On our final day on Paxos we awoke to bright sunshine, the perfect weather to ride the bike around Paxos. Antigoni had warned us about olives on the road being slippery but we couldn’t believe how hard it was manoeuvring the bike around where we’d parked it under an olive tree. It was almost impossible to get traction in my boots to pull it backwards, so with Michele pulling on the back of the bike we finally moved her onto the driveway.
We headed to Cafe Neo for coffee and say farewell to Antigoni, who also called the ferry company to check if the Paxos to Igoumenitsa ferry was running.
After saying goodbye we headed to Lakka and to Longos following the coastal road. Along the way we stopped off at the various beaches taking a last look at the beautiful island as we made our way towards Gaios.
We took a last spin around Gaios checking out the beautiful buildings overlooking the bay before heading to the port. The 1 pm ferry from Paxos to Igoumenitsa arrived on time and after strapping the bike down we headed up to the cabin. We’ve been surprised how well stocked with food and drinks the inter island ferries have been. After arriving in Igoumenitsa we quickly headed to the bike and after in strapping it were one of the first off the ferry.
The trip from Paxos to Lefkada was fairly quick as the roads along the coast are quite good. The weather was almost perfect as the road followed along the coast. It was so nice we stopped off along the coast for a coffee overlooking the beach. At Preveza we used the tunnel and passed under the bay emerging not far from the airport. The road around the airport was woeful with the surface of the road missing huge chunks of asphalt. Eventually we made it to Lefkada and were surprised with the landscape.
Lefkada is actually an island connected by a causeway and a floating bridge. At the beginning of the causeway stands the Santa Maura Castle from the 14th century. Along the edge of the causeway tour boats stand idle waiting for the tourist season. Riding into Lefkada we discovered the town was a lot larger than we first imagined. There were roadblocks in place and we soon realised we’d arrived on carnival. Lots of people were drifting into the city dressed in all sorts of costumes.
We were staying out of the city so we headed out to Nikiana. It took us a a little while to find the apartment as we were using written instructions. Eventually we spotted the sign and were pulling into the carpark. The owner came out and welcomed us with home made red wine. It was a great room with views across ancient olive trees, lemons and vegetable gardens. After stashing our gear we headed back into Lefkada.
Lefkada was crazy when we rode into the city. After parking the bike we made our way past the last carnival groups forming up, and managed to score a shish kebab they were cooking on the back of the float ( Michele’s was envious).
We headed down the centre of the street dodging around floats and dancers trying to head towards the centre of the city. Eventually after trying to cut through the crowds we took a detour around a few side streets and found a spot to watch the parade.
The Lefkada Carnival seemed a lot more risqué than Rijecka Carnival and one act really caught our eye. A moustachioed guy in a cardboard box with long blonde locks and a purple hat suddenly emerged from the box dressed in a lovely short purple lace dress. He really hammed it up for the cheering crowds dancing, gyrating, lifting his delicate lace dress to show his knickers for all and sundry to see before returning to the box. It was an absolute scream, sadly no photos came out)
With massive speakers pumping out dance music and all the carnivalers blowing whistles a pair of earmuffs wouldn’t have gone astray. My word, it was loud. As waif like maidens danced whilst blowing whistles, ancient Greek soldiers bashed their spears on their shields, and their giant catapult fired confetti over the people lining the streets. What a spectacle.
After carnival, finding somewhere to eat was a nightmare. Every restaurant and cafe was packed with people. Eventually we found a souvlaki shop and witnessed one of the finest displays of assembly of a souvlaki. It was like a work of art as the chef deftly put all the ingredients together before wrapping it with a quick flick of the wrist.
It was pretty late as we headed back to the apartment. Along the way we passed various floats being driven or towed home. As it was our second late night in a row we just fell into our beds. Tomorrow we’re going to explore the island of Lefkada so we are looking forward to a big nights sleep.