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Travel: Hydra

Monday, 25 April 2011
Hydra is one of 7 islands which form the Saronic Archipelago lying just a short distance from Athens. Catamarans ply the waters several times a day between Pireaus, the main port of call in Athens and Hydra. The trip takes no more than 1.5 hours or approximately 3 hours if you prefer the ferries. As the locals love to remind me, "it's quicker to jump on a catamaran and get to Hydra than it is to go from one end of Athens to another".

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Hydra has been invaded by the Dorians, colonised by the Venetians and Ottoman Empire, experienced prosperity only to lose a large number of their population to the plague, suffered an economic crisis when they lost their maritime position and famine during the onset of World War 2. These days, the island is certainly the playground of the rich and famous with beautifully renovated mansions dotted along the harbor which serve as summer homes for the Athenians. You'll see more Athenians converging on the island during Easter and summer holidays than foreigners. Super yachts moored by the harbor while the owners hop down to do some shopping or get a bite to eat. The tasteful shops mainly cater to the locals and fellow Athenians.

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We left on Good Friday the same day the Prime Minister of Greece was reported to arrive in his personal yacht. On one hand, some of the locals are proud that he has chosen to visit Hydra regularly. On the other, the politicians are treated with derision with their burgeoning wealth due to widespread corruption. One of the shop owners I've spoken to mentioned that tourism has dropped dramatically since the introduction of euros making it an expensive holiday destination.

Other than garbage trucks, vehicles are banned on the island. Kids are free to race about and the only thing they have to watch out for are donkeys or ponies and poos (I kid you not!). The islanders transport their supplies back and forth in carts or donkeys.


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The island is tiny which I personally think is a good thing because one can easily explore it on foot.

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Aside from the beautiful sunset overlooking the vast expanse of the ocean, views of the white washed houses and extremely friendly locals, I had the best baklava EVER (I've tasted plenty). The buttery filo pastry drenched with honey syrup was still crunchy inside with just the right amount of pistachio and walnut. Just so you know, I went back to the bakery 3 times in one day.

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5 comments:

  1. Like most Athenians I love Hydra! Can't wait for the next long weekend for a quick escape! The donkeys are so cute!

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  2. Hi Lily! Thank you for visiting my blog. The locals in Hydra are so very gracious and friendly which made my trip all the more memorable.

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  3. Wow - can you beam me there for a leisurely stroll and some baklava? Amazing shots!!

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  4. I thought Hydra was a hundred times better than the glitzy Santorini. The locals are friendly and the kids were able to run around.

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