Cruise Day Five

31 May 2012

We left Astras at 6am, that early because our next planned stop on the island of Hydra, was quite a distance away. I was thrilled about that as we had been there for a few hours last year, by ferry, and wished we’d had more time. I remember gazing at the sailboats tied up at the harbor and wishing I could be on one of them. Now I would be!

We had hoped to sail, but the wind would not cooperate. When a huge gust came up, Roger and crew scampered to put two reefs in the mainsail and raise the sails. No sooner was that done than the wind tied down. And then it got blustery and rained a bit. So we endeed out motoring the rest of the way, arriving in Hydra around noon.

There was a perfect docking stop right in the middle of the harbor overlooking the quay, exactly where I hoped we might be. Talk about a dream come true. It was not so great to Roger, though, he would have much preferred to be at the more protected seaswall on the opposite side.

We offboarded with ease (I was beginning to get comfortable with the plank thing), and walked around–first up the hill for the sea views. While there, we made plans to have dinner at the Sunset Restaurant, which is famous for having the second best sunset view in the world. We had seen the restaurant last year, but could not eat there because we had had to catch the ferry. Though last year’s sunset pictures from the old fort across the harbor were pretty spectacular, we were eager to get this viewpoint.

Afterwards, we walked back into the village to get a bite to eat and browse. We chose the same cafe where we had had a wonderful crepe last year, but this time we ordered pizza. It was amazing–piled high with veggies, soft cheese, and some feta cheese. Then we went back to the boat to get some rest. Although a lot of people got off ferrries, the town seemed quiet. Guess the economy has hit the high end places like Hydra as well as the rest of Greece. Pity.

One observation I made was that, although there were few customers, none of the shopkeepers offered bargains. You would think they’d give a discount rather than lose a sale. Roger said that it seemed the Greeks had been raising prices rather than lowering them, which seemed a bit illogical at a time when most people had less money to spend. Hopefully, the number of tourists will increase in high season (July and August) and they’ll sell their overpriced wares then.

After resting for a bit, we got into our bathing suits and headed out for a swim in the sea. Like many places, the beaches are rocky and there are stone stairs leading down to it. We walked around until we found a spot that was fairly easy to enter. Bob went in immediately, I hesitated then went in up to my waist. Still a little “fresh” for me. Then back to the boat to get ready for dinner.

At 7:30pm we set off for the Sunset Restaurant. Even before the sunset, the view is spectacular. We started our mean with two starters: smoked eggplant salad and smoked mackerel salad, both “poli poli calla” — very very good–enjoyed with rose, of course. Then we chose to share spicy mussels as an entree, with more rose. So good!

The sunset bagan just before 8:00pm. Though not as spectacularly colored as last year (it’s all about cloud types layers), it was pretty darn nice. As we ooohd and aaahd, the waiter came by and presented us with some loukoumades on the house. Loukoumades are a very popular Greek dessert. They are like little doughnuts on which honey and cinnamon have been sprinkled–too good! We find it so welcoming that meals often come with some sort of “on the house” offering–from ouzo to wine to desserts.

The evening was so idyllic that it seemed like Anthony Bourdain, Samantha Brown, Andrew Zimmerm, and/or Rick Steves (all Travel Channel celebrities) would come by and sit at our table any minute…

We sat there for a quite a while, just enjoying the ambience of the restaurant and the night air. When we decided to head back to the boat, we had to search for our waiter in order to get our check. In the way of Greek hospitality, you can sit unbothered for as long as you like, no one standing around to expedite your exit. We always share appetizers and an entree, so the meal was quite affordable–well below what we would spend in San Francisco.

We returned to Imagika some time after 10:pm, sat in the cockpit and chatted with our crew members for a bit. Roger and Michael decided to go ashore to get something to eat, and Micheal jumped onto the plank. Suddenly we heard a crack and lots of gurgling water–in plank had broken in half and Micheal was in the water. Fortunately it was not deep, nor too cold according to him. I want to beleive it was due to his weight, 17 stones he said (about 230 pounds), that caused it to crack and that it could not have happened to me!

After all the excitement, we retired in anticipation of spending the next morning in Hydra.

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