We wanted to visit at least one of “the Greek Isles” so we went to Hydra, an island off the southeastern fingers of the Peloponnese peninsula. The town at Hydra port has old buildings made of stone, plaster and stucco, all tightly packed together along the hillside around the harbor.
Knock Knock. Who’s there? Hydra, pronounced EE-drah, not HIGH-drah. Its colorful doors have beautiful old doorknockers. Many are in the shape of hands.
On our rainy March trip, we had the impression that the island’s population, highest to lowest, was cats, people, donkeys, dogs, garbage trucks (2), and no cars. The 1,900 people who live here were mostly inside while the cats and donkeys ruled the island.
Actually, each morning, donkeys line up at the wharf like longshoremen waiting for their daily work assignments.
They are loaded with all kinds of materials to deliver to other parts of the island. Since there aren’t any cars, donkeys provide the brute strength to carry heavy loads of building materials like large rocks and sacks of cement.
The harbor is filled with fishing boats and water taxis that take people around to the beaches elsewhere on the 20-mile-long island.
The cats come in all shapes and sizes.
The narrow streets in the hilly town are roughly paved with large stones. The donkeys navigate them quite easily. Cars would never fit. When it rains (and it did!) these streets become rivers. We had to walk through three inches of water when we went uphill from a restaurant to our hotel.
Elsewhere on the island the streets turn to rocky trails.
Before leaving the Peloponnese, we stopped at one more island, Poros. We took a 1Euro ferry ride across for a nice lunch. There is also a much larger car ferry, making this area not as peaceful as Hydra.
On our way back to modern Athens we had to slow for an animal crossing, just like in the movies. A goatherd had about 30 nimble goats scrambling over a small hill and down into a valley. His sheepdog didn’t seem to have any effect on the herd, but they seemed to listen to the goatherd. He yelled as one of the goats strayed onto the road and the goat did an about-face immediately.