Return to Dalbeattie Domain Server
The Mermaid of Poros, Greece

Poros 2006, A week in June in Greece

~ Index ~
~ First Day ~ Second Day ~ Third Day ~ Fourth Day ~
~ Fifth Day ~ Sixth Day ~ Seventh Day ~ ~ Eighth Day ~
~ Attractions ~ Tavernas ~ Other Businesses ~ Links ~
~ Saga Hotel, Poros ~ Poros 2007 Blog ~
~ Poros History ~ Poros Index ~


Day Six : Monday June 5th 2006 -
The Visit to Hydra


  • A Journey in the Wrong Seats.
  • Japanese and Donkeys.
  • The Harbour of Hydra.
  • The Cannon and Windmills.
  • The Donkey Corniche Paths.
  • A return in good company.
  • Using a Cirrus terminal at the National Bank.
  • Galatas and the Apollo Cafe.
  • A water-taxi and the 'Aquarius 2000'.
  • Zefi's Marvellous Moussaka.

Flying Cat 1 about to dock at Poros
Flying Cat 1 about to dock at Poros

Much better at last and walked to the ferry office for tickets for the 11:05 ferry to Hydra, the Flying Cat 1, which left at 11:15, after fears we had missed it. Biggest headache when aboard was that a woman with a large bag had taken our booked seats and Jenny was reluctant to let me tell the interloper to get out. Managed despite that to take pictures from another point of Bourtis fort on its island at the approaches to Poros harbour. Other pictures of the Argolis peninsula, which looked incredibly arid and over-grazed. We reached Hydra itself at 11:45, a port and marina in a mediaeval harbour, getting off with a medley of tourists including a swarm of Japanese with cameras.

Bourtis Fort and island near Poros
Bourtis Fort and island near Poros
Arid Argolis
Arid Argolis
Port of Hydra
Port of Hydra

Oh, the Japanese ! I had just got a nice shot lined up of a local donkey with a tapestry saddle when a Japanese tourist pushed past and ruined the shot. Fortunately, I managed to get other shots, including one of two working donkeys, one laden with two silver-painted gas-cylinders, the other carrying what looked like electrical channelling for buildings. The donkey appears to be the vehicle of choice, even as motos are in Poros and cars in Athens. A glance up at the steep hills about Hydra reveals why - outside the town's tourist trap, the roads diminish to steep tracks and the best transport is a donkey or Shanks's Pony. Regrettably, we could not afford a donkey, so it kept us within a couple of kilometres of the town.

We walked round the harbour, into a disused monastery and up past various curio shops and Tavernas towards windmills and emplacements for cannon that once defended the town. Sadly, these cannons are so badly rusted and damaged that they need the cast concrete supports just to keep them together. It was a powerful reminder that from Byzantine times, through Venetian and Turkish occupation, the Aegean islands were frequently attacked not just by national navies but by fleets of pirates and corsairs. Now, the islands are besieged by hordes of tourists after sun, sand, sex, ouzo and imported sangria; we passed one place where the accents were Essex and Midlands. The funny thing was that the young men seemed to spend their time competing with each other in the sea, whilst the young women preferred to bask in the sun in inadequate bikinis. I lost a bet with myself when one of the women actually went for a swim to cool off, but Jenny gently explained that it was the tan, not the sea, that was the objective.

Cannon on Hydra Dockside
Cannon on Hydra Dockside
Riding Donkeys for Tourists
Riding Donkeys for Tourists
Working Donkeys with bottle of gas
Working Donkeys with bottle of gas

Nice and Monte Carlo have the Corniche roads on the hills behind them, but Hydra has three parallel donkey tracks, only the lower ones being passable for traffic. Donkey dung was the hazard, rather than dog-dirt, but we evaded the dirt and got some good pictures. Jenny used her disposable camera to get some pictures, as she complained that I tend to download pictures onto the laptop, where they remain forever. Maybe she has a point. Anyway, the fabric sailed windmills of Hydra were not turning that day, but they still have the kind of beauty you expect, even outside Crete.

Back in 1957, the producer Jean Negulesco chose Hydra as the place to film 'Boy on a Dolphin', starring Sophia Loren as a Greek woman (!) with an unreliable Albanian boyfriend, who discovers a bronze statue of a boy on a dolphin whilst collecting sponges. All unknowing, I actually photographed the windmill and the old cannon that featured in the film, only learning the truth in October 2006. The starting credits show a few good shots of Poros old town and harbourfront as a way of setting the scene, but otherwise it's a Hydra job.

Jenny at a (closed) monastery
Jenny at a (closed) monastery
Hydra Harbour - the Clock Tower
Hydra Harbour - the Clock Tower
Windmill at Hydra
Windmill at Hydra

Lunch was a cheese toastie down by the harbour and a drink of orange. The Taverna chosen was near the Clock Tower and the least 'in your face' - the Hydra Greeks felt too eager to grab a sale and I gave up approaching some buildings. The ferry came at 1425 - again, Flying Cat 1 - and boarded it with a pleasant Greek from Galatas, a lad called Spiro who we had met on our outgoing journey. More pictures on the way back, but the salt spray problem on the viewports remained a problem for decent photography. However, we were back in Poros by 15:30.

I needed to make sure that we had enough cash to hand, so made the experiment of going to the National Bank's ATM to use my RBS Highline card's Cirrus service. Total success - 80 Euros extracted painlessly - so we decided to take a water-bus to Galatas for 70 cents per head and promenade along the front. Thirsty by then, so to Apollos café for some cooling drinks.

Farewell to the Flying Cat
Farewell to the Flying Cat
Water bus between Poros and Galatas
Water bus between Poros and Galatas
Apollo Cafe, Galatas, on the seafront
Apollo Taverna, Galatas, on the seafront

Galatas is very much a working town; there were Tavernas near the ferry wharf for Poros, but elsewhere it meant business. There is a large seafront carpark to the northeast of the town, we guessed for people who live outside Galatas and work in Poros. Also we saw one of the scharos boats used for light-fishing - old, small but an icon of Greece. Back along the waterfront to a pier with a covered waiting area, so we sat there a bit then took a water-taxi for about a Euro back to Poros.

The interesting surprise on the way back was another piece of business - the 'Aquarius 2000', a water tanker offloading maybe 2,000 tonnes of drinking water. More honour to the municipality for that piece of commonsense.

Scharos lamp fishing boat, Galatas
Scharos lamp fishing boat, Galatas
Poros Water Taxi by Aquarius 2000
Poros Water Taxi by Aquarius 2000
Aquarius 2000 water tanker
Aquarius 2000 water tanker

At Saga Hotel we briefly met Frances and Dennis, then discovered that we were in for a treat - Zefi served her Moussaka with chips and side salad, creating a dish that Jenny agreed was almost as light as a soufflé, certainly far better than the one sampled at George's Taverna. We also met Martin and Bernie - Martin was a webmaster with a small site on the Saga Hotel, so he and I agreed to exchange links. All in all, a very pleasant and productive meal.

Heroes Square...and Taverna Rota
Heroes Square...and Taverna Rota
Zefi's Marvellous Moussaka
Zefi's Marvellous Moussaka
Villa Gallini from seafront
Villa Gallini from seafront

Still unable to settle and with a good evening, Jenny and myself walked along the front past the Theona Hotel and Spiro's Taverna, past the White Cat (which seemed to be enjoying good business) and to the Villa Gallini for a few photos. From there, into Poros to our favourite Cinema Café for a coffee for Jen and a tea for me.

Top

© 2006 Richard Edkins, Dalbeattie Internet.