Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lefkada ~ Let the Greek island hop begin!

We must go and see for ourselves.
   -- Jacques Cousteau

As I wrote last week,when we set off on our Greek island-hopping road trip, we ‘knew better'. We knew we’d be part of the tourist masses swarming to the Greek islands in August. In our case we were heading north to Lefkada, (lef-KAH-dah) also known as Lefkas, in the Ionian Sea.

We did find ourselves among throngs of tourists but it wasn’t so bad at all. . .in fact the pulsating, vibrant Lefkada town was just the shot of city life I’d been seeking.

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Havana Club - Lefkada town
But if you are in search of quaint Greek fishing boats and blue and white painted tavernas with octopus drying out front, this might not be the place for you.

In our case (as much as we love all-things-Greek) we are discovering that sometimes we need a break from all those Greek things. This town, with its distinctly Caribbean colors and a surprising number of bars offering a Mojito as the drink of the day, gave us that needed change of scenery.

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The colors in Lefkada town were invigorating
The place also had a distinct Italian ambiance with a number of stores offering Italian made products – from Murano glass items and Italian leather goods to clothing.  (Its history, like so much of Greece, includes Italian occupation.) The bridge at the lagoon even looked like something right out of Venice – complete with selfie-taking tourists crowding onto it.

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Bridge of Sighs - good sighs, that is - Lefkada town
“But, of course” (our favorite catch-phrase in Greece), there were plenty of tourist shops offering all sorts of Greek souvenirs, and plenty of Mediterranean cafes with menus that looked distinctly Greek.

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Toe-tapping street musicians entertained nightly
Since most sun-seekers on Lefkada headed to the beach during the day, we had plenty of walking and shopping space in which to explore the town of some 9,000 residents. Then when evening rolled around the city’s pulse quickened as tourists and locals turned out in force and there was a street party feel everywhere we went.

(And we did stroll because most of the main streets in the historic center of town were closed to vehicular traffic in the evenings – a very nice and wise touch!)

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Captivating carousel - Lefkada town
A musical group entertained near one plaza while a few blocks away, a merry-go-round that reminded us of one we’d seen in Florence, Italy enchanted kids of all ages.

Earthquake Memories!

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Corrugated metal siding - Lefkada town
Lefkada island suffered damage back in the1953 Ionian Earthquake that leveled the capital city of nearby Zakynthos island and literally raised the island of Kefalonia 24 inches, according to accounts of the catastrophic event.

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Sidewalls of metal to protect against earthquake damage - Lefkada town
So many of the wooden homes in the heart of – now, ‘historic’ – Lefkada town were damaged in the quake that as a safeguard against future seismic activity wood-sided homes and businesses now sport corrugated metal siding which only added to the Caribbean look and feel of the place.

But why Lefkada? A Room With a View

As the The Scout  was plotting out where our summer travels might take us, he happened upon a hotel in Lefkada, the Hotel Boschetto. The more we read about it, the more we wanted to stay there. And to stay there, we had to go to the island! (That is sometimes how easy our travel destination selection can be.)

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Hotel Boschetto - Lefkada town
Boschetto, we were told by one of two Greek brothers who own the place, is Italian for ‘small garden’ and was once the name of the area in which the hotel is located. All that remains today is a small fenced the garden in front of the hotel, which is housed in a building that once sold oil from its street level and upper floors served as the home of Anthonis Tzevelekis, a well-liked civic leader and founder of the island’s popular summer folklore festival.

The International Folklore Festival of Lefkada has grown so large that if you plan to attend, reservations for hotels must be secured months in advance.

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A room to remember at Hotel Boschetto - Lefkada town 
We booked the Junior Suite at the very top of the building for a rate of 145 euros a night. Each morning a waitress from the restaurant below brought coffee to our room and then we dined on a full  breakfast (included in the room rate) on the street level.

For those of you who like to compare prices, the rate is equivalent to $168US. To put the price in perspective a room with sitting area at the Fairfield Inn in my hometown of Yakima WA costs $204 a night in August – and offers a parking lot view, serve yourself continental breakfast and no room service.

