Harmony and Melody in Lefkada – the Violitzis Villas

11.07.2015

view from violitzis

Pa – li – o – ka – tou – na.  Paliokatouna – it’s such a great word.  It means, roughly translated, ‘old shack’ and refers to the rough, small houses which were built by Greeks amongst their agricultural land.  It’s meant to be a place to lay your head while you tend your land.  The Violitzis villas are found just above Paliokatouna, but they are definitely not just a place to lay your head.  Or a rough small house.

As I wonder from room to room I can confirm that the villas are beautiful.  But it’s the view that’s got me.  I can’t speak. My eyes just can’t drink enough of it in.  A lush green hillside is spread out below me all the way down to the sea, interrupted (tastefully) by the cluster of buildings that is Nidri (the nearest resort).  The sea is the deepest blue.  Now its silver, now its navy.  And floating in this ever changing sea of colour is a cluster of islands so close I am sure I could swim to all of them.  One of them is the famous Scorpios, once owned by Aristotle Onassis.

It’s like being suspended in time.  Everything stops, except for the birds flying in arcs and riding the thermals to and from the trees to my left.  It’s quite a show.  Now and then the melodic dong of a goats bell drifts in on the breeze.  I’m hypnotized.  I can’t move.  I don’t want to move.

My catatonic rapture is broken only by a need for food.  We don’t need to go far as there is a small taverna in the village below.  ‘Dimitri’s’ offers a simple but hearty menu of Greek dishes.  We tuck in to a feast of succulent pork chops and delicious courgettes.  We wash it down with a locally produced, full flavoured red from ‘Lefkaditiki Yi’, and are soon sharing it over conversation with the couple on the table next to us.  They have been coming back to Lefkada for four years and are regulars at the taverna.

‘It doesn’t matter what you eat or drink,’ they tell me, ‘its always a tenner a head’.  As we are waiting to pay our bill, there is a big family group also about to pay.  Dimitri adds up their bill and it comes to 176 euros.  I count the people at their table, they are 16. ‘But you give me 160 euros’ Dimitri smiles, slapping the patriarch on the shoulder as he counts out his euros.  And sure enough, despite several plates of food and a lovely bottle of quality wine, our bill also comes to  – 27 euros.  ‘But 20 euros is ok’ smiles Dimitri.

We head on down to Nidri and walk along the waterfront promenade, checking out the boat trips on offer and admiring the yachts.  By evening the resort slowly starts to buzz and fizz as the waterfront cafes and bars start to fill up.  It’s a nice vibe, but its wonderful to get back up to the Violitsis Villa and survey our temporary kingdom from such a majestic viewpoint.  And the peace and stillness is wonderful.

Over the next few days we intersperse wanton laziness around the pool with eager exploration.  Lefkada is famous for its beaches on the other side of the island, such as Porto Katsiki, Egremni and Kathisma.  But there are also a handful of lovely ones close by, such as Micros Yialos and Dessimi.  Driving around the island is easy due to its size, its natural beauty make the journey as amazing as the destination.  I love the way we come across little hamlets every 10 minutes or so and in between is a vista of green, punctuated by obelisk-like cypress trees.

We ventured up to Karya to hear the story of how Lefkada’s famous embroidery came to be.  An intriguing tale of a one handed woman, ‘Koutosoheri Maria’, who developed an embroidery stitch perfect on both sides.  An interesting tale of resourcefulness against adversity.

Closer to home we explore the cool gorge and waterfall of Dimosari.  And while looking for a beach in Geni (there isn’t one) we come across a path which we couldn’t resist following.  After a good walk and the discovery of the tomb of German archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld we came to the little church of Aghia Kyriaki, which we can clearly see from the villa.

Our sightseeing and sunbathing thirst is quenched.  So time for some retail therapy.  We venture into the town of Lefkada. An array of shops lines the pedestrianized street (except for the bicycles – Greeks gone green).  The atmosphere is really laid back which I put down to the influence of the sailing crowd combined with natural Greek chilled-ness.  We are still stuffed from our lunch of Riganada, lentil salad and goats cheese, but we somehow manage a huge baklava and local ice cream in the name of research.

We have seen beauty at every turn on this island.  As the sun sinks on the reflections in the harbor we also reflect on our stay in Lefkada..  The landscape has beauty beyond words and the people are as warm as the sun on your face.  And I like that we lay our heads up in ‘Paliokatouna’ in a beautiful house where the local people tend to their tourism with as much diligence and care as they once did to there agriculture.

 

Crystal clear waters at Aghia Nikitas.

Crystal clear waters at Aghia Nikitas.

Violitsis villas are 2 villas, Villa Melodia a 2 bedroomed villa and villa Harmonia a 3 bedroomed villa.  They both have private pools and did I mention the view? We visited in May 2015.  You can see the full details of the villas here.

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