Athens, Spetses, Hydra

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August 5th 2017
Published: August 14th 2017
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5 August 2017 Our cruise ended this morning in Athens, we had enjoyed sailing on the Riveria and visiting all the fabulous ports. Glenn and Josie were flying in from London to join us for the next week and we were excited as had been looking forward to spending time with them. Our first two-night stay was at the Electra Palace Hotel which has a wonderful roof top pool with a view to the Acropolis, very inviting as the temperature was in the high thirties. Due to a delayed flight Glenn and Josie did not arrive until 11pm, it was not a problem to find somewhere to have a late supper as the Athenians seemed to eat out very late at night. We all enjoyed sitting at a traditional local tavern on the roof top terrace before finally getting back to out hotel around 1am.

6 August 2017 An early start meant we could beat the crowds to the Acropolis, it was only a short walk to the citadel which contains remains of several ancient buildings, the most famous the Parthenon. The Venetians in the Morean War seriously damaged the Parthenon and other buildings during the 1687 siege when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded. Later in the afternoon we visited the Acropolis Museum which was completed in 2007, one floor has an installation of the frieze of the Parthenon that has exactly the same dimensions and allows you to view the details of the frieze pieced together with a combination of the original blocks and cast copies from museums abroad.

We were lucky to be able to see changing the guard ceremony by the Evezone’s, these men are part of an elite light infantry unit, which provide a 24-hour honour guard, with an hourly sentry change. Each Sunday at 11am they are accompanied by a military band from their barracks to the Tomb of the Unknown solider where the ceremonial change of guards takes place, we just accidentally happened to be in the right place to see the ceremony.

7,8,9 August 2017 We headed off early for a three hour car journey to reach the Port of Kostas where we took a fast water taxi to the island of Spetses, on the way we crossed the famous Corinth canal which Ron had been very keen to see. We had booked a two bedroom apartment through air B&B in a residential part of the town. The main form of transport around Spetses was scooters as the streets are very narrow and winding, we decided to just walk as we were only a 15 minutes to the Old Harbour, 20 minutes to the main port and only 5 minutes to the beach. Luckily the apartment had air conditioning as the temperature never really got below 30 degrees even during the evening. A full day trip on our hosts small fishing boat took us right around the island stopping to swim from the boat at small coves, lunch was served on the boat, a feast of homemade dips and salads from our hosts garden. Of an evening we enjoyed strolling into the old harbour around 10pm for dinner, lots of fresh seafood and local wines, perfect.

10,11,12 August. A short ferry ride took us to our next island, Hydra. We had booked another house through air B&B and were met at the harbour by the friendly housekeeper Maria who had organised two donkeys to carry our suitcases. Hydra is a unique island in that it has no cars or motorbikes only donkeys for transport, we followed Maria up the winding pathways to reach our home high above the harbour, wow, a fabulous view and a very unique home built into the mountain. We spent our three days exploring the harbour town and relaxing at our accommodation which had a swimming pool with a view over the town. Lots of sundowners were enjoyed on the terrace before walking down to the harbour for a late dinner, our time clocks changed while on Hydra, breakfast was late morning, lunch could be anywhere between 2-5pm and dinner sometime after 10.30pm. We were sad to leave on our last day, not only to leave this beautiful island but also to say goodbye to Glenn and Josie who were flying back to London from Athens.

13,14 We had another two night in Athens before our next leg of our journey, one night at the InnAthens and one at the airport hotel before flying to Montego Bay via Maimi.

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