As we were enjoying breakfast on our third day on the boat, we watched a propane truck completely demolish a electrical/water station. The repair guys were there almost immediately to repair it. Apparently most of these Islands have water brought in by boat and stored in massive tanks on the island, so water leaks do not go unnoticed.
Our captain was not excited about our next destination, but under insistence from some of the crew we motored off for Hydra (EE-Dra). As you enter the city its surrounded on both sides by massive fortress walls with cannons sticking out.
The city had an older feel than Poros.
We did some exploring and went through the Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical Mansion, while the guys had coffee by the water.
Donkeys are everywhere in Hydra and are the main source of transportation as well as hauling goods. We saw one carrying full size refrigerator on its back.
We decided to trust the travel books and take a long walk up to a monastary that overlooks the town. The books claimed that it was about an hour walk. It was closer to two hours for us, as no one told us it was 90% stairs.
When we got to the top we took a wrong turn, after a few EXTRA steps we finally made it to the correct monastery.
There were monks actively living there. I can’t imagine how they do that walk on a regular basis.
The view from the top made it somewhat worth it.
We walked back down close to sunset, and were surprised by large amounts of loitering cats. They were forming cat gangs and digging in dumpsters. They all seemed friendly and well fed though, and we saw small piles of cat food left around untouched.
We had a lovely meal at a “tourist” restaurant. Yiannis our captain informed us that although our meals were only around 12 Euros a person this restaurant would be too expensive for most locals to eat at.
The waiter informed us that they had just picked the olives on his families farm for the season and offered us some some fresh squeezed Olive Oil. The taste was green and fresh.
As it began to get dark we began to understand why our captain didn’t want to come to Hydra. There was limited parking, but it didn’t seem to bother the hordes of boats that just kept coming into the little cove. We were med-moored 3 rows deep on both sides before we settled in for bed.
Yiannis, our captain warned us that when the wind picked up tonight at 4 am, everyone would be awake.
He was right. I woke up to the engine starting, and lines being frantically pulled in and let out. The boats in the second and third rows had started to drag anchor and be pushed into the front of our boat. Each boat had an exhausted and angry looking captain sitting out with boat poles holding other boats away from his boat.
This continued until the sun finally came up and the boats were able to leave from the outside in.
I think if we had been up all night like Yiannis was we probably would not want to ever come back to Hydra. But for me, even with the half night of sleep, Hydra was worth it. It was a beautiful old city with a different character than other places we visited.