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Saturday, June 16, 2007

A DAY BY THE SEA

June 7

A favorite day trip from Athens is a cruise over to Aegina, one of the Saronic Islands. It only takes a little over an hour to get there. I was astonished at the new beaautiful ferry - so unlike the old tubs that we used to take there. B.C. Ferries should take some lessons from the Greek naval system!

It's a pleasant cruise to Aegina. The boat passes Salamis in the Saronic Gulf, site of a historical naval battle when the Greek won a victory over the Persian fleet in 480 BC.

Aegina was itself a major player in the Hellenic world because of its stratetic position. It was a commercial centre in about 1000 BC and eventually became a premier maritime power amassing great fortune through trading with Egypt and Phoenicia. Athens attacked the island in 459 BC and Aegina was defeated and forced to pull down it's walls (you can still see fragements of them along the shore front). In the 1800's Aegina was declared the temporary capital of Greece but nowadays it is a humble island, popular with weekend tourists and Greeks who want a quiet get away.
We pulled into port just before noon and headed straight for the beach a few meters away; paid 3 Euro each of beach chairs and umbrellas and parked ourselves for the day.

The sea is shallow there and tepid, so many pleasant hours were spent floating and splashing and diving. Deb and Ingrid opted ot just lay and suntan and read while the restof us frolicked in the sea. Great fun!

We took a break ater in the afternoon and crossed the road to our favorite seafood taverna for a fine feast of kalamaria, sardines, Greek salada andother tasty goodies. Then back to the beach for more sun and swims until 7.45 when the ferrry chugged into port an it was time to leave.

It was Ingrid's last day in Greece, so later I escorted her to the airport bus and we said our farewells. It has been truly a pleasure travelling with Ingrid. She is an excellent companion and i"ll miss her company. But when I return to Vancouver the end of June we'll sit on her patio and have many things to reminisce about our adventures together.

NEXT: More Goodbyes

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