The Development of Kefalonia Over the Last 30 years

A really balanced narrative circulating the local press today on the progress of Kefalonia versus “lack of infrastructure” issues it faces at present.

It is in response to a satirical story of a holiday in Kefalonia which highlighted many infrastructure issues.

I recently read an article by my good friend and colleague Foti Avgoustatou about the fantastic story of a family’s 10-day stay in Kefalonia in August 2019.

In particular, my friend navigates the problems of lack of infrastructure (port of Kyllini, island road network, Hospital, parking lots), lack of cultural activities as well as related disorganization in high-traffic places (Melissani, Drogarati).

Almost all of this I agree with, as I believe, the majority of tourists and residents alike. One might even mention other problems such as the smell, lack of parking at the airport, lack of sidewalks especially in the area of ​​Livathos, unacceptable. road connecting the airport with Argostoli etc.

But I am of the opinion that every coin has two sides. 
Those of you who are a little older remember the “tourist” character of the island in the 80s and 90s.

The itineraries were much less and the ships themselves were of much lower quality. The Argostoli-Lixouri connection was endless. 
Flights from Athens, other cities in Greece and abroad are few. 
The island’s airport with rudimentary services (if you look at photos of the time you would not believe that this building served the needs of visitors).

1962 Makris Gialos. My aunt Painter Diana Antonakatou and her nephew Yagos Metaxas enjoy the caress of the afternoon sun. The tray, covered to our left. Be careful, the White Rocks hotel in Platis Gialos has not been built yet. To the right is the Turkish foot and in the background the White Rocks. – Source: Jaggu Metaxas Archive

Organized beaches (umbrellas, sun loungers, food, water juices, water sports) just didn’t exist. All beaches were unspoiled. ! .. they thought the beach was private … so little people there !!!

The nightlife with few alternatives. Few pastry shops, canada goose disco (so called clubs), few restaurants serving exclusively Greek cuisine (not to mention Chinese, Thai, sushi and I don’t know what else), buzuxidiko and nothing else. 
Playgrounds, amusement parks, playgrounds and events for little ones or specimens.

The hospital was built in the 1980s as it is today. Before there was the so-called “wooden” (I do not want to mention further the services it provided). 
There was no biological. 
The rooms to rent were few and had nothing to do with today’s loft (no aircondition, home appliances, wifi pools, views ..). 
There were no luxury villas. 
The hotels I remember well were 3 !!!!. And these offered the minimum of services. 
Kutabos smelled and emerged an image of abandonment and total decline and the public transport in general were reminiscent of India and Egypt. 
The mentality of the locals of the time was primitive and crude towards the few tourists. I remember the older ones in the village urging us to disorient the tourists about their destination, so for fun and never to come back !!! 
Fiscardo, Agia Efimia, Sami watched the yachts with the glass. The destination of the rich was not Cephalonia. 
Skala was a small uninhabited fishing village, forgotten in the eastern part of the island. Katelios even worse. 
Today’s Lourdas did not exist !!.

The festivities were neither so much nor as well organized.
Concerts, musical events, theatrical performances were unknown words for the time. 
Private doctors were scarce, and the possibility of poor air travel (many acquaintances and friends died at that time young and helpless due to their inability to move to Athens). 
These and many other things happened in Kefalonia in the 80’s and 90’s. 

Someone will say, “But so many years have passed?” And yet not many years. Just the evolution of things in general and the tourism product in particular have diminished our perception of time in our minds. 
Everything was done quickly and Kefalonia was not prepared. 

Today’s problems have unfortunately resulted from an important one in my opinion.

The tourist explosion of Kefalonia did not happen gradually … it became abrupt and anarchic. 
And unfortunately this explosion coincided with the crisis and substantial bankruptcy of the state since 2010. 
When the state is poor it cannot finance public works (national or provincial roads, ports, marinas) it cannot make a significant contribution to staffing hospitals and others. public services, can not improve public transport, can not even maintain a simple biological (I do not overlook the co-existent impotence of the political rulers of the place). 

Most of what we see around us today is a product of private initiative. 
Perhaps now that finances are showing a picture of recovery, we can also experience state-owned projects.
But by no means should we be led on the path of annihilation and depreciation.

Cephalonia in 2019 has absolutely nothing to do with Cephalonia 20 to 30 years ago and I’m sure it will have nothing to do with the island of 2030. 
No one can stop technology advances and thus improve quality of our lives and the tourist services provided. 
Let’s have a little patience… .we don’t skimp on and grumble about the slightest things. 
This island is worth it….

Markatos Anastasios

One thought on “The Development of Kefalonia Over the Last 30 years

  • August 12, 2019 at 10:24 am

    I came to live here in 1999 with my daughter and husband. We had many difficulties in me trying to open a hairdressers in Scala but oh the freedom we enjoyed. The natural spirit of a relatively uncommercial place. How I miss those funny quirky pre neon sign days when it was naively wonderful. Yes things were difficult but we all bumbled along and made a living. Twenty years on I see my daughter in fear daily trying to do everything right at her Taverna fir both government and tourists alike and may I say some of whom (tourists) bring with them huge expectations of what ‘The real Greece’ is supposed to look like. This is the real Greece in 2019 still magically still quirky not quite as laid back perhaps but underneath the craziness of making a years living in an ever shortening season, the laughter humour and a few mad moments are still there – we just have to dig a bit harder to find them.


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