Did you know my name “Hali,” has Greek origins, and loosely means thinking of the sea?
Did you know there are 6000 Greek islands? Makes me want to own a boat.
Anyway, only 200 of the islands are actually inhabited, and beyond Athens, we explored two, Hydra and Poros. Not to sound like one of those corny travel magazine-types, but it’s unavoidable. These two islands were quaint, picturesque, sleepy, and alluring. Ha!, I said it.
Hydra is recognizable by the cats and the donkeys. They run the show. With the exception of a couple of emergency vehicles and a utility truck, it’s the donkeys that do the heavy lifting. The kitties are the entertainment. I felt as though I walked through a time warp, or maybe the set of Mamma Mia.
Packed with visitors in the summer, in the fall some shops don’t bother to open, restauranteurs limit their menu, and we don’t have to wait for a table.
Actually that isn’t true. There is one restaurant on the island which packs a crowd – whether she has 5 tables out, or 20. It’s one of those places where the owners, Thassoula and Statis, are legendary. Their spirit and passion is in every bite. Thassoula may scribble a menu, but don’t bother reading it.
Instead, she will detail your options, and without hesitation give you her opinion on what you should have. It’s brilliant. Her recommendation, “fish from the sea, and mushroom from the mountain.” And to the fellow next to us, who we told about the lovely mushrooms and had already ordered, she said, “no, no mushroom – it’s too much for you. He looked at us and said, “I adore her.”
Somewhat contradicting myself, Poros is not a sleepy town, but actually asleep. Again, shops have “when they-feel-like-it hours,” and generally speaking, they didn’t feel like it. We were the only guests at our boutique hotel. We had the phone number of the owner if we needed anything, and the front door was always open, even without a desk attendant. No “thieving gypsies” here. So what you do? You take pictures of the cats.
I have more to share. I can’t wrap this up until you see some of the sweeping views. After all, I can’t blog about a quaint, charming and picturesque island without pictures of the actual island(s). So, a couple of slides: