Hello my friends! Stressed today? Here, put yourself in my place and enjoy 30 seconds of peaceful waves on Aegina Island in Greece. Pretend that those are your feet. Aaaaaaahhhhhh, isn’t that soothing?
I am sitting on the beach on the island of Aegina, close to Piraeus, the major port of Greece. It’s probably our last day on the beach this vacation and this year. Tomorrow we move on to the big city for the last 2 nights of our holiday. We were meant to visit Athens for 5 days after our stop in Rhodes, but the thought of going back to the noise and confusion of city life didn’t appeal to me after these most glorious sun washed days.
We flew into Athens 2 nights ago and took the train and subway to our hotel in Piraeus. We figured it would be easier to get a morning ferry to Aegina that way. The train ride took about 1 hour and 20 minutes. We had to change only once at a large terminal. That’s when things got interesting. We all know Greece has been going through some tough economic times in recent years. The city is painted with the citizens’ discontent. We were warned about pickpockets and seedy neighbourhoods. And on that evening, as we tried to get on our second train, a group of men started pushing towards the wagon, one shouting ok ok as he pointed to my luggage going into the back corner against the door. I had my eye on the luggage when I heard Leon say “Back off!” to the said man. Then I looked at my purse and saw his arm was hidden under a folded backpack, trying to reach for the zipper on it. Leon also realized the button on his back pocket was undone where another guy had tried to take his wallet. The guy tried to make conversation with Leon and Leon told him again to get away from me. The men quickly got off at the next stop.
People on the train started telling Leon not to put his wallet in his back pocket and others told us there is a lot of this kind of activity around the city and to take care. It all ended without incident but I did feel a bit nervous finding our way to our hotel. In the end we took a cab and found our little boutique hotel an oasis of light in a dark corner of this port city. Not surprisingly, the hotel was called Faros, Greek for lighthouse, I think. I was also pretty proud of my very very limited Greek. It seems I can roll my Rs in a way that makes my pronunciation of Greek words more easily understood. Other than that, I can only say good morning, hello, please and thank you. Not enough to get most people by.
After checking in, we had a nice cocktail with some bread, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers as a late night snack. Then we went off to bed so we could catch the morning ferry. Breakfast the next morning at the hotel was the most food I have seen this trip for 7 euros! It included juice, tea or coffee, corn flakes, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, omelet style eggs with veggies, toast and a slice of cake. Of course, I could only eat limited items. I think the poor waitress felt bad and she offered me some yogurt before we left, which I could unfortunately not eat being dairy free.
We made our way to the port and found our ferry only to be told our return date would feature a strike. We have therefore paid for 3 nights on this island but are leaving a day early to make sure we don’t miss our plane.
So far on Aegina, we’ve spent some time in the lovely large pool at the hotel (until thunder made me get out). After the rain, we made our way back into the town area on foot and wandered around the port and marina. Aegina town is a cute little port, dotted with colourful houses with red roofs. We had a look at the boats in the marina as Leon always enjoys the sailboats and yachts. Then we stopped at a seaside taverna for an early dinner. The storm came back stronger that earlier and we watched the restaurant staff batten down the hatches, or in this case the awnings. We remained dry and enjoyed the show and food.
After dinner, we wandered back towards the boats to take some pictures and noticed some commotion at the harbour. Some poor guy had not anchored his boat well and it hit the concrete dock, breaking a large piece of the rear of his boat. A little while later, the port authority was helping him move his anchor out while other boat owners anxiously awaited their own turn, keeping their engines on to keep from being blown backwards into the dock.
Let Leon tell you the story: Stormy day in Aegina