Aegina Island (September 28- October 1, 2017)
After leaving Thessaloniki at the end of June, I spent the past 3 months traveling around (Lagkada (Peloponnese) and Livadia in Greece, NY, Vermont, Besancon, Lyon, Toulon, Corsica, Crete...) with different people (and groups of people). Incredibly grateful that this was all possible I was nevertheless definitely in need of some precious alone time by the end of September. After my parents left Athens the decision to spend a couple of days by myself was inevitable and I was thrilled to find a location not too far from Athens, which would give me the possibility to discover a new place in Greece...and that is how I ended up in Aegina!
At only an hour (40 min-1.5 hours depending on the boat) from Athens, Aegina is a small island in the Saronic Gulf, southwest of Athens. I was able to relax a bit and explore the island by bus and by bicycle, which was a welcome change. This island is home to the well-known monastery dedicated to Agios Nektarios, a recent Greek saint who is known to perform miracles. While I have been living in countries where religious beliefs are not always visible, Greece is definitely different (to say the least!), and I met a woman on the boat over who was going to the island just for a couple of hours, only to go to the monastery! Faith is by far more visible and expressed quite differently then what I am used to.
The "end of the tourist season" was undoubtedly visible, with very few people walking around the streets or on the beach but many tourist shops still open, all selling the same post cards and beach gear! A short walk around Agia Marina was enough for me and I was happy to find the "Kiriakakis" restaurant open for lunch, a Greek meal with a view of that transparent sea water in varied shades of blue that I can't seem to get enough of! A 30 minute walk uphill (this has become my new favorite activity ;)) and I was able to visit the Temple of Aphaia, dedicated to the Greek goddess Aphaia, and built around 500 BC on the ruins of an earlier temple. There was even time for a delicious pistachio ice cream (Aegina is the island of pistachios and they even have a pistachio festival every year!) before heading back to the town of Aegina, where I was staying.
The next day, I was able to explore the western coast of the island by bike, down to the small fishing village of Perdika, across from Moni Island, and the freedom of being able to stop and explore when I wanted was fantastic! The was definitely a lesson in itself and I'll remember to look for this possibility on future trips as long as the terrain is realistic! :)
These 3 days of exploration, activity, and quiet time provided the perfect transition as I prepared to return to Thessaloniki, the city in Northern Greece where I had lived for 4 months earlier in the year! I was ready to return to classes and excited about the possibility of seeing familiar faces and being in an incredibly vibrant city once again!
|Meal at Kiriakakis Restaurant|
|Delicious pistachio ice cream|
|Last swim of the year?|
|Temple of Aphaia|
|First time I had seen pistachio trees!|
|Bike break in Perdika|
|playing with the filter during a coffee break :)|
|view of Moni Island|
|View of Aegina town from afar|