Operation: Mules and White Steps

Hydra 

In most places around the world, there are distinctive characteristics all tourists share.

  1. Talk in a different language
  2. Wear shorts when it’s clearly freezing
  3. Use a backpack
  4. Indulge in touristic experiences
  5. Eat like the world is going to end (local food specially.)
  6. Insist on bathing in inhuman temperatures (deemed so by trusty hotel receptionists, who every good tourist knows is the best source of information)
  7. Carry around a huge camera
  8. Buy a hideous souvenier from the first souvenier shop found
  9. Chat at length with locals

I must admit that we fit in with many of the tourist qualities.

We talk in a different language, we wore shorts when it was 20 degrees C (terribly cold, according to our receptionist.) I wear a backpaack for comfort.

For our instagram worthy touristic experience, we rode on mules, as cars or other electronic vehicles aren’t allowed on Hydra (even if they were, it would’ve been difficult to use them, as the streets are tiny and most are just infinte steps.) 

It’s a highly reccommendable experience, the mules take you all around the island at a steady pace so you have time to truly enjoy the views.
   
  
          

cat casually strolling around
 We found this amazing restaurant, with unobstructed views of the blue-grey expanse of sea, slightly isolated from the village by a bend in the coastline.

 

shrimp risotto
  
   
Unfortunatly, there were jellyfish in the sea, but we would have bathed otherwise. “What?! At this time of the year? No, no we do not swim when it’s this cold! ” Says every local with an incredulous look on their face.

On the other hand, we saw some english teenagers splashing around as if it were the pinacle of summer; having lived in England, I can understand them completely.   
 We did not carry around a camera, or buy a hideous souvenir; although we entered a souvenirr shop and were horrified by th edisfigured  mules staring back at us from every t-shirt, keyring, and mug.

   
They eye of good luck painted on some steps.  

Octopus drying.

 

A shop owner iniciated conversation with us, and we were delighted to discover that one of her friends living in Hydra was argentine, it feels so good to discover brethen in far off places.

 We also visited the Hydra museum, which has an excellent collection of painings.

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Operation: Pistachio Island

Aegina

The boat ride was only 40 minutes from Pireaus (the Athenian port) to the island of Aegina. 
We disembarked right at the town center and immediatly seeked sweet nourishment. Again, we made the mistake of not sharing a chocolate crêpe, so we each stomatched a delicious monster.

  They sell pistachios EVERYWHERE in Aegina, and in every way. Pistachio marmalade, pistachio mixed with pesto, mixed with nutella, salted, unsalted, in pretty jars, in plastic bags, sundried, infused with tomato…

We stayed at Danae Hotel, which turned out to be quite a long walking distance from the town center. 

The hotel was a pretty villa-like structure. Painted a very greek blue and white, with a balcony overlooking the beautiful sea, and in the distance, the navy blue and ambiguously black mountains.
The next day, after having breakfast, we crossed the street outside and decended some precarious stone steps to a hidden cove like beach. Although it was cold outside, I still swam in the sea, and it was an amazing experience.

  
 

some strange pistachio concoction

 The turquoise water was unbelievably clear and calm. I even saw some small fish chasing each other around. It was relatively warm, but I got cold in about fifteen minutes.

   
 I felt really cold once I got out, and even a hot shower at the hotel failed to warm me. Plus, the saltiness of the sea has a way of sticking to the hair and skin.

Then we made our way to the town center and took a bus to a monastery.

   
 After seeing all we could in the half hour granted to us by the bus driver, we let the bus take us  to a hidden gem: the temple of Afaia, an incredibly well preserved mini Parthenon, sans the scaffolding and hoards of tourists.

  
We tried pistachio ice cream, and I’m not entirely sure what to think of it, or whether I liked it or not (based on the aftertaste, I’m leaning more towards a negative opinion.)

 

pistachio ice cream

Coming soon: Hydra island! Mules and white steps 🙂 

Operation: Jewel of the Ancient World

After two months in Athens, we finally visited the Acropolis. Read about the time we circumnavigated the Acropolis here

We made sure to get there on time, but due to hunger pangs and shopping sprees by the time we arrived at the ticket booth, there was only about an hour and a half until closing time.

We prioritised seeing the Parthenon, but we still managed to glimpse a couple of other ancient sites on our way there.

  

amazing views abound

Once we had climbed the serpenting path leading to the Acropolis, we found the path to the Parthenon blocked, with a sign informing us that to reach the tantalizingly close temple, we had to descend and follow the pedestrian road the long way around.

