I slept so well in Hydra. A deep peaceful sleep, I think due to a combination of 3 things: The beautiful canopied bed at Hotel Angelica, the island’s calm ambiance and the fully blissed-out mood I enjoyed from the moment I stepped off the boat at Hydratown’s port…my first time experiencing the Greek Islands.
As usual, I woke up very early. I love to wander the streets of a new place while it’s still very quiet, and the day is just beginning. There are no cars permitted on Hydra, which means no honking, no revving engines, no rush rush morning commute. The quiet village atmosphere is simply perfect at that time of day.
It’s obvious why so many artists have loved this island over the years. Henry Miller, George Seferis, Leonard Cohen and so many others. It lures the art lovers. It hooks the beauty lovers. This pretty little island is only 44 miles from Piraeus, but so far away from any of my worries.
It’s a short walk down Miaouli street to the port, but it’s nice to go slow, admiring the cactus growing down the hillside, and stopping to photograph the donkeys – is there a more adorable creature out there? Because there are no cars, the donkeys are essential for transporting goods from the harbor and across the island. Luggage, bottled water, small children even. I was so happy to find them around almost every corner. That Donkey aesthetic – I loved it. It was soothing to hear their clomp clomp on the cobblestone as they ambled passed the hand painted signs, the weathered houses, the orange trees. Magic.
And the boats. Hydra’s port is a perfect place for my maritime sensibilities. The morning really kicked in with coffee at Skipper Cafe as I stared out at the yachts, fishing boats and water taxis. While sitting there in the cushy chairs enjoying strong coffee and yogurt with honey I imagined myself with a different life. I wrote in my journal – “I’m not leaving this place. I live here now”. Oh, those romantic travel wishes we indulge in.
It was too early for the day trippers to have arrived on the island yet, so we enjoyed the peace and quiet and got to chatting with a local resident and the cafe owner, which led to complimentary honey-soaked pastries (bless that Greek hospitality) and an offer to view an apartment for rent up on the hill. Don’t tempt me, Greece.
After breakfast it was still very early – not much was open, and few people were around except for fat fluffy kitties out begging for sardines. We scratched some fuzzy chins and kept wandering, until that need for caffeine hit again. So maybe this post should be called Morning Walk(s) and Coffee(s) on Hydra? Maybe another round of both are in order.
Hydra is a dry, rocky island, and the ground elevates steeply around the crescent shaped harbor. It was an intense climb up the hillside, but worth it to enjoy the sea breeze and the view over the port. Walking carefully, trying not to step on the poppies growing out between the rocks. Appreciating the brass knockers, the flower pots and gorgeous blue wooden doors.
I saw the little tavernas with their outdoor chairs tipped and leaning on tables, waiting for opening time. I saw local kids walking with their poster for a school project about recycling. I saw huge bunches of wild yellow daisies. I don’t think the smile left my face for a minute.
After making out way back down towards the port it was time to refuel at Pirate Bar with a cold cappuccino freddo. I became addicted to these delicious drinks while in Greece, and Pirate Bar makes a killer one. So cold, so creamy!
It was the perfect location for people watching, so we sat for a while longer than planned – watching the port get busier while making kissy noises at cute dogs, practicing Greek phrases and listening to the bells of the Church of the Assumption. By then it was then it was almost noon…I guess the end of my “morning walk” in Hydra, and the point where I was ready for a nap and more sweet Idhra dreams. Serene awake, serene asleep. Definitely my kind of place.