Because the weather in Athens wasn't looking too great, we decided to board a ferry for the island of Hydra (pronounced EE-dra). It was a 2-hour ride from the port of Piraeus (a short taxi from Athens) to the car-less island. But before we arrived, the dreaded sea-sickness struck again!! It was a really rocky ride and the kids started throwing up (Tessa mostly, and she managed to land a good portion of it on Brian, who happened to be holding her). It was a smaller boat, and there was another American family on there with us- they happened to have some seasickness gum that they shared with us and that curbed all but one remaining Taylor vomit. We would get much closer to this family in the coming days. ;)
We landed on Hydra in the afternoon and seriously swooned at this place. Brian and I immediately looked at each other and said we couldn't spend just 3 hours here (which was when the last ferry for the day left for the ride back to Athens). But, first donkeys! There are no cars on Hydra so the only ways to get around are with water taxis and donkeys- ooh the charm!! Of course we HAD to ride the donkeys, who were lined up along the water with their enthusiastic owners pedaling rides. Taylor was a little hesitant (last time she rode a four-legged animal, she broke her arm) but the rest of us were in dreamland. Like, this is real life?? Riding donkeys on a Greek island...and a gorgeous, perfect, charming, did I say gorgeous island at that? There were beautiful, tiny, maze-like alleys flanked by whitewashed homes with flowered arches overhead...so dreamy! And, to add to the memory, those guys leading our donkeys were fighting with each other the entire 30-minute ride over who-knows-what because it was all Greek to us! But, we couldn't talk to each other because they were so loud and stubborn and we were just seriously laughing about it the whole time. During the trip, when our girls weren't getting along we would say "don't be a donkey walker" so it reminded them of how obnoxious it can be to listen to. :) Such funny, good memories. Hydra is a tiny island so we ran into the only other tourists, our American friends from the ferry ride, around every corner. They were the nicest.
Riding donkeys on a Greek island!! Taylor holding on for dear life...I love her! (Reminds Brian and I of her death grip riding bikes in downtown Paris, here)
We walked all long the paths on either side of the bay, mesmerized by the beauty and the clear, green, rocky waters of the Aegean Sea. We had to stick our toes in too! There is something about being on vacation, relaxing in warm weather and listening to water lapping against rocks (or sand, in other cases) that is so perfect. I wanted to stay in that moment forever.
We walked back and made the final choice to let the last ferry leave without us and get a cheap hotel room for one night and just sleep in our clothes. The kids were pretty excited about not having to brush their teeth or get ready for bed! After searching for a while (99% of hotels were closed due to off-season), we found two rooms at a hotel with two single beds in each. The girls all crowded in 4 deep to their two little beds in their own room. We found a yummy restaurant to eat Thanksgiving dinner- they even had turkey, but no worries, it tasted nothing like any turkey I've ever eaten. ;) And, halfway through our dinner, our American friends came to the same restaurant. So, it was like eating dinner with a big group of friends on Thanksgiving! We ate and talked for a couple of hours and then we headed off to bed for the night.
Probably just as many cats on this island as people! The alleys here were gorgeous.
Trying to find a hotel...
Ice cream makes everything better
To be continued...