I think I’m going to have another post on Aegina, this one will just not fit in even few of the things this island means to me and evokes in me each time. In one of my previous posts I mentioned the pistachios from Aegina, the super-fragrant pistachios that are so addictive and create such warmth (!) you want travel to the place where they got all these wonderful flavours. Pistachios from Aegina are my ‘madeleine de Proust‘.
This magic place is more than just sea & beach, although it was the first place I ever met these in my life.
Aegina is the first in lots of things. First foreign place, first restaurant, first hydrofoil, first pizza, first pistachios, first white wine, first time on motorcycle, first time in a hotel,… Well, all things considered, that was the first time I went abroad on a plane. And that was back in 1996.
And back in 1996 the place was crowded like hell with tourists, especially the popular touristic village called Agia Marina where we stayed along with people from Germany, UK, Netherlands and Russia.
When we came after an almost 10 year gap we discovered the village and its tourist places so much run down and deserted. Also the things seemed so much smaller (cause I visited the island first ‘when the trees were taller’). Less than 20 years later and here I am coming there for the 6th time in my life.
Each time I come here I notice yet another hotel or shop shut down or the level of neglect the things are left in. Cause the locals (or those who run the hotels and shops) seem to be really Greek in the way they resist anything new.
And I thank them for this decadence, although I can’t stop comparing it to what I recall from 1996, nor can I escape the thought that this just cannot continue too long. This bar shut down for lots of years already has all the things abandoned there inside with an impressive wall of photos with the fading faces, smiles and memories.
I recognize that Greek attitude even in the best and most brand new things they do. They always leave some space for letting the things flow and even better – stay as they are, the good ol’ way. The Greek way. It’s very-very close to our Russian heart, I guess.
Probably that’s why each time I think about Greece, I dream about the first place I went there (apart from the airport and seaport). And I do not regret coming to this place for the 6th time : )
And I already think about the seventh…
I just cannot stop taking photos of the same places on Aegina. And I hear Haris Alexiou in my head, cause that first time in Greece was when we first listened to her songs. And fell in love with Greece even more.
This same rope on the rocky beach where we spent most of our time can be seen on our photos dating back to 1996. I just love this conservative attitude 🙂
Thanks to which the sea is clean and there are no enormous all-inclusive hotels around. The largest hotel there should have been is the one that has never been finished and is left there in its unfinished state from 1974.
And of course if you want the best good ol’ breakfast on the rocky beach of Agia Marina – get yourself a Tiropita (white cheese pastry) from my favourite bakery (ex-crafts shop where we used to get our souvenirs) an the magic (!) Greek milk (or Ayran, the substitute for kefir)!
And then saganaki (fried / grilled) cheese with Greek salad for dinner, oooh! I think I liked it more than the Bulgarian Kashkaval version. Out of the limited number of tavernas that I think I already know by heart this time we chose On the Rocks, right in the port of Agia Marina:
Next to it is another tasty place – Lighthouse taverna. There usually all the ducks gather to get their traditional meze of the day =)
I took photos of these tavernas at the sunrise, the most emotional time of the day. Just before the sun rises there are small insects buzzing frantically around white flowers, there is this freshness in the air, the changing light. Love those moments.
With the sunrise and sunset photos you never know which one is which. These are all of the most impressive sunrise – when the bright golden disk of the sun appears somewhere from the sea behind the rock. With all my inclination towards decadence I prefer this special time just before the sunrise… or before breakfast ,)
I made my sunrise walk each morning, getting early thanks to the hour difference with Greece. And as soon as the sun rises, the world around – as if it was just holding its breath – gets on its usual carousel ride, the sun gets so hot, the crazy cicadas start ‘singing’ with maddening volume and… the shops open.)
Next time will surely do two things – swim before the sunrise and after the sunset when the sea is dark and a bit menacing.
Part two with shots of the rest of the enchanting places we managed to visit within the three days on Aegina is coming soon.