Hydra, Poros and Aegina Islands
11.11.2008 58 °F
Curt overheard a guy talking about a cruise to a few islands while at the Acropolis so we checked it out at our hotel and signed up for a one day cruise to the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina for 95 euro each. The bus picked us up at our hotel and 20 minutes later deposited us at the Pireaus Port where the boat was waiting. Of course today was cloudy and looked quite ominous. We were sports though and chose seats outside at the front of the boat. Our first island was over 2 hours away so Curt got a couple beers with peanuts and we settled in to chat and check out the scenery. The sun did eventually come out a bit on the route and we were able to shed some of our jackets.
The first stop was Hydra which also ended being our favorite. The timeline was 50 minutes on the island to check out the shops or do whatever. Catherine and I got suckered in by the donkeys that were waiting in the port to take tourists on a 15 minute ride thru the town. There were only two available so Curt let Catherine and I go and walked alongside taking photos. It was the most touristy but best thing we did all day. The poor donkeys plod thru the town with white buildings, blue windows and beautiful flowers. Otherwise the port is a sleepy little town which would be great for hiding away and relaxing. In the past, the crescent shape was used by the pirates as protection from the elements. I got a watercolor painting from a man who is a big player in Grecian art as a souveneir.
After boarding the boat it was lunchtime. Once it was clear where the seating was, we ended up with a guy and his parents who also happened to be celebrating his return from Iraq. He was also stationed in Germany and had just done the marathon. All drinks were extra and we had a hard time getting a carafe of free water. Lunch was some sort of pasta square for appetizer and the meatballs with vegetables for the main course. Desert was a small cup of cake covered with whipped cream. It was rather like a cafeteria lunch. Curt and I then made the mistake of ordering the coffee and tea thinking surely that came with the meal – not so much – later we got charged 4 euro and the waiter reminded us nothing in this life is free!
After an hour or so the ship stopped at Poros which was a 30 minute stop. Curt got a sweater in one of the shops and Catherine and I hiked up to a church tower but there was a fence around it which kind of ruined the photo op. There was a dog on top that Cat tried to give some granola bar but of course he didn’t want it. We raced back down the stairs and on to the boat.
The next stop was another hour or so away and was the largest – Aegina. There were optional tours for 22 and 24 extra euros but we chose to just stroll and shop. The pistaccio is famous on this island and very fresh. Curt got some and I got a coconut stick with pistachio that tasted like an almond joy. Both were delicious. I think we were pretty much shopped out on the same souveneirs so after a walk down the main street – most of which was closed – we ended in a coffee shop. The place was one of those with large pillows and couch chairs. I got tea and donuts with honey, curt got Greek coffee and Catherine got hot chocolate. Unfortunately by the time it arrived it was nearly time to get on our boat. Curt managed to get to-go cups so we could finish on the boat.
The ride back was long since it was dark and not much to look at. There was a show downstairs but no seats were left. At the port we got back on a bus and were dropped off at our hotel. After a quick bathroom stop we headed to the Plaka again for dinner at the Hermian.
This ended up being our favorite dinner. The waiter was fantastic and set us up outside next to a warmer. We shared a carafe of white wine and grilled feta along with bread. I got good old spaghetti Bolognese and Curt had Kabap and his new favorite Mousaka. There ended up being two long tables full of Egyptian men next to us which had a singer with a guitar playing for them. It was odd to see such a huge group of only men together – not to mention the make up wearing guitar player. He did sing a song from Elvis which was great. By the end the men were out of their seats dancing together – WOAH! Weird but interesting how different the world is. We walked back to our hotel happy with our final meal and another great trip!