It is always a little haunting arriving at a foreign airport on your own with customs, security, locating your luggage and hoping like crazy that your prebooked transfer will be there to take you to your hotel. You are likely to be exhausted already from an early start so I know it is an extra charge but for me worth it rather than finding a taxi rank or even an airport bus or metro. When you see that person holding a sign with your name on it you breathe a sigh of relief! Or maybe that is just me!
Athens was no different as you almost collapse into the back seat of the vehicle and the driver seems to be able to find your hotel amidst crazy traffic and drivers. A quick check in, a shower and off to the roof top bar to find your new best friends…at least some of them…for the next ten days. A glass of wine and a view across to the Acropolis and you begin to relax.
After meeting our guide the following morning we take the train to Piraeus and catch the ferry across to the island of Aegina the first of the islands where we are lucky to stay. What can I say? The water is a blue and beautiful as you see in photos and a an hour later you are transported to your hotel for the next few days. Our lunch was a series of shared plates prepared by a lovely Greek woman who cooked with love and great flavours. It has been tough with the financial stress faced by Greece but tim and time again over the next week I admired the resilience of these wonderful hard working people.
Pistachio products abound and we are off to visit a pistachio farm. I have never seen a pistachio tree though I have now discovered there are pistachio farms near where I live. I was somewhat bemused when the owner of the farm announced he had four hundred trees…one for each of his sons. It seemed that daughters did not enter into the equasion! When I told him I knew a local farmer where I lived who sold his pistachios at our farmers market had ten thousand trees he really couldn’t comprehend that number. I purchased some pistachio products which made it successfully back to Australia through customs. They were a pistachio butter and a paste. I am sure they will go into a cake, biscuit or frosting in the near future.
The following morning we headed down to catch another ferry this time to get another gorgeous island. This time it was Poros where we had a fabulous view from our balcony. It was also where we had our first Greek salad at a restaurant overlooking the water. And the piece of feta was maybe the largest on any salad I have seen. Beers went down very well with the squid salad…maybe the best one ever.
Dinner that night was down town with views of the water and very expensive boats! And I mean very expensive. How the other half live but I enjoyed being here in the middle of May as I imagine July and August it would be very busy and quite hot. I had moussaka for dinner in spite of it being a seafood restaurant. It was nice but quite heavily flavoured with cinnamon! Our guide the amazing Sylvia promised me that I need to try her mother’s moussaka which we would be able to try in a few days visiting her family’s restaurant. And I did and it was excellent.
On the water again the following day with a day trip to Hydra. Stay tuned! It is beautiful!