Friday, August 12, 2011

Hi-Speed to Hydra

We only had 2 full days for Athens and we decided that one was really enough for the city for us.  The kids and I have been on the go for the entire summer and Josh has been with us for the last 2 weeks of it and those have been go go go as well.  So today was a day to go to a beach or do something more relaxing than touring the city.  So based on a suggestion from a friend of mine in BCN, we headed to Hydra (pronounced ee-dra) Island about 2 hours off the coast via hi-speed ferry.

Well it was supposed to be relaxing but it didn't start out that way.  I went down to the lobby this morning to see if the concierge could help me to book a ticket for the 10AM ferry.  He told me that he could have helped me yesterday but now he cannot do it online and I must go to a ticket office.  Then he said there are only 27 tickets left for the 10AM ferry and they are business class (more expensive than the economy) so he suggested I go out right away to get them. 

I ran upstairs to grab some cash for the cab and off I went.  I told Josh to get the kids ready and I'd meet him at the port once I had tickets.  The ticket place was a travel agency near where the bus dropped us off yesterday.  I went in and he told me that no, he can't help me, I must actually go to the port and now it is just about 9AM and there are only 20 tickets remaining. 

So once again I hop into a cab and pray that I'm not wasting my time since it's already 9 and the ferry leaves at 10.  Some guy cuts in front of me in line and then I finally make it and get the tickets.  Whew!  Smooth sailing from here though right?

Our ferry

Not a chance!!  Now like any form of transportation I probably should have been better prepared when it comes to Liam.  But alas I was not.  Josh was sitting with him on the completely opposite side of the business class section.  I suddenly hear Liam crying for no apparent reason and it was like one of those slow motion things - I knew what was going to happen long before Josh and I called out to him (and the whole boat was pretty quiet), "get the bag"...but no, Josh grabs his hand to take him to the bathroom instead.  So Liam, of course, starts puking...everywhere including the seats behind them (and yes there were people occupying those seats).  Josh gets him to the line in front of the bathroom - can no one let this kid go ahead?  Finally a woman tells me to go ahead of her.  Thankfully all the puke is on the seat and none is on him and Josh but I tell Josh that he must learn the signals of the puke master...

A little over two hours later we have arrived in Hydra, located in the Saronic Gulf.  We get off the ferry and are immediately seized by your typical tourist fare - cafes abound and tons of memorabilia shops.  Despite this we sit down to have some lunch since the kids are starved before beginning to look for a beach.

The port / harbor of Hydra

There are NO cars on Hydra and so transport is via horse or donkey and there are carts (see to the back right of the picture) that hotels and other people use to carry goods around.


And TONS of cats!!!!

Another view of the main town

And another view

Look mom - more cats!!

And more horses and donkeys!

Aidan checking out boats

And Liam checking out the boats

We begin to look for a beach but it is soon apparent that I didn't do enough research before taking us on this excursion.  This isn't really a white sandy beach kind of a place.  It's more of a cliff jumping kind of place.  And my kids, well Liam at least, are not cliff jumpers.  So off we went in search of what we hoped would be a suitable beach for both kids.

As we walk out of town

View of town as we leave

Heading around the corner to discover new places!

Yes, he's less than 2 feet off the ground and stuck

Beautiful views and beautiful pedestrian way

Amazing and HUGE sailboat that was there all day

More beautiful views!

Not many people around so we did a quick change into bathing suits!

People heading towards us on their donkeys!

They obviously haven't met my monkeys on this island yet!

Lots of stairs

Small harbor

View from other side of harbor looking back to where we came from

Pretty walkway

Josh at one point walked ahead of us in search of a beach.  We thought we had found one but he wanted to see if anything was just around the corner.  And I'm glad he did!  After about 1/2 hr of walking (that's 1/2 of kid type walking not adult walking which would have been much less) we got to what is called Mikro Kamini beach.  There were chairs and umbrellas and a bar.  Not to mention it was shallow enough for both kids and Aidan could snorkel.  The only downside was that it was a rocky beach but that wasn't the end of the world.  They were just thrilled to swim! 

Aidan running thru the water

Liam peeing in the water as he is apt to do these day

Deciding how far to go (he actually went up to his neck several times - what a trooper!)

Look at me - I'm swimming!!

Aidan snorkels while Liam swims

Josh joins Aidan for some snorkeling

Cute little beach setup - we were lucky to get the two chairs and umbrella!

Building rock castles

After a few hours at the beach it was time to head back.  We needed a quick snack before our 2 hour ferry left at 6 for the mainland again and we knew they weren't going to have much on the ferry.  So we stopped at a bar that was just outside the center of town.  It had the most amazing views and apparently there is very little liability issues here because there was no fence or anything that prevented you from falling off the edge of the restaurant into the water below - though it did help to keep the beautiful views from being obstructed.  And just below the restaurant was a swimming area though since we were already changed we didn't get to use that.

View behind me as we walked to the port

Josh giving Liam a ride

Late snack /early dinner... check out the view!

Sleepy child!!!!

All in all it was a great day and I think it made us even more excited for our weeklong adventure on Paxos starting tomorrow.  We will only have an internet USB stick for our connection for the next week so updates may be sporadic... but expect some beautiful pictures to come!


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