March 31 is our 30th
anniversary and we started our day at 6:30 a.m., had a light
breakfast, transferred by bus to Piraeus, and set sail on the
Giorgis (Hydraiki Naval Company) ship to the island of Poros
in the Saronikas. Its about three hours from Piraeus and
the weather is very chilly but promises to warm in the afternoon.
Were sailing past the island of Egina (Aegina) and can
see the temple of Afaias on the coast. Poros is known for its
lemon tree forest and is covered with pine trees.
Were sharing a table with a couple from Poland and chatting
in French, English and a little Italian. Shes a pharmacist
and hes a chemist. Theres a sax player and a keyboard
player doing truly junky disco but the Japanese crowd on board
is dancing and were all having a good time. The port is
small and charming in a typical fishing village style, but theres
limited things to do here (monasteries, a nunnery, ruins, and
a small museum). We wandered the street along the shore and
enjoyed peeking up the narrow side streets. Weve heard
that theres some wide sand beaches on the Peloponnese
Idra (Hydra), our next stop, is
a little piece of heaven. This jewel is not just visually stunning
sense of cool bright color and the people are
warm and friendly. It has a large artisan industry many
of the postcards and prints seen on the mainland originated
here and has a local art school. Its been inhabited
since Mycenaean times and had a powerful merchant fleet during
Byzantine times. It is an excellent place to walk around
there are no cars allowed. Many of the houses were built by
Venetian and Genoan architects and are decorated with painted
ceilings. We entered a marble courtyard and rounded the corner
to find exquisite mosaics from the Byzantine period.
We found the perfect round tablecloth in a small shop on another
side street we met the woman who crocheted it and saw
many other fine pieces of her craft. This is a place to spend
some days on our next visit and to enjoy the lush hillsides
and the Venetian port.
Lunch was served on board the ship as we sailed back towards Egina. The entertainment
began right after lunch and was great fun. There was a good bouzouki player, a group dance
of the "Zorba" and then the sax and piano guys finishing up with some rock and
roll as we pulled into port.
The island of Egina looks like it might be quite interesting
towards the interior, but we landed in the old port and did
not have a lot of time to explore. There are towns here dating
back to 3000 BC and it is the vacation spot of many Athenians.
Immediately we bought a bag of fresh roasted pistachios
the island is famous for them. We walked along the shore and
could really appreciate the beautiful deep sand beach. We stopped
in a small park next to one of the many churches, sat on a bench,
and munched on pistachios as we watched the laid back pace of
passerbys. It has the feel of the back streets of Athens
rather than a tourist stop at this time of year. We made our
way down to the point before stopping
for a coffee in one of the multitude of cafés and then
returning to the ship. Along the way, we discovered and unusual
building that we cannot identify.
We had a silly and entertaining time on the cruise back to Piraeus. The bouzouki
played, and three dancers performed in various costumes dances from Thrace all the way to
the Dodecanese. Gianni, the emcee, vocalist and clown did some hilarious routines to keep
things lively he really shouldnt do drag! Anyway, it made for a quick trip
back to port and wed recommend the three-island tour special to anyone looking for a
fun day out.
Its 8 p.m. and were sitting on the balcony, smoking a good Cuban cigar and
watching the protest that has blocked all traffic into Sintagma for a half mile in either
direction. Its great chanting and stomping just like old times! We
dont quite understand the slogan, but it has that lovely rhythm we all know. In the
meantime, the evening changing of the guards at the Parliament building continues in
oblivion to the crowd.
We went down and checked out the crowd, then headed down to the Plaka. We browsed
several menus along the way but nothing had caught our eye. As we passed through the
little park below the church, we played a hunch and went in to the Kidathineon
Restaurant-Ouzerie. We ordered from the fixed menu (very inexpensive) Sal ordered
one of the best moussakas hes ever had and I enjoyed a succulent, gently
seasoned lamb souvlaki. They were preceded with tasty fresh Greek salads of feta, lettuce,
tomatoes, cucumber and sweet onions drizzled with a rich dark olive oil. We shared a
bottle of Calliga Ruby a robust but very refined ruby red that complemented
our dinner. For dessert, Sal went for some ice cream while I indulged in gooey rich
baklava. This was a superb feast. After all of this, the owner brought us snifters of a
subtle orange flavored liqueur. It was a perfect dinner and a satisfying end to an
especially nice day.