Athens – Greek Islands; Poros, Hydra, Egina

We had booked a trip to the three islands. We would’ve made our own way to do justice, but booked it as a short organised day tour to see what we can enjoy.

In the morning a local guide came to our hotel to pick us up and we walked to IC hotel to pick up some more people.. While waiting for 20 minutes (there is always someone who needs waking up and delays the rest of the group) I saw dancers exiting the clubs. 8 am seemed a bit too early to be witnessing this.

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The small the Island, the more beautiful it was – Poros and Hydra absolutely gorgeous. They were the typical picturesque town right out of a travel magazine, deserted of tourists, peaceful, clear crisp blue skies, and turquoise water. I wish I had booked a night there. If I ever go to Greece again, these islands might be the only reason.

Some pics of Poros;

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In a stroll around the market an old man had some cheap jewellery on top of cardboard box and seemed desperate to sell me a blue bead bangles. I tried one and he put two more – “1 for 2 euro , 3 for 5 euro”. Within 2 seconds I had three bangles on – he had touched my hand – and I’m not entirely use how hygienic it is as he has been selling from the cardboard box all day. Besides as a Muslim, I avoid shaking hands with unrelated men, and it’s customary in UK anyway – don’t shake hands with a woman unless she raises her hand first. I felt sad for him and bought all three.

As it was a full day trip, lunch was included, and the vegetarian option was potatoes in some curry sauce and rice. Hot food, and okay to get by.

Some pics in Hydra;

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Egina seemed more of a small developed city. We decided not to visit the pistachio factory and took a Tonga ride, and there wasn’t much aside from the driver pointing out to “fish market” which was a store with a few tables, and “big house”, “mansion”, “souvenir shop” etc. The fact that he was pointing out at random objects/shops was more funny rather than the ride itself… I don’t think I got to see much, or even knew if there was much.

Another woman was selling pistachios. As a tourist I try to ignore shop-sellers as making eye contact, or responding in countries is an open invitation for them to follow and sell more forcefully – they smell weakness – and for woman it’s even more important. We ignored her in the walk up the market, but when coming back towards the port my husband stopped. She knew no English but was very sweet which made me feel bad for not stopping and responding to her when she called out earlier. A man nearby translated between us. My dress/scarf was a give away (and as with many other countries – said I’m not an Arab) and I told her were we came from and how lovely the islands were. She told us that a Bengali lives near her house. I wondered what he did.

On the boat we had a brief chat with a Libyan who said he was a Doctor from Bengazi visiting on a conference (at that time Libyan unrest was under way to remove Mohammad Ghaddafi).

On the board ride back, I didn’t realise that there was a Greek dance show. The dance started off with a fully covered woman but eventually through the progressions it wasn’t entirely halal, I went to the front of the boat as it was deserted – kind of like being in front of the Titanic.

The steady breeze with a backdrop of the setting sun was beautiful. My husband had dressed for the hot afternoon, but it was getting cold and I could feel him shivering slightly as he rested his head against my shoulder.  I gave him the jacket I had brought along just in case, despite him telling me not to bother to carry and that he wouldn’t carry it even if it is his. He had bought me a sweater in Istanbul when I was cold, so I guess we’re even 🙂 .

On the sea is like being on air. You feel you’re moving, but the points of reference move so slowly that you think you might actually be still. The only thing I can measure was the sun slowly edging over the horizon like a dwindling candle being slowly starved of oxygen. No one came around to the front until it was dark and the show was over. It was one of the most memorable moments of the journey (after the attempt on our bags the first day).

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