Mount Ainos & the Destroyed Village
Today we decided to head up to the top of the huge peak that dominates the Island – Mount Ainos.
The drive here was strangely not as steep and perilous as others and it was well worth it for the amazing views of the Island from the top.
There is a car park when you reach the top, but before you get there stop at a parking place about halfway up (you will see what looks like a play park/picnic area). There are some rocks on the left-hand side of this area and it is completely alive with small lizards.
Continue upwards and onwards until you get to the car park. There is a dirt track that continues along from there but we weren’t sure if it was even a real road. We did walk along it later on and I certainly wouldn’t fancy driving down it, even in a 4×4.
There is a viewpoint along from the car park next to the industrial looking complex which is the Island’s radio transmitters. There is a path around the area so head down there to look at the view across to the South and South West.
The thing that is so special about Mount Ainos is not only is it the only Greek National Park located on an Island but it is also the home of most of the Island’s biodiversity – from the single species of fir tree (Abies Cephalonica) that covers a massive swathe of the area, to wild horses, hares, foxes, and black woodpeckers.
The mountain is also home to the rare Kefalonian Viola and there is an area of rocky ground fenced off from the public at the summit to allow this rare flower to flourish unmolested. It was bare when we arrived; the viola flowers in May & June.
From here we headed off in search of one of the sets of ruins created when the large earthquake in 1953 destroyed a huge part of the Island. We did find one and went to explore.
We did not linger here; to do so felt disrespectful and voyeuristic. There was a real sense that these were once people’s homes and we were intruding. It had a very oppressive atmosphere so we did not tarry and instead headed home, pondering on the fragile nature of our seemingly stable manmade environments.