Τρίτη, 20 Νοεμβρίου 2012

CNN TRAVEL: ΥΔΡΑ ΕΝΑ ΜΑΓΙΚΟ ΝΗΣΙ ΚΟΝΤΑ ΣΤΗΝ ΑΘΗΝΑ


Hydra, Greece: Magical island a world away from Athens




The Greek island of Hydra (two hours south of Athens by hydrofoil) has one town, no real roads, no cars, not even any bikes. Zippy taxi boats whisk you from the brisk little port to isolated beaches and tavernas. Sure-footed beasts of burden climb stepped lanes -- laden with everything from sandbags and bathtubs to bottled water. Behind each mule-train toils a human pooper-scooper. I imagine picking up after your beast is required.
Locals like to tell of movie stars who make regular visits. Understandably, each evening ritzy yachts tie up to concrete piers, off-loading their smartly dressed fun-seekers. The island is so quiet that, by midnight, they seem to be back on board watching movies. Sitting on a ferry cleat the size of a stool, I scan the harbor -- big flat screens flicker from every other yacht.
The island once had plenty of spring water. Then, about 200 years ago, an earthquake hit and the wells went dry ... a bad day for Hydra. Today, Hydra's very hard water is shipped in from wetter islands. No wonder showering (lathering and rinsing) is such an odd frustration.
The island is a land of tiny cats, tired burros and roosters with big egos. While it's generally quiet, dawn teaches visitors the exact meaning of "cockcrow." Cockcrow marks the end of night with much more than a distant cock-a-doodle-doo. It's a dissonant chorus of catfights, burro honks and what sounds like roll call at an asylum for crazed roosters. After the animal population gets that out of its system, the island slumbers a little longer.
While tourists wash ashore with the many private and public boats that come and go, few venture beyond the harbor front. Leaving our hotel, I was heading downhill. My wife, Anne, diverted me uphill and our small detour became a delightful little odyssey. While I had no intention of anything more than a lazy stroll, one inviting lane after another drew us up, up and up to the top of the town. Here, poor shabby homes enjoyed grand views, tethering tired burros seemed unnecessary, and island life trudged on oblivious to tourism.
Over the crest, we followed a paved riverbed (primed for the flashfloods that fill village cisterns each winter) down to the remote harbor hamlet of Kamini -- where 20 tough little fishing boats jostled within a breakwater. Children jumped fearlessly from rock to rock to the end of the jetty, ignoring an old man rhythmically casting his line.

http://articles.cnn.com/2007-10-15/travel/greece.hydra_1_hydrofoils-burros-taxi-boats?_s=PM:TRAVEL

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