Read Part 1 here. I will say at this point that we had to scrap the idea of a direct route to Paros due to poor weather conditions, and decided to stick to calmer waters by the Saronic and Argolic gulfs instead.
Day 3: Nafplio to Spetses
Following another full day of sailing with a stop for lunch and a dip in the sea, we anchored in the waters nearby the island of Spetses. The sun was just starting to set at that point, so we took the opportunity for a final swim in the beautiful light to stretch our legs out after a long day on the boat. I daresay that it is better swimming in the late afternoon when the sun isn’t as hot, rather than around 1-2pm as we had been doing so far.
Following a shower and change of clothes, we caught the water taxi to the island where we had a reservation at one of the locally recommended upmarket seafood restaurants. Instead of a horse-drawn carriage ride (cars are banned from the island) from the harbour to the restaurant, we opted to walk the 30 or so minutes there instead, along the winding coastline, passing by some beach side bars where we’d return to later after dinner.
It was pretty handy having a Greek local amongst us as he: (1) knew exactly what to order and (2) managed to blag us a discount and free bottle of vodka to kick off the night’s festivities. Quick tip: if you plan on heading out late at night in Spetses and your boat isn’t docked in the harbour, remember to get the phone number of the water taxi to ensure you have a ride back to your boat in the wee hours of the morning! The good thing about them is that they run 24 hours a day so that’s pretty handy. Prices do go up after midnight though, so keep that in mind.
Based on the limited amount of time I spent in Spetses, and only in the nighttime at that, my impression is that it caters to the super-rich Greeks looking for a weekend getaway from Athens (there doesn’t seem to be that many tourists about) whilst keeping their traditional way of life. I do wonder whether this will change in the future though, as more tourists clock on to the existence of this lovely island.
Day 4: Spetses to Hydra
Finally getting into bed at around 3am, I was exhausted and only woke once we had arrived at our next destination the following morning at 10am. I exited my cabin to be faced by the sight of a beautiful harbour and an absolutely gorgeous day. We had arrived on the island of Hydra, my favourite place out of my entire trip.
The island is fairly small and the harbour was absolutely packed. The crescent shaped harbour is lined with a multitude of small shops, bars and restaurants, great for sitting in the shade and people watching. Interestingly, no motor vehicles are allowed on the island bar rubbish trucks and public transportation is thus made up of horses, mules and donkeys on land, and water taxis in the sea. However, the compact nature of the island means that it is preferable to walk to places, in any event.
A short walk away by the coast leads up to a viewpoint where I stayed for a half hour or so, watching boats leave and enter the island. I could’ve sat and watched the views for hours in the breeze.
Stone steps also lead the way towards the more residential parts of town, where alleys are flanked with distinct white and blue lined stone houses. Upon turning a corner every now and then, I would come across small grocery stores, public squares or tavernas…and cats. Lots and lots of cats.
Walking around in the heat took its toll after a while so we decided to go for a dip in the sea. If you head over to the left side of the harbour as you look out to the sea, there’s a good spot of jumping / diving into the water there, along with some great spots for sitting / sunbathing on the natural rocks.
The unencumbered views by the coast also make it a perfect spot for watching the sun set, so if you can time it properly, try to be ready with a drink in hand by the sunset bar for a great view set to a dramatic soundtrack (the owner of the bar played music to make it seem like it really was the final sunset we would ever see!).
After another late night out, we set sail the following morning headed for Epidauros. More to come soon…