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Evening in August in Lefkada
The hotel which has been in operation for two decades really was the pull to get to get us to Lefkada. It is definitely a reason to return to the island that sits off the west coast of mainland Greece in the Ionian Sea.

And we will need to return as two full days didn’t give us enough time to visit the traditional Greek villages tucked away in the mountains nor to explore the many beaches that ring the island.

If you missed the part about how we got here; here’s last week’s post: Island hopping road trip

Our next stop is the island of Zakynthos, or by its Italian name, Zante, to the south. Hope you’ll join us next week when we tell you how we made lemonade out of a lemon of a stop there.

Thanks as always for the time you spent with us today and until we are together again, safe travels to you and yours ~

Linking with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend

20 comments:

  1. I have gone to destinations before solely because I wanted to stay in the accommodation. I think it's a great idea! I know what you mean about wanting something different to your now "normal" greekness.

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    1. Well, it certainly does put a different perspective on it. And we've usually not been disappointed when using that means as our compass! Glad you understand that sometimes another serving of olive oil and oregano, just isn't going to do it!! ;-)

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  2. I love the bright colors...such a fun country. I've been to places just to stay in a certain hotel or bed and breakfast...Mr. Sweet thought that was so weird...but, he also thought it strange to choose a paint color because of it's cute name...LOL

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    1. I thought you might like these colors as well, BJ. Joel sometimes hates it when I want to buy a certain wine because it has a 'cute picture' on the label! Oh we women!!

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  3. Love it and I can definitely understand why you'd want to return to explore more of the area. And experiencing a blend of cultures only adds to the experience. Bring on the mojitos!

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    1. Well there was a lot to see and sadly during the height of the season probably wasn't the time to set out to do that. . .but hopefully there'll be another time one day! Thanks for stopping by Anita!!

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  4. Lefkas looks like such a cool place! The hotel looks so pretty and the views very nice indeed. I can understand why you liked it and want to go back. Oh yeah..alcohol! :-)

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    1. You know me well already, Kemkem! Nice hotel and too many drinks I want to sample. . .and I need a bit of time to sample them all!!

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  5. I hadn't heard of Lefkada but enjoyed learning more about it! You are able to explore all the little known (at least to me...) Greek islands and I envy you! The folklore festival would be a great time for a return visit!

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    1. We find it fun to see these islands crawling with tourists (just like Mykonos and Santorini) but they are from Asia, Central and Northern Europe for the most part. We just did a road trip last week where we met French, German, and Italian fellow tourists but we were the novelty -- they just don't see Americans off the beaten tourist track that Americans seem to stay on. Way too funny! Thanks for stopping by Debbra!

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  6. I love the way one little find like Hotel Boschetto can determine the course of travels. Lefkada sounds like a lot of fun.

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    1. It is almost the tipping point of travel isn't it? One little thing plants a seed and the itinerary planning begins. Thanks for stopping by Kristin!

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  7. I love the Greek islands and while I've never been to this one, it looks charming.

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    1. It is - even with the thousands of tourists who'd headed there for August! Thanks for the visit Michelle!

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  8. I agree that, however much you love a place, it's always good to have a bit of change of environment. It's interesting that Lefkada has a bit of an Italian feel - that reminds me of Nafplio on the Peloponnese.

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    1. Most definitely like Nafplio! I am reading about World War II and the Italians occupied the Ionian islands so I guess I shouldn't be surprised between that occupation and the Venetian conquests to have such an Italian flavor! Thanks for the comment Karen!

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  9. Greece is on my list. I have been, but Tom has not so I want to go back, but not in August. I love the sound of Lefkada. I was not familiar with Lefkada. It does look like a beach town, which is a draw for me especially off season. I can see why Hotel Boschetto attracted you.

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    1. Weather wise late spring and early fall are the perfect times to visit Greece. August next year I think we will head to the hills or just stay put on the one we live on. Thanks much Wendy for stopping by.

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  10. Admittedly I have never been to Greece, but every time I read your articles I am reminded that I really need to get in gear! Lefkada -- even in August with the crowds you mentioned -- looks amazing!

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