Happy Friday and welcome to another Vicarious Vacation. I can't even express how excited I am to travel with you today! Our destination promises beauty, relaxation and of course some amazing food. We are off to the Greek island of Hydra. A completely car free town, that is known for its magical architecture, stunning beaches and wonderful walking trails. Rental cars are so last year...let's use our feet and explore this gorgeous destination! We may have to forgo our stilettos but it will be worth it!
Let's board the ferry and I'll tell you more about the island on the ride...
Fans of mythology will recall that Hydra was actually a nine-headed sea monster, sister to Medusa. Yikes! Don't worry though, no such beast inhabits this majestic island. Of course, the word Hydra is also derived from the Greek word for water...which is a little more appropriate. The island of Hydra is in the Argo-Saronic Archipelago, between the islands of Poros and Spetses. Map here. Popular with artists, Hydra town, is home to quaint tavernas, chic boutiques and a gorgeous coastline. Being completely car free, (except for the town's garbage collection trucks) one must get here via ferry. Donkeys...yes, donkeys and water taxis are the only forms of transportation once on the island.
Looks like we are approaching the island. Beautiful isn't it?
Yah! We're here! Let's go check into our hotel...change into some comfortable (but cute) shoes and go exploring.
Welcome to the Hotel Miranda. Nestled amongst the white washed cottages of Hydra town, this historical building dates back to 1810 and was originally built by a wealthy sea-captain. Its 18th and 19th century artwork and furniture only add to its nostalgic charm.
That's it up ahead...
I got us lovely suites, that are simple and elegant.
Isn't that white stone archway wonderful? I love the clean white walls with the contrasting dark floors and furnishings.
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Great view from our rooms! Love the bougainvillea...
Okay ready to head out? Let's go!
You will see this blue and white architecture all over the town. Charming isn't it?
So pretty! Let's stroll down to the harbor...I think there is an open market today.
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My tummy is a rumbling...so...let's go find some gorgeous place to have lunch and soak up some sun. I'm thinking ocean side...
Welcome to the Sunset Restaurant. Famous here and highly prized by the locals and tourists alike.
Don't worry...I got us a better table than that. Only the best for us vicarious vacationers!
Images via Sunset Restaurant
How's this? Not too shabby eh? Amazing view - check. Sunshine - check. Now for some food and drink!
Is it too early for Ouzo? No, of course not. We have to have a toast after all...and what better than ouzo to kick off lunch. Ouzo is Greece's national drink and has a strong anise or licorice flavor to it. You don't need much of this potent little liquor before you understand why the Greeks love it so! The expression "Opa!" is often used upon toasting, which translates to happiness and good life!
Let's start our meal with a traditional Cretan Salad...recipe here. So lovely, crunchy and fresh. I swear I could eat feta cheese all day...
Have you ever heard of Haloumi? Well, it's a Greek cheese that originated in Cyprus. It's made with a blend of goat and sheep milk, which gives it a mild, salty flavor and because of its high melting point, it can be fried or grilled. At the Sunset Restaurant, they serve it with tomatoes and pitta bread...shall we give it a go? (recipe)
When on the Grecian islands, one must take advantage of the fresh bounty of seafood! Lobster spaghetti is a true Greek delight! Recipe. Sweet, succulent lobster meat, freshly made pasta, tomatoes and fresh herbs. Yum!
On to dessert...although not on the Sunset Restaurant's menu, I couldn't resist including one of my all time favorite desserts (which also happens to be very Greek) - Baklava. I adore this stuff. Recipe.
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Wasn't that an amazing Greek meal. I'm stuffed. How about a hike up to an old monastery ending up with a nap on the beach?
We could ride this cute little guy...but I didn't spend a fortune on these hiking sandals for nothing. Come on, we've got calories to burn.
This monastery was actually built in 1813, by the monk Ierotheos. Of the four monasteries on Hydra, this one is the most famous and frequently visited. Four monks still reside here. What a peaceful existence it must be, nestled among the mountains, overlooking the town.
I am ready for some down time. Let's head to the beach to work on our tan and have a little snooze.
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I think Mandraki beach will do nicely. Can you believe the color of the water! Stunning! Sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of the waves.
Thank you so much for coming to Greece with me. I hope you enjoyed our little adventure on this jewel of an island. Next week we head off to a new destination. It will be the last of this series (for now at least). Where are we going? It's a surprise! Make sure you come back on Friday so you don't miss it.
Have a fantastic weekend!
audio via freesound.org
Gallery of images can be viewed here.