I remember feeling quite content and in my “happy place”, even as I woke up the next morning. It was our fifth day on the yacht, and everyone was well within their comfort zones now. The only reason I even picked up my phone, or kept it next to me, was just to snap pictures whenever something caught my eye. Apart from that, we just followed the rhythm of the sun and the skipper’s instructions to remind us of mealtimes. Hours had started to mesh together and the days were literally flying by!
Ditch your phone, unless you need it to snap pictures. Also, forget about uploading or sharing them right there and then. It just takes up valuable time, and you may never get that exact moment or scenery back!
The group was quite sad to learn that we would just be covering three more islands over the next three days before we docked back at Athens - Spetses, Poros and Aegina, so we decided to make the most of it before the trip was over. Our schedule had settled into a comfortable routine: by the time the streaming rays of the sun through our windows woke us up, the boat would already be sailing. We would stop and anchor in a secluded bay for a spot of swimming and breakfast, following which we would set sail again till it was lunchtime.
Our skipper would find a beautiful spot to anchor in during lunchtime, usually close to some caves which we could swim and explore, or some spots where the water was shallow and abundant with marine life, making it perfect for snorkeling. We would spend a couple of hours here before devouring lunch (and feeding the leftovers to the fishes!), and set sail again – this time towards the island where we would be docking for the afternoon and staying the night at.
Spetses is an affluent island and a municipality in the Islands regional unit, Attica, Greece. It is sometimes included as one of the Saronic Islands. In ancient times, it was known as Pityoussa, and later as Petses. The island is now an independent municipality with no internal boundaries within the municipality. The town of Spetses is the only large settlement on the island.
Spetses was our island and port of call on the fifth day. This idyllic island, whilst not possessing the glaring beauty of Hydra or the quiet charm of Perdika, still managed to possess a ‘mysterious’ side to it. Whilst exploring, we came across some of the iconic Greek sights so popular in magazines: churches against the backdrop of the blue sky, the single blue door within a whitewashed wall, horse-drawn carriages in front of the water, to name a few.
We soon discovered that Spetses was the island that rich Athenians came to ‘chill out’ at and this was evidenced by the range of brand outfit stores and jewelry showrooms. I remember admiring a simple white cotton dress and then dropping it in a hurry when I fould that the price tag was almost 1000 Euro. That could easily have bought me another eight days on the Aegean Sea!
Our group seemed a little let down, mainly because there wasn’t really much to explore and mainly because the locals here weren’t particularly welcoming of tourists. I guess they had bigger fish to fry and did not want to waste their time on young travelers, who would probably not be splurging on 1000 Euro dresses! Even the stray dogs on the street looked ‘fluffy’ and were in good health, suggesting that money was aplenty on this island. The only friendly faces we came across were those of the horse carriage drivers, and we accepted their offer of a short tour gratefully (after negotiating a reasonable price, of course!).
If you come across a unique opportunity during your travels, do your best to ensure that you get to experience it, even if it means parting with some of your valuable cash. You can always buy ‘stuff’ later, but experiences and memories are priceless!
Dinner was a low key affair, as we all considered the skipper’s recommendations and eventually opted for a quaint restaurant built directly over the water, where you could feed the fishes swimming underneath. A set menu containing an appetizer (choice of mixed canapés or bruschetta), a main course (I opted for freshly caught monkfish) and a glass of wine set us each back 20 Euros, but it was an excellent deal for Spetses, where the typical main course dishes were priced in the range of 35-60 Euros!
Our next port of call was the lovely and lively island of Poros. After the non-committal attitudes of the locals at Spetses, we were delighted to once again be greeted by the famous Greek hospitality of the locals. Although Poros also had little to see in the immediate vicinity of the harbour, the laid back charm and artsy vibe of the island was apparent as soon as we landed. We decided to have an evening snack whilst we watched the sunset, deciding on this quaint family-run café by the pier which served amazing crepes with generous filings of eggs, tomato and feta cheese, costing only two Euros per head!
Poros is an island with rich vegetation. Much of the northern and far eastern/western sides of the island are bushy, whereas large areas of old pine forest are found in the south and center of the island. In the northeastern part of the island, in a location called “Kavos Vasili”, the archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a settlement of the Early Bronze Period. This settlement is believed to be interrelated with the wreck found on the nearby Dokos island which dates to the same period.
With nothing much to do on the island at night (the nightclubs and bars were all empty!), we decided to opt for a late dinner under the stars at an open air traditional Greek taverna. Their vegetarian moussaka was simply outstanding, and the chef’s recommendation of seafood spaghetti with mussels, calamari and king prawns was something that still haunts me in my dreams! Poros was also where we finally had the opportunity to try ‘limoncello’, the traditional citrus lemon liqueur, unique to the Gulf of Naples.
Our last and final port of call was the island of Aegina, where we were heading the next day. Although the group was sad (we had bonded pretty strongly over the past week), the general consensus was that the final day would be something unforgettable for sure.
Jennifer aims to travel all of the Globe within the next ten years, either solo or with company. Suffering from a serious case of wanderlust, she seeks to absorb the essence and soul of a place, rather than chilling back in a resort. She is always up for new travel adventures so if you’re a kindred soul, get in touch!