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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Sunday, 22nd April:

Didn’t really get up to much on the Saturday (had a lie in and just wondering around Athens – chilling day really ,after a hectic week gone by).  As I indicated in my previous blog entry, I decided to take a 3-way Island Hopping excursion on Sunday, and boy was it interesting! 

I didn’t believe that the Greek Islands could be so different from one another, but they certainly were.

Early 7.30am pick-up, so managed to grab some breakfast and coffee in the hotel before I left, coach headed off to the Piraeus Port just outside of Athens, about 15-20-minutes away.  Bit of a run-down area, but you could see a lot of development was being made, new train terminal, and some other buildings were being demolished too. 

We jumped onboard the Cruise ship at around 8am, I would really call it a Ferry, but alas call it as you wish, it’s aim was to safely get me across the waters to the islands and back again, anyway for all intents and purposes lets just call it a “Boat”!  The boat seemed safe and very hospitable staff and hosts.

Left the Port and headed off to our first island and it was actually a very smooth journey.  I managed to be-friend a couple who came from one of the South Pacific islands.  A very nice and sincere couple and very chatty – which is good to see (he says also being known as a ‘chatty’ person)!

Anyway, after about the first hour, I decided to lounge about on the one of the open decks to savour the sunshine, and it certainly was pretty nice and mild.  Not necessarily warm, especially first thing in the morning but pleasant enough!  Also, another good way to get some sun, without it being too strong.

During the first leg of the trip, there was some Greek dancing lessons and explanations of the steps – interesting viewing, then it was the time for the some of the Passengers to take part was I game enough – don’t be daft, of course not.  Have you seen my dance attempts, hmmm obviously not!  Anyway, I could have plucked up the courage and strut my stuff in front off a bunch of strangers I would probably never see again, but decided against this – had some pride - watching was better!

Another hour or so went by (or thereabouts), and we arrived at our first destination, Poros.  I very nice and “quaint” Island, if it weren’t for the tourists boats, I could see being a very quiet and chilled island.  But anyway, we had about an hour to walk around visit the area.  A very picturesque and great panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.  Many of the island buildings are of beautiful neoclassical architecture.

I also took the opportunity to purchase some nice little gifts for some family and friends back home (I will eventually photograph and upload them here).

Having jumped back on the boat, we set sail for the next island destination.  We ate our lunch on the boat, Smoked Salmon to start with and Pork with Creamy Mash to follow.  Very appetising, although not the best cuisine I have had, it did the job!

Arriving at Hydra, I was already advised it to be a very different but ‘commercial’ island.   Much more cosmopolitan than Poros, but still a very nice atmosphere.  It had different areas, so at one side (towards the Port area), you were part of the hub of the bars, restaurants, tourists shops etc, then you walked away from this and you saw the real Hydra, the lovely architecture and then you can go either side of the Port area and go for a tranquil walk to unwind.  Very nice indeed; especially with my iPod and a way to relax my mind, after such a challenging couple of weeks at work.  It was meant to have a pretty good entertainment and night-life, but as I was only here for one day, I didn’t have the opportunity to experience it.  During the walk the views of the surrounding landscape was amazing, and the water was so aqua blue – really nice and clear.  Anyway, after 2½ hours relaxing on Hydra, we had to return to the boat for the third and last island hop.

The third island was the historic island of Aegina; earlier on in the day, whilst on ferry, we were given an explanation and itinerary of the day’s events, including an explanation of the tours of the Aegina island.  There was either the “Classical” (about an hour long and €20) or the “Archaeological” Excursions (for the full 2 hours and €30).  I wanted to spend some time walking about the island so had initially chosen the “Classical” tour, but on the second link heading towards Aegina, the English speaking tour were advised that as there were only 6 of us down for the “Classical” tour, we either had an option to join one of the other language speaking “Classical” tours or upgrade to the “Archaeological” tour.  I decided to upgrade and paid the difference.

Aegina is famous for its Pistachio nuts, and there Pistachio trees were found everywhere – definitely interesting, especially as I’ve never seen a Pistachio tree before (well I don’t think I have!).

Having arrived at the main Aegina Harbour, we had another coach ride, and went across the island to visit “Afaia Temple” – very beautiful and a great look over Aghia Marina.  The views of the surrounding areas were magnificent!

We then went back towards the Aegina Harbour and visited the “Aghios Nektarios Monastery”; another building of magnificent design and architecture. 

We then made it back to the boat and headed back to Piraeus port, and onwards back to the hotel, arriving at 7.30pm.  A long day, but very much enjoyable, and 3 islands off my list now!  Only another dozen or so to go (not that I really know the true number if Greek islands that exist).  Onwards to the next island hop!

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