It was a 6 hour drive up along the wonderful sounding road systems called Olympia and Ionion Highway, both under construction and with endless detours and one way lanes lined with orange and white traffic cones. One day, sometime, in the future, when these motorways are open Greece will have a magnificent network of roads from north to south.
Half way up we 'sailed' over this impressive bridge which joins one half of Greece with the other. It is called the Rio-Antirio bridge and besides being impressive to look at it also has an impressive toll of 13.30 euros. Coming back we took the car ferry which crosses right under the bridge and is half the price.
We continued up past the wetlands of Messalonghi where Lord Byron died of fever in 1824 while fighting for the independence of the Greeks from the Turks, stopping only for a half litre of wine and a quick meze.
Lefkada is one of the islands of the Ionian sea, along with Corfu and Ithaki. It is also the closest island to Skorpios, the once private island of Aristotle Onasis, now owned by a Russian billionaire. You can cruise around the island but landing is prohibitied unless you want to be 'shown off' by a kalashnikov .
My photos are a bit blurry but you will have some idea of the atmosphere. The church was very small and most of us once again stood outside, socialising, while the ceremony took place inside with the family and bridal couple in attendance. This photo is of the chandelier but also the image of Christ on the ceiling. The icon oddly seemed 'back-to-front' for the congregation. To see it properly you had to be standing where the priest stands.
The old lady in black is dressed in traditional costume. The skirt was long and black with hundreds of tiny pleats and her head was covered in a black veil like scarf. I saw quite a few of these elderly ladies dressed in the costume of days gone by. It is not often that you see this local dress nowadays.
Tuille bags of rice given out towards the end of the service. Once upon a time rice was thrown at the couple as they did 'the dance of Isaiah', led by the priest three times around the altar. Rice is a symbol of prosperity and fertility. If you were in the front of the crowd when the rice was thrown you got a head full of rice grains to take home with you too. Nowadays rice is only thrown outside the church because it is such a nuisance to sweep up.
The very happy couple
They had a full moon on their wedding day, a full moon closer than usual to the earth, very bright and clear over the island of Lefkada. At around 11pm we were also shaken by a 5.5 earthquake. It was centred around the town of Ioannina about an hour north. Music was really ear splitting loud as it is always at greek weddings and many of the guests were dancing when the quake hit. The earth shook and the Greeks danced on.
At the last wedding we were drenched by a summer downpour, this time it was an earthquake. Our Greek weddings are always ones to be remembered.