a TAPIF language assistant blog / un blog d’une assistante d’anglais

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Αίγινα (Aígina), Ύδρα (Hydra), & Πόρος (Poros)

... or, "(Election) Day in the Sun."

We decided to spend Tuesday, the 6th of November, which happened to be Election Day, sailing the Aegean sea to nearby Greek islands, because, well, you can't very well go to Greece and not see some islands. Due to the strike we couldn't stray far from Athens, so we sailed to the islands of Aegina, Hydra, and Poros via a private company (because that's all that was possible that day anyway). The whole thing was arranged by the tour company, and it reminded me how much I hate "drop-by" tourism (where a bus or a boat drops you off for a short time and then you're expected to get back on) because it's just so rushed and superficial. BUT despite that, the day ended up being one of my favorite days of the trip (if not my favorite) due to the sheer beauty of it all. You'll see.

our view from the very front of the boat before we left port

leaving Athens

slightly windblown, totally worth it

first up: Aegina, Athens' #1 rival back in the day


A nice older lady from Kansas took this photo. That's the thing about drop-by tourism: due to its convenience, it's mostly retirees. (It was pretty funny that day, a bunch of retired couples, a few middle-aged adventurers from around the world, and us. Ha!)



more Temple of Aphaea

Apparently, Aegina is the #1 producer of pistachios in the world. Who knew?

delicious pistachio ice cream made from goat's milk and Aeginetan pistachios...

Cathedral of Saint Nectarios of Aegina, a Greek Orthodox church

view from inside


The structure and exterior are complete, but the interior, including the mosaics, is still under construction.

chapel dedicated to Saint Nectarios

the man himself

Greek Orthodox Jesus... The style of the church (Byzantine) is so different from the styles I've seen in western Europe. The church was very ornate, but the lines were very clean. I liked it a lot.

porch and Aeginetan landscape

de belles fleurs

The nuns leave clothing out so that you can properly cover yourself before entering the church. (A lesson in proper church attire: It is a sign of respect to be properly dressed (shoulders and legs covered, no hats for men) before entering a church. Most churches in Europe will not let you enter unless you are following these rules, but even if they let you in, it's still disrespectful to not follow the procedure, in my opinion.)

These stairs lead up to the dormitories for pilgrims; the cathedral and monastery is an important pilgrimage site for members of the Greek Orthodox Church.

front view

plus me!

back to the boat

In case you were wondering, yes, yes this is the exact opposite of stressing over the election. Best. election day. ever.

I mean, for real.

Does this smile say "Holy cow this is so beautiful I want to live in this day forever?" Because that's how I was feeling right about then.

approaching stop #2 of the day (also my fave!), Hydra

Good news: We arrived safely at Hydra!
Bad news: Dat hair cray.

all aboard the USS GS Picturesque

stairs to Greek Narnia... or something

Please tell me you're seeing the color of the water.

Hi from Hydra. :) (Which actually sounds like ee-druh in Greek, soooo whoops. But if you pronounce it English-style it rhymes.)

I apologize for the sheer number of photos you are going to see from this day. Except that I don't. Because it was my favorite.

the Hydra Museum... which cost as much as the Acropolis Museum (?!) Non merci. Or I guess I should say okhi efharisto.

We went exploring a bit...

Cars aren't allowed in Hydra, so there aren't really roads, just little streets. Which means you can walk or ride a bike or a donkey.

Seriously. How Greek is this?

pretty Greek flowers


Kimberly, Cat Whisperer

Her cat whispering gained us a little Greek friend, who followed us for the next little bit (at least until she figured out that we didn't have anything to feed her).

Pretty flowers! Wait... LOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PICTURE. That is indeed a guy (wearing a backward baseball hat, no less) riding on a donkey. Just another day in Hydra.

cat party

cart party

I love this little boat with its little Greek flag.

Despite being out of business in Texas, K-Mart is apparently still alive and kicking on the Greek island of Hydra.*

more port pics

Excuse me while I move here.

Look! People swimming!

last look at Hydra from land

a last glimpse of Hydra (aka my future home) while sailing away...

You can't really tell, but I'm pulling a "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" with my scarf here. I do it in the crazy wind sometimes. Don't hate.

on the left is the Peloponnese, on the right is stop #3 of the day, Poros

little Poros

facing the other way... left side = Poros, right side = the Peloponnese

some Peloponnesian port

I looked at this tower and thought "Huh, a tower. Let's go get a snack." Kimberly looked at the tower and thought "Let's figure out how to get up there." It's a good thing she was there. Otherwise I would have just eaten ice cream. Which I still did. It's like Captain Planet. Kimberly has Tower Power, I have Snack Power, when our powers unite, we have Eat A Snack While Walking Up To Tower Power.

stairway to heaven... or maybe just the tower


view of the Peloponnese from the top of our climb

pretty arch along our descent

If this were my porch, I'd be so obsessed with sitting on it I probably 
wouldn't even go to work.

Port Authority... seriously.

some kind of fast food delivery bikes

just before boarding our little boat to sail off into the sunset

Here begin a series of photos called "A Perfect Greek Sunset So Beautiful It Will Make You Want to Immediately Move to An Island"***

I tried to capture the variation of the colors of the sky at sunset, from orange to pink to purple to blue, in this quick video.

This was the last picture my camera took that evening. To this day I'm not sure whether it really ran out of juice because the battery died, or because it simply said to itself "too - beautiful - does - not - compute," and then went quietly into that good night. Your guess is as good as mine.

I honestly don't even know what to say about how much I loved this day or the beautiful things I was blessed to be able to see. Other than this: If I ever disappear, well, you know where to start looking. Greece, Greece, Greece.

*This is not really a K-Mart.

**I am so sorry.

***Or is that just me?

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry... we noticed how blue and clear the water is ;) What an amazing trip! Definitely worth any crazy wind-blown hair.
    -Mattie (+ Matt)