Islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina

We took a 1-day cruise through the Saronic Gulf to the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina. The day started beautifully, we sat on the deck of a big boat with warm sun, good music and a freddo (Greek iced coffee). A tall, young, beautiful, Greek dancer, Michaelus came and gave us a dance lesson – a little difficult to maintain balance  on a rocking boat, but it made for an interesting experience.  
sailing throuh the Aegean Sea

Our first stop was at the Island of Hydra, a small island with the population of 3000 people and where cars and motorized vehicles are not permitted – people get around by walking or donkey.  We got off the boat and walked along the shorefront and through the white-washed allies. Life here seems really simple, there is no vehicular traffic to cause noise or stress and so it seems to me that people live tranquilly.  As we were leaving a short, older gentleman with the skin the color of tan-leather and a head full of silver hair stopped me and asked if I cared for a ride on the donkey.  I thanked him but said I had no time.  “Ok. Ok. You is beautiful lady,” he said through a toothless smile as he walked away.  “Efharistó!” (thank you), I called after him and hopped along my way to catch the boat.

mama and me 🙂

Island of Hydra

white crooked, perfectly imperfect alley-ways of Hydra

squishy!

precious donkey blocking the road in Hydra

Back on the boat, we had a buffet lunch of Greek food –  dolma, beet salad, tomato salad, a variety of rices, fish, olives, cheese, chicken, pork, and (my favorite) honey-walnut cake.  The cake was a dense yellow-sponge cake speckled with walnuts and soaked in a honey syrup.  Yum! 

We made our way to the Island of Poros – an island with a population of 7000 and here, there are cars. We walked along the dock and watched a little boy, maybe 7 years old learning how to fish with his grandfather.  In between casting the line and catching the fish, grandpa was feeding the little boy bites of his sandwich. The boy ate willingly because if he ate, he got to fish more.

Church as we approach the Island of Poros, maximum capacity 21.5

boats lining the Island of Porous

Next stop, Aegina, the largest of the 3 Saronic Islands which we visited. This island is famous for its pistachio groves, the monastery of St. Nectarios and has a very rich history (of which I will only share with you what I recall). The very first coin minted in the world was from the Island of Aegina in about 700 BC and had a sea turtle on it.

The 20 remaining (of 365) churches built by the Aegeans as protection from pirates

Bougenvillia in front of the Monastery of St. Nectarios

hallway in the Monastery of St. Nectarios

Kalistera…

After touring the Island of Aegina and eating pistachios roasted with lemon, we boarded the cruise ship for the last time and watched a show of Greek folk dancers.  The two men performed traditional dances from various parts of Greece.  Of course there’s the Zorba but my favorite was a dance from Macedonia which depicts the wheat harvest by dance.  It is a one-person show and the dancer dances the first part with a sickle, as if harvesting the wheat; the sickle is spun around and around the dancer’s body.  Next he uses a sifter, a round, tray looking device lined on the bottom with a mesh strain and dances with that.  The last part was incredible, he held the sifter upright and balanced a glass of wine on the rim and did a little number with it, he twisted it left and right and then he began to furiously spin the sifter around and over his head.  The crowd all watched, awe-struck clapping and yelling “oppa!”

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