Living in Greece, Travel

A Weekend in the Island of Hydra

They say a good story uses the “show, don’t tell” policy, so there’s a very good chance that this video, in which Mallory and I walk around talking about being in Hydra without actually showing Hydra, will only be interesting to those who are obligated to love us.

For everyone else, here’s a little show AND tell.

Hydra is an island about two hours from the Athenian port of Piraeus.  I suggested Mallory and I visit it when she came to Greece because a Rick Steve’s guidebook that my Dallas family gave me said it was the best easily visited Greek island.  When I heard that it’s famous for its total lack of cars, I was sold.  I have always wanted to go somewhere without automobiles!

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The money stuff:  tickets for the ferry to and from Hydra were €28 each way, and we booked a really cute room at Theano Guesthouse for only €45.  Total, we were each out €78.50 for a two-day island excursion, although that price conveniently ignores all the money we spent on food and souvenirs.

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THE FOOD!  It was so good.  We ate big every meal, because vacation demands indulgence.  We had fried cheese with honey and sesame, meatballs, grape leaves, bread bread bread, wine, souvlaki, eggs, bacon, sausage, and ice cream.  Not all for the same meal.

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And the souvenirs!  Hydra’s port street is crammed with souvenir shops of varying quality.  Most are generic knick-knacks that you can get anywhere in Greece, but there is a time and a place for postcards with Greek cats on them.  Other shops were FAR too high end, with Mallory and I walking in, checking one price tag, and walking back out.  And then there were hidden diamonds, like a super cute ceramic shop that threatened to break my bank in order to stock my new kitchen.  I exercised some self-restraint, however, and only bought an olive oil container.  And a tablecloth.  And three Greek mythology books.  It was so hard to say no!

Aside from eating and shopping, the main Hydra attraction is…Hydra.  At one point when we walked to a high point (veer left from the harbor and climb some stairs) I grabbed Mallory’s arm and gasped, “It’s so beautiful!”  The view is spectacular, the harbor crammed full of boats, the hillside crammed full of houses – it’s just stunning!

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It’s also creatively inspiring.  I started a new Instagram account (TheGreekMeow) to document all the stray cats I wanted a reason to photograph, and Mallory took some really amazing pictures of doors (Instagram account coming as soon as I can convince her to open one).  Cats and doors, we’re a creative powerhouse!

And obviously, there are the beaches!  Which, as far as Greek beaches are concerned, are not all that great.  There’s a really lovely walk (veer right from the harbor) along the coast for a very long time, and you’ll come across a few pebbly beaches after a while.  Mallory and I had more fun rock climbing and taking dumb videos than actually getting in the water, but it was also 70 degrees, so there’s a very good chance beach-time in Hydra gets better when it’s summer.

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In summary:  Hydra is an EXCELLENT option for a day trip away from Athens, though I very much suggest you stay the night.  There’s enough to do for two days, and it takes about one full day to fully appreciate the differences inherent to an island without cars (less noise, more donkeys).

Hydra: an 8 on a scale of 1 to Beautiful!

(watch the video to understand)

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