Aegina, Greece

I can’t believe it. I’ve been to three Greek islands in the last year! During my first trip to Crete in November, I was completely broke, starving, with only a bag of cereal to last me for 48 hours. I had four flights before landing back on Irish soil. This was by far the worst experience I’ve had in airports due to my lack of sleep, food, security and water. I was sleeping on top of my clothes–some rolled up into a pillow, using my jacket and scarves as blankets and no place to wash-up. Thankfully, this third vacation to Aegina was everything I could have wanted and more. The ferry we took to the island was 50 minutes from the port of Piraeus (Πειραιάς). I was with a great group of people; my best friend from Canada, my boyfriend, and a good friend we met in Athens.

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Aegina (Αίγινα) is located in the Saronic Gulf, only 27 kilometres from Athens. There are three ports on the island: Aegina, Souvala and Agia Marina. As soon as we got to Piraeus at 7:30 in the morning, I realized that I had made a mistake. My boyfriend and our friend were staying in the town of Aegina, and once our ferry tickets were printed out I could finally see that we were heading to the wrong port, and then leaving from another. I tried to change ports, but I was sent back and forth between the ticket shops and the boats. Eventually, after talking to a few different workers, I said screw it! We would arrive in Souvala (Σουβάλα), and then leave from a different one; Agia Marina (Αγια Μαρινα). The guys had no wifi the night before we arrived and didn’t know we were going to be there so early. When I could, I called my boyfriend and told him we were there. Barely awake, they said they could come pick us up in an hour and a half. Since we had some time to kill once we got there, we decide to wander into one of the surrounding neighbourhoods. A few turns later with no destination and down a rocky path, we found refuge near the water.

 

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We headed back before they were due to get us, and then we were off to explore some more of the island. Our Greek/Swedish friend has already been to the island before, so he knew his way around. The streets were similar to those in Ireland; winding roads, except with more quads and scooters zooming in and out of the lanes. It wasn’t as crazy as it was in Mykonos, but I still wouldn’t have been comfortable driving. We only had two scooters, so as expected, the guys were in control of the wheels. Next stop: Agia Marina, to find a place to stay. After stealing some wifi from a beachfront café and then not being able to find our hotel for a few minutes because the lack of a noticeable sign, we arrived and were able to rest before going out for the day.

First to the beach, where the water was clear, a sparkling blue and it took minutes to walk out to get waist-deep. The beach near my house in Athens drops after about 5 feet, so it was crazy how shallow the water was and how far out we could get by walking. It was an amazing view from far enough out, and it would’ve been even better if I was wearing my glasses…

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After the beach we went to the ancient town of Paleachora (Παλιαχώρα). I didn’t want to take any pictures here so I could really experience it, and it was truly amazing. This village was for a millennium (9th century until early 19th century AD) the island capital. Paleachora means old-town, and scattered on the hill are the remains of the numerous churches and temples. It’s said that they had 365 churches, one for each day of the year, but now only a few remain completely upright. We tried to go see the Temple of Aphaia (Ναός Αφαίας), but we were cheap and didn’t want to pay 6€ for one ticket. Our friend then drove us around the island and we found a nice spot to sit and watch the sunset, higher up in the mountains. It started to rain on the way to the hotel, and it was a thrilling ride back. We decided to go out to town to get a little drunk, and I’m pretty sure I passed out before anyone else.

The last day on the island was quite miserable when it came to the weather. It rained for the entire day until we were walking to our ferry back to Piraeus. It didn’t help that we were all somewhat hungover, but either way, this was a trip that I’ll never, ever forget!

To be honest, I started writing this over a week ago. I was trying to put into words how amazing my short vacation was, but I’m filled with sadness because I’m leaving Greece in 2 days. It also happens to be my birthday and I can’t believe that I’ve made it to 19 years old. Thinking about my days on the island make me reminiscence a bit too much on how far I’ve come since moving to Europe last July. Even though I’ll be back in Canada for at least 6 months, I’m going to live in Europe again sometime in 2018, no questions asked!

 

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