Since we had seen all of Athens' main sites the day before, we decided to do a day trip today. We first considered doing a day trip to Delphi, but Norm and Cole's struggles with Greek buses in Crete made us leery of taking a public bus such a long distance. And we were planning a little too last-minute to get connected with a good organized tour to Delphi. So we decided that we would take a ferry for the day to a nearby island called Hydra.
These plans had the added benefit of making sure we figured out how to get from our apartment to the port, which we would be needing to do tomorrow as well. We learned that taking the metro was quite easy, and we didn't have much trouble finding and getting on our ferry.
Hydra ended up being a really cute, super small island town. There are no cars or motorized vehicles of any kind allowed on the island. Just donkeys and carts pulled by either donkeys or people.
When we landed, we walked one way from the port up to a lookout (and photo) area with a statue and some old cannons.
I couldn't resist getting a photo of Cole taking a photo of Norm taking a photo.
After checking out this part of the island (which took all of fifteen minutes), we walked back along the harbor and headed in the opposite direction. Here, we found a place with a great patio to eat some lunch.
Here's what Dylan and I ate.
And here are Cole and Norm's plates, compliments of Norm's picture taking.
After eating and enjoying the view for a bit, we continued our scenic walk to a nearby swimming area. This part of the island doesn't have a big beachy area, but it has a couple platforms and small rocky beaches, accessible by stairs, where you can swim.
I decided to be the designated photo-taker and stuff-watcher rather than messing with changing into a bathing suit for just a quick dip into the water. (I've been a little jealous of the guys' amphibian swim shorts.)
Post swimming, Cole showed off his heat-rash war wounds from our 30,000 step day in Athens yesterday.
From there, Dylan and Cole decided to compare/show off their vacation bellies. I figured out how to export a moving photo as a GIF just to share this gem with all of you. (You're welcome.)
I also got this majestic photo of Cole on the way up the stairs.
At this point, we walked back to the main harbor area. On the way, we came across the setup for a wedding that looked really cute. Later, we saw the bride riding through town on a donkey.
We got a few more pics at the harbor and then found a bar to have drinks and relax, watching boats coming in and out of the harbor, waiting for our 4 o'clock ferry back to Athens
After we had been sitting at the bar for about an hour, I decided to connect to the free wifi to look something up. (Side note: I usually keep my phone on airplane mode when I'm just using it to take photos during the day in order to save the battery.) When I connected to the wifi, a text message came through saying that our 4 o'clock ferry had been cancelled due to strong winds!
We went to the ferry office and found out that if we had gotten the message earlier, we could have taken an earlier ferry back. (I hadn't even considered that a possibility so I didn't even think twice about having my phone on airplane mode. But as soon as I found out, I was really bummed that it hadn't crossed my mind.)
Since we missed the earlier ferry options, we got rescheduled to the 9:20pm ferry for that night, although there was no guarentee that the weather would be acceptable for that ferry either.
At this point, we were nervous about potentially getting stuck on this tiny island overnight without any of our stuff and, more immediately, bummed about spending at minimum another five hours on the island after having done all of the activities that we intended to do.
To add injury to insult, we shortly thereafter got a message that the ferry that we had booked for the next morning from Athens to Santorini was also cancelled. We figured that we could get last minute flights from Athens to Santorini if we needed, but we didn't want to book anything immediately - since we didn't know for sure when we would be leaving Hydra and getting back to Athens.
Trying to fill up a little time and not just sit around, we explored all that was left of the town to explore and then sat at a restaurant, snacking and nursing a couple beers. A very chatty lady from Texas talked with us for a while, and one of the town cats came and hung out with us for a bit, which helped pass a little time. But otherwise, we just did a lot of sitting and waiting.
By 9:20, it was dark, and we were pretty tired and over Hydra. But we were also very happy that our ferry showed up and took us back to Athens.
Unfortunately, our happiness of getting back to Athens was short lived when we discovered that the already expensive flight options to get to the next part of our scheduled trip on Santorini tomorrow were pretty much all booked. Our only option was to take a 300 euro per person flight at 7pm the next day (Saturday). (Normally, these short island-hopper flights cost less than 50 euro.) Rather than paying for such ridiculously price-inflated plane tickets that wouldn't even get us into Santorini until Saturday evening anyways, we decided to reschedule to our only other ferry option - a very big, very slow ferry that was scheduled to leave Athens at 6pm on Saturday and arrive at Santorini at 3am on Sunday.
The one silver lining of these new plans was that we knew we could sleep in, which was good since we didn't get to bed until after 1am with our delayed ferry and travel rebooking scrambling.