I went on a day cruise to three islands close to Athens, in the Saronic gulf of the Aegean sea. I didn't think I would like cruises, but this one was perfect.
Icy cold ouzo, traditional music and food, the sun, the blue-green sea, a beachy dress and sun hat, the paradisiac beauty of the islands... it was all very pleasurable.
It was my first time outside of Athens. I quickly noticed that Athens is Athens, and the countryside is the countryside... very different. The islands and the sea are as pristine and beautiful as Athens is, well, rather dirty, but beautiful nonetheless.
Hydra was the first island we visited. This island is so small that it does not have roads of cars. It can all easily be covered by foot. There are some shops, cafés and restaurants, all in beautiful white buildings with tiled roofs.
I went swimming there. It was glorious! Due to a heat wave, the temperature was so hot that day. The bite of the water was more than welcome a refreshment. There is no sandy beach on this island. The island seems to be surrounded by sharp rocks all around. There are,
however, steep metal ladders to get in the water, a few hundred meters to the right side of the harbour (at the back of a large café). The water is of a very nice greenish-blue colour, very transparent and salty.
In Poros, a slightly bigger island, I went for a walk, toured to local church and museum, and browsed the shops.
In Aegina, I booked a short ride that would take me to temple of Aphaia, a very nicely preserved site, and to Agios Nektarios, a large, elaborate Orthodox church. From the temple of Aphaia, there was a very nice view over the mountains and the sea.
Since I have been working of the works of the physician Paul of Aegina, getting to see the island, to associate images to a name, was important to me. I would, as a matter of fact, have gotten myself a tiny sculpture of him once in Aegina, but ironically enough the shops didn't have him. I did think about getting Hippocrates, but my luggage is heavy enough as it is...
Aegina is well known for its pistachios. I sampled them baked in lemon juice and salt, as is the
custom, and in ice cream. Goes with ouzo. Highly recommended!
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