It stormed in the middle of the night, cleansing the air so that today feels fresh as opposed to the usual 32 degree, muggy heat. It’s actually breathable.
We dive right in to our day of tourist activities by driving to the Drogarati cave.
We pay 5€ for entry and start our descent down a steep set of zigzagging stairways. We’re surrounded by tourists from a couple different nationalities, but I overhear a French woman tell her friends “there are lots of Greek people here so you know it’s going to be good”.
I haven’t been to a ton of caves, but I find them really interesting. The world is a weird place. Why does this giant hole in a rock just exist? Who decided it was a good idea to come down here and find it?
Stalactites hang from all over, releasing the occasional drop of water down onto unsuspecting visitors’ heads. A pathway has been paved and some lights have been installed, but it’s very tastefully done, unlike the multi coloured party lights I remember illuminating the cave in Ha Long Bay.
There is a big empty open space at the back of the cave, where they sometimes hold concerts. How rad! I want to go to a cave concert! New bucket list item.
The day has grown quite hot again, despite how cool it was this morning. I forget how melty it is until we’re climbing out of the cave and are hit with a wall of humid heat. It was so nice down there! Take me back! But there’s no time. On to the next one.
The Melissani Cave, which I’m almost certain you’ve seen photos of on Instagram recently, is just 5 minutes from Drogarati.
We, and many of the same cars we saw parked at the last cave, head over to tour the underground lake. When we pull into the parking lot, we see an OFFENSIVE amount of coach tour busses. Like easily 6 or more. That’s at least 300 people. Plus the small groups like us. There is a line up around the corner, and I estimate we’ll be waiting a minimum of an hour. Maybe 2. Maybe more. Hell. Nah. I hate lines, and we’ve got stuff to do!! Places to go and things to see! We decide to come back later and hope it’s less of a zoo.
Instead we drive up to the North of the island to Myrtos beach. True to what you’d expect from the beautiful Greek islands, Myrtos is another blue-hued dream. My temporary family posts up on the beach, but I’m more drawn to the far end of the shore, where there are no people in sight. I go for a walk and maneuver my way through the rocky shore to a boulder where I can sit on my own and watch the waves crashing. I can’t fathom why no one else is out here, but similar to the caves in Zakynthos, I’m happy to have it all to myself.
For lunch, we head to a small port town called Agia Efimia, as it’s between Myrtos and Melissani. I order a “tower of vegetables” which is exactly what it sounds like – grilled veg piled on top of each other and drizzled in balsamic vinegar. I will be attempting to cook this myself sometime. Seems easy enough, even for me!!
We arrive at Melissani around 5:30pm. I’m sure we’ve lost the prime in-cave-photo sunlight, but the hoards of coach bus humans have long gone, and we don’t have to wait at all, so I’d classify this as a huge win! After paying a measly 7€ for what I assume is the most popular tourist attraction on the island, we follow a path to the underground lake. The ceiling of the cave collapsed in the 60s after an earthquake, exposing this underground treasure. We board a row boat with another family, and are taken through the turquoise water to another connected section of the lake where the roof is still intact. I hope there isn’t another earthquake at this very moment because I swear the roof of this cave has a perfectly circular shape that looks suspiciously ready to mirror it’s neighbour and cave the hell in. The boat rower assures me it’s fine, but is he a geologist? No. He just has some mad singing skills and intense rowing muscles.
I ask why boats are the only way to see the cave, and we can’t swim through the beautiful clear water. Fun fact: some poisonous eels have the audacity to live here, ruining it for everyone else. Extremely inconsiderate.
We go back to the hotel to recharge our literal and metaphorical batteries. All our phones were dead by the time we left Melissani, and it’s been an eventful day.
Skala is a beach town just a short drive south of where we’re staying so we decide to go there for dinner and some drinks. It’s an extremely posh area and I regret being too lazy to dress up at all. I mean, I put on a dress, but I’m wearing 3€ Primark Keds knockoffs… In contrast, Abi and her Mom both looks on point and fit in with the fancy atmosphere. Ah well.
We visit a cool little spot called Captain’s Bar, just off the main beach strip and decorated with beautiful white fabric, draped around a large tree, and covered in tiny white lights. They serve fancy and (some) absurdly large cocktails, and have an extremely enthusiastic waiter. He falls in love with Abi instantly which lands us some free shots, hollllaaaa! We leave after one drink to go in search of dinner, where we enjoy rose and some Greek cuisine. Everything closes absurdly early in this little beach town, so we find ourselves back at Captain’s Bar and stay until they close.
5€ Drogarati Cave
7€ Melissani Underwater Lake
7.50€ My share of car rental
17.50€ my share of room
5€ dinner/drinks (My vacation fam picked up the tab; SO NICE!)
Total: 52€. Double Yikes.
The target is 25€ a day or less. I need to chill.