33mm ISO400 1/400 f/25
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Another overnight dimensional leap brought us into a bright, sunny day, heading towards Aegina. It didn’t involve a particularly early start, but it was worth getting up a bit earlier than normal for another look at the Corinth canal. It really is a fantastic work of engineering and I loved the telescopic mechanism for opening the bridge. I’ve seen bridges rise up, or swing apart, but never retract.
It was calm, peaceful sailing until we reached Aegina, the largest of the Saronic islands and the one closest to Athens, only 45 minutes away by hydrofoil. We’d visited Aegina before, but many years ago. It looked unfamiliar until the first sign of the pistachio nut stalls, then it all came flooding back.
The bus took us first to the far end of the island, were we experienced yet another fantastic sight/site, the Temple of Aphaia. Another uphill hike had the muscles screaming again, but we heard wonderful tales of how the island got its name from a persecuted nymph. Unfortunately, the guide we had on this occasion was not up to the usual standard. She was difficult to follow and lacked the enthusiasm of our previous guides.
We passed on the museum, saving ourselves for the next visit, to the site of another temple of Apollo, at Kolonna, just outside Aegina town. Only a single column remains standing, but it’s a major landmark on the island. While we were ashore the liner pulled away from its mooring to allow another ship to dock and didn’t return until 6:00 pm. We passed the time having lunch, reading and chatting and watching the to-ing and fro-ing of ships and hydrofoils. It’s grim life, but somebody has to do it!
After a short siesta we returned to explore Aegina Town by night. We had a couple of ouzos inn a picturesque bar behind the fish market, wrapped in the smoke of grilled octopus and other fish and seafood. We finished the evening with some Greek pancakes full of ham, cheese and tomato, with herby cheese spread over the folded circle. Again, it was all locals in the place, with lots of friendly banter going on between the customers and the waiters.
As we were returning to the boat, we met Stelios again. He recognised us from our previous encounter and asked if we’d had a good time. He seemed genuinely pleased when we assured him that we’d had a brilliant time and thanked him for making it possible. It may have been an economy package, but it was a mega-rich experience.(Karmanie)