Friday, May 6, 2011

Hydra – one of the Saronic islands May 5, 2011

The 'Flying Dolpin' goes at about 25 knots...somewhat faster than our sailboat.

Hydra has no private vehicles. Donkeys are it.

Cats everywhere!

Hydra harbor

This is spring time in Greece. Lovely flowers!

Donkeys are the work 'horse', hauling constrution material here.

Hydra – one of the Saronic islands May 5, 2011
According to one of the guidebooks, if you can see only one Saronic island, let it be Hydra. So of course, we MUST go. We could sail there on our boat, but it’s a small harbor and we were concerned that it may be full. We boarded a hydro-foil ferry instead, the Flying Dolphin XVIII, and 30 minutes later, we’re at Hydra. The small harbor, in crescent shape with two ends flanked by stout cannons, was crowded with wooden trawlers, passenger ships, water taxis and sailing yachts. Similar to Poros, first glimpse of the island was the white homes with orange clay roofs, and waterfront lined with restaurants, cafes, jewelry, boutiques and souvenir shops. What set Hydra apart from other islands is that there are no cars at all on the island. You either walk or commission a donkey ’taxi’ to see anything. So we walked. Once away from the dock, the narrow back alleys was eerily quiet. We walked through some long and hilly ways, saw some three-story high mansions, with the Saronic Golf in full view.

Hydra was picturesque, but after seeing Simi, Thira, Poros ….. not sure the island was all that ‘impossibly picturesque’. The town at one point was home and retreat of many Greek artists. We therefore came with high expectations, and we must have been one of the few unfortunate ones that did not encounter any of the creative genius at work. There were no art galleries, as described, in the back streets --- perhaps it’s not tourist season yet?!

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