Sissia Monastery
Sometimes, though, all this science comes down to seeing with the eyes of the heart. AND SPEAKING OF HEARTS...

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Mt. Aenos' misty heart
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Snow-capped Mt. Aenos as seen from Xenopoulo, Kefalonia

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Sunrise over Poros from Xenopoulo, Kefalonia

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
The smooth curves forming Poros Ravine as seen from Xenopoulo, Kefalonia
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
A grafting cut or a message on this walnut tree?
And, I've learned to decipher the natural ink blots in the Kefalonian sky in a way that would blow my professor's mind: IT ALL DEPENDS!!!
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
An aging Greek God looking down on Kefalonia, a vagabond heart, or just a cloud?
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Is that an old witch with its back to the Livatho skyline, or a black sheep trying to find its way back home?
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
A happy poodle following a camel, with both flying over Vardiani Islet? Or, do I need to have my head examined?
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
At last! An ink blot with only one interpretation: Just another majestic sunset at Avythos Beach!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Vlahata, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Erissos, Kefalonia
It seems inappropriate for someone born after August of 1953 to write about the most devastating time for Kefalonia - not to mention the risk of sounding superficial. I have carefully avoided writing about the massive earthquakes that literally destroyed the island, as I was not around at the time. Not that there haven't been first hand accounts - on the contrary, I've had plenty. My parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, they all have relayed detailed stories of their personal encounter with the force that made the earth roar and heave again and again, until everything was reduced to piles of ruins, clouds of dust, heaps of pain and unending streams of tears. Every single account of the horror begins the same way: "... I remember exactly where I was when the earth started to shake..." And they all end their narrative with a list of names of  loved ones or neighbors who were buried in the rubble, or were rescued from under it as if by miracle. No family was spared, although some suffered losses far greater than the destruction of property. The hundreds of lives lost remain a perpetually open wound for the survivors, long after the homes and buildings and towns were reconstructed.

>>> 60 YEARS LATER <<<

Today, on the anniversary of the huge earthquake that caused more than ceilings to collapse and walls to crumble, I feel compelled to write about it - for the first time. I cannot write about the people who were lost, as my immediate family did not lose any members in the destruction. But I can share with you some representative remnants of the beauty that was wiped out in a few seconds. Remnants of another time and another world, which to this day emerge here and there - defying gravity and the relentless passage of time - as reminders of resistance to hardships, and, triumph in the face of the ultimate adversity. And, of course, as non designated but genuine memorials to all those souls who perished. 

Pre earthquake Kefalonia
St. Spyridon at Kastro, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Pessada, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Sissia Monastery, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Pylaros, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
The Archangels Church at Old Valsamata Village, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Pessada, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Ruins of the Dimitratos family cluster of homes at Xenopoulo, Kefalonia
Nowadays, our own DAISY FACTORY