We knew that our intention was to take two side trips from Athens to nearby islands, and decided that in order to maximise city-country contrast, we should take the excursions on Tuesday and Thursday. Today’s trip would be to the car-free island of Hydra (also written ‘Ydra’ and ‘Idra’, and pronounced ‘EE-dra’ by locals). The normal English-language version of the name underlines the fact that it originates from the number of natural water springs that are present on the island.
Hydra is a two-hour passage (by fast ferry) across the Saronic Gulf from the Athenian port of Piraeus, including a brief stop at Poros. Time passed reasonably quickly, although high-speed craft tend to keep passengers rather insulated from their surroundings.
The island’s main town, Hydra Port, proved to be delightful, a feeling greatly enhanced by the lack of motor vehicles. We began our explorations by walking along the waterfront in brilliant, midday sunshine, continuing around the headland at the western end of the bay. Eventually returning to the main waterfront area, we took a brief diversion through inland streets and lanes before choosing a lunch venue. We completed our time on the island with a shorter walk to the headland on the eastern side of the bay, before Flying Cat 5 arrived to pick us up and retrace her morning route back to Piraeus.