Our featured blogger discovers an idyllic island experience, less than an hour away from Athens, Greece
Recently a friend came to visit me in Athens. I feel he was somewhat disappointed or just confused that Athens wasn’t the idyllic canvas of white and blue that he had seen so many times when browsing brochures in a high-street travel agents.(OK I have exaggerated here, I am not sure people actually do this anymore.) I don’t blame him though. The poor thing had never been to Greece. I couldn’t disappoint him since he had come all this way could I?
I’m working full-time in Athens, which makes it pretty impossible for me to go to Crete or the Cyclades, but there’s a gem of an island a lot, lot closer to Athens that doesn’t get that much of a look in – Agistri. Agistri can be reached in just 50 minutes from Piraeus, first stopping at a bigger island, Aegina and then continuing on to Agistri.
We got a boat around 9am. It was a tiny, very quick boat, that got us there in next to no time. The only downside to the quick boat is that you cannot go on deck, something which the slower, bigger boats allow. But if time is precious, the smaller boat is much better.
The moment I stepped off the boat, Athens seemed like a world away. It was the end of the high season, so it was peaceful and tranquil on the island. We headed into the little village, passing moto and bicycle rental stores, as well as a few tavernas and studios to let. The centre of this particular town consisted solely of a supermarket, church and post office. Soon we were on the other side of town and on the coast, gazing in awe at the blue-green glass coloured sea.
It was still quite early, so there was nobody else on the beach. (It’s quite unheard of that any Greek will swim at 11am as my colleagues later told me.) We set up camp to relax and take a dip. The water there was incredibly calm yet salty and completely transparent – which I really like because it means I can see if there are any sea monsters beneath me. It was a little chilly – hey it was October! – but sooo relaxing after pretty after five months living in Athens.
After swimming we headed west and followed the road that snaked round Skala beach, coming across a few seafront restaurants and cafes. We headed further up away from the seafront. The first place we tried only did drinks and dinner – the friendly owner who had a weird Brit/Greek hybrid accent, enthusiastically told us it was the closing night and we should come back later and recommended his friend's restaurant for lunch, just two doors down.
We were ushered to the tables out back, offering a spectacular view of the sea, accompanied by a gaggle of cats already eagerly anticipating the leftovers we would leave for them. The owner admitted he didn’t actually have much available on the menu, but offered to knock up a Greek salad and fry up some fresh fish. The ingredients were extremely fresh and perfect for our hungry bellies. As a vegetarian, I had most of the salad . My friend ate the fish, which was simply prepared and accompanied by fresh lemons to squeeze over it. The owner apologetically explained that it was very good fish – not the first class but very good nonetheless – but my friend enjoyed it nonetheless.
We left the restaurant and walked away from the coast, past a grove of olive trees and a local man them. We then headed down and along the seafront for a while before we had to turn in land again. It was very, very quiet ihere, the only life we saw was a small horse and a goat. All the walking was tiring so it was time for another dip. This time however it was a very rocky area with no sand so we had to be extremely careful. The reward for this was having this expanse of sea all to ourselves.
Before we knew it, time had escaped us so we had to quickly dry off and go back to the port and catch the boat back to Athens. All in all I can say that the day trip to Agistri was totally worth it and to my delight made the weekend last longer and made me feel like I had a holiday, even though it was just a daytrip. You can’t argue with that!
Little Miss Curious scours the globe looking for interesting and overlooked things to write about, hopefully we can tick some things off my bucket list and I hope that this excitement of the little or big wonderful things in life can come across this page and grab you and say “See, THIS is life”.
Main image: Agistri. (Shutterstock)