A carved stone informed us that singing or loud noises are prohibited, but I saw plenty of rebels partaking in both.




  
  

They must have strong shoulders

 

the majestic Parthenon

 

crosses

 

ruins

 

The vibrant blue and white of the Greek flag

 

Mt. Lycabettus is the highest point of Athens, it ‘s a landamrk that can be seen virtually everywhere

 

peeking through

After enjoying as much as we could in a limited time, we walked to the nearby Plaka neighbourhood. (Is it just me or do all out walks end up in Plaka? All roads lead to Plaka…)

 

graffitied telephone booth

enjoying a noonday snooze while basking in the sun

Poseidon, ancient Greek god of the sea

 

beautiful flowers adorning a cafe’s outdoor area

So ends our journey to the Acropolis, inevitably in Plaka.

QUESTION: Have you ever been to the Acropolis? Do your Athenian journeys magically end in Plaka? If not, where do they end?

Read more about my adventures in Plaka here

Operation: Circumnavigate Acropolis

We wanted to visit the touristic highlight of Athens, the centre of the ancient world: The Acropolis! 

Unfortunatly, it was closed (it closes at 15:00, who would have thought?) but we still managed to visit plenty of interesting things.

First, we saw the Zappeion.

   
    
 
Then we passed through the doorway to the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Arch.

   
 
We began our ascent to the Acropolis. Music from street buskers mingled with the scent of  burning corn, a common street food here, and sellers of overpriced souvenirs (the price increases as you near the Acropolis) filled the wide stone paved streets.
 

there were some talented break dancers
  
    

 
 

colourful jewelry on display
  
 
We crossed into the Gazi neighbourhood. 
     

  
We had tea in a modern café/bar.   
  

sugar free carrot and cinnamon muffin

 

Operation: Yogurt Apple Sticks

These are the perfect snack for when the hunger cravings hit, but you want to eat something healthy.

You can tweak the recipe endlessly. Adding more or less cinnamon, applying the mix on another fruit (bananas are great with this!) or more or less time in the freezer depending on your cold tolerance.

IMPORTANT TIP: Don’t leave these in the freezer too long or actual ice will grow on them and it will not be pretty. Also, make sure not to leave them outside long because the the yogurt will melt.

INGREDIENTS

  • Cinnamon 
  • Greek Yogurt (I used 2%)
  • Apple or other fruit

PROCEDURE

  1. Mix the Greek Yogurt with the cinnamon until the mix acquires a brownish colour.  
  2. Cut the apple/other fruit into slices. It’s easier if they’re on the thicker side.  
  3. Apply the yogurt mix onto each slice generously.    
  4.  Arrange on a plate (make sure the slices aren’t touching each other)
  5. Place in the freezer for around an hour (it depends on how cold you like them, and how powerful your freezer is.)
  6. Optionaly sprinkle with even more cinnamon (I love cinnamon  sooooo much!)

How did they turn out? Did you like them? Leave me your thoughts and suggestions in the comments?

Operation: Ruined Castles and Acoustic Amphitheatres

We climbed up to Palamidi Castle, situated on a hill overlooking Nafplios.

 

the view from Palamidi
 
 
which door to choose from?
  
  
a courtyard

   

  

  

  

 After following some narrow steps, we were surprised with another amazing view.

   

    
 Then we visited Kolokotrones’ prison.

   

Then we drove to the Theatre of Epidaurus, as it was on our way to Athens.

            

We tested its supposedly amazing acoustics by dropping a coin in the middle, and I was surprised to find that it actually worked, I could hear the sound clearly!
  

Operation: La Boca, pastel version

Nafplios

DAY 2

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at our hotel: Oat biscuits, pain au chocolat, greek yogurt, bread with Nutella, bacon and fried eggs, and steaming cups of coffee or tea; all while gazing at the sea.


Then we followed a path parallel to the beach until we entered the town centre.


  



This village reminds me of a neighbourhood “La Boca” in Buenos Aires, in pastel colours.

 All credit goes to http://www.shutterstock.com

For lunch we had pizza and strawberry smoothies at a seaside restaurant.

The steps leading up to our hotel road

 

We followed a path next to the sea and climbed some small steps where we found a mini Santorini. It was a chapel painted in blue and white

Inside the Santorini like chapel

 

Steps leading up to the chapel

READ ABOUT Day 1