We hesitated to draw hard and fast conclusions from our day at the beach yesterday, and another lovely meal in Hydra Town.
In the interests of fair reportage, we decided to sacrifice another day to Apollo Helios and see if our previous impressions were consistent with what we might find today. We would be mortified if we had given an inaccurate report on the quality of life here, lest anyone make plans based on misleading information.
I am delighted to report that today was indeed very much like yesterday, which means it was very nice indeed.
We awoke in the lovely Phaedra room of the Phaedra Hotel, with the sun just about to climb above the mountain and stream onto our bed. Directly outside our room is a patio area where our breakfast is served when we are ready for it. The views are lovely, and the breakfast – just about to arrive here – is heaven, served under a massive yellow umbrella.
Okay, that was a definite replica of the day before. Good. The water shuttle was right on time, and it whisked us away to Vlychos Beach, 10 minutes away, just as before. Check. We went for the beige chair section this time – one difference – which we found most satisfactory. That was probably because it was further away from the little harbor, which discouraged some sunbathers.
So we had a great location, full sun – or full shade when we wanted it – and relative quiet for five hours. That allowed us to review the situation and to make a thoughtful comparison with yesterday.
We are pleased to report that yesterday did not mislead us. This place is idyllic and serene, just perfect for quiet contemplation of the great issues of our day, or those of ancient Greece. It’s also perfect for naps, lulled by the ocean waves, or reading – in the shade of a palm umbrella.
In short, we have finally found a place that has not been pre-empted by the rich and famous, yet which has all the charms that so other many places lack. It’s the perfect ending to our wonderful holiday. Kudos to Don for giving us three wonderful days to unwind before we return to the big city life of Athens, and then on to the big city life of New York.
Don’s Food Corner
While yesterday we opted for elegance and a re-considered spin on traditional Greek specialties, today we chose a more traditional place. It was down a narrow street leading away from the bustle of the harbor. I say “bustle” but that only means relative to the absolute silence found elsewhere on this island. I never knew exactly how much motorized traffic is an intrusion. Here on Hydra, there is none. The only noise is the clomping of the donkeys and the rattle of the wheels of suitcases as folks make their way from the boats to their hotels.
The little tavernas on the street all pretty much look the same and serve the same food, but we were drawn to one that had its tables spread out under the canopy of a few beautiful trees.
We were the only people having lunch at 4 PM. It was pretty evident from the start that we would not be getting the refined experience we had yesterday. But the lady who waited on us, clearly a member of the family that owns the restaurant, was very sweet and accommodating, as has been our experience at nearly all the restaurants we have visited in Greece.
We started with a Greek salad, of course. Here the tomatoes might not have been the ripest and the onions could have been red instead of regular white, but the price was about half of what we’ve seen elsewhere.
I had a platter of grilled sardines. The sardines weren’t large, but they were grilled perfectly. And I’m sorry that it is going to be hard to find a plate of grilled sardines back in New York, especially at this price — $8.
Jo went for, are you ready, schnitzel. Today’s version was chicken. A gigantic piece of chicken, pounded thin but still tender after being fried. A side of fries came with it — deep-fried in olive oil, which is the standard throughout Greece.
When we were getting ready to leave, our server asked us where we were from. And when she heard that we lived in New York City, she told us that she had lived and worked there many years ago — living in Astoria and working at a shop in the fur district. She had fond memories of New York ,and we told her that now we have fond memories of Hydra.