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Hydra
Hydra Village
#About the Island where Mules are the Main Form of Transportation

The Island of Hydra is a long and narrow island that lies across from the southern beaches of Greece. The capital of the small island lies on the large cliff, along the water line. All that is interesting in Hydra is located on the water line, and on the streets closest to it. If you walk a kilometer on the beach line towards the west, you will reach an authentic village, with very few tourists, called Kamini.

In the 1960's Hydra became a center for bohemian artists to meet, authors and the shining inner circle, and until today the island still constitutes a popular vacation destination for the residents of Athens and many tourists. There are excellent restaurants and fun night life.

Many vacationers come to the beaches of the island. Hydra is a special island in Greece, it is less an island for spectacular beaches and more a place for a relaxing atmosphere, calm and special. This may have to do with the fact that no motorized vehicles are allowed, no motorcycles or cars, or motorized boats. Moving between the island villages is by mules only, there are no roads or traffic lights on the island. This might sound outdated, but it is exactly what gives Hydra its special charm, and turns it into a first class day trip destination for tourists coming from Athens.

In the past Leonard Cohen bought a house near the monastery on the island, the legendary singer-writer. He lived here for a long period, and inspired by Hydra and its atmosphere, he wrote some of his most famous songs here.



#History of the Island

In recent centuries Hydra has gained a very interesting history. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the center of important marine time merchants. Back then, many rich merchants lived here, that made their fortunes from trading legal, as well as illegal merchandise, not once these trades were tied to smuggling and piracy.

The big stone houses were built by rich locals on the island in a style that characterized the strong merchant cities of the Mediterranean Sea. The houses surround the port until today and remind of the Italian cities Genoa and Venice.

The old canons that are still on the walls of the port of Hydra, directed towards the sea, tell the tales of the need to fortify the port and defend access to it, from hostile guests and unwanted forces. The fact that it was able to defend itself in those times, Hydra was more or less an independence island, that somehow managed to distance itself from the rule of the Ottomans then, who ruled Greece.

The independence war of Greece turned the merchants of the island to supporters, and they made a fleet of boats available for the navy of the Greek rebels of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to this fleet, one of the most important factors in the Greek victory, the Turks were removed, and Greece gained its independence. Georgios Kountouriotis, a Hydra born local, one of the independence war heroes, became the Prime Minister of Greece in 1848.

From here, Hydra became a peaceful and serene place, until the 1960's, when it was 'occupied.' This time, the occupiers were celebrities and well-known people, like the singer Leonard Cohen, and the movie star Sophia Loren who moved here during different periods, and made this island famous around the world.



#Tips

Each day at 8:30 am there is a ferry to Hydra. It is a 3.5-hour ferry ride.



A Closer Look at the Island of Hydra

https://youtu.be/QY_-bewUMFQ



Wandering Around the Island:

https://youtu.be/P2MQg2L9mlU



A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/78XcQmsX7-c



The Beaches and Sea Around the Island:

https://youtu.be/bDK6lxjh_6A
Attica Zoological Park
Attica Zoological Park
#About the Historical and Cultural Museum of Greece

Attica Zoological Park is the largest zoo in Greece. There are over 350 species, and it creates a wonderful attraction to all animal lovers, especially children.

There are a wide variety of animals, all sorts of mammals, birds, and amphibians. Come see the lemurs, monkeys, turtles, kangaroos, and rare birds. It is worth to find out the feeding hours for the animals - something kids really enjoy.

The biggest attraction here is the dolphin shows and the elephant seal pool. These are only some of the interesting sea mammals that are here at the zoo.

Attica Zoological Park is located about 45 minutes away from the center of Athens by car. The park is outside of Athens, in nature.


#Tips

The zoo is open on Sundays, which makes it a popular weekend attraction, especially when most of the shops and attractions in town are closed on this day.

One can easily spend 3 hours here with children.

5 minutes from the Attica Zoological Park is a large complex with kid games and large stores, that sells toys for very cheap. With younger children you can spend a whole day at both attractions.



A Visit:

https://youtu.be/oxb12kqQytw



The Dolphin Show:

https://youtu.be/EgDP4hkT2Co?t=50s
Aegina
Aegina
#About the Island of Pistachios, Close to Athens

The Island Aegina is 25 kilometers from Athena, and is part of the Saronic Islands of the Saronic Gulf. The beautiful and loved island is adored by the people and artists of Athens, thanks to them there is quite a lot of cultural activity in the summer nights.

Aegina is considered a heaven for pistachio lovers. Pistachios that are grown on the island are considered very special. They are marketed around Greece and even Europe. You can taste and buy then on every corner on the island in a variety of shapes, including cakes and treats based on pistachios.

In summer, well off residents from Athens come to their second homes on this island and join the hundreds of locals that work in Athens and take daily ferries to work and back.

Aegina is a quiet, peaceful and modest island, with a calm Greek character, very different from the known Cyclades Island, with the magnificent beaches like Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, or the powerful look of islands like Santorini.

The island is named after Aegina, the mother of Aeacus. According to Greek mythology Aeacus was born on this island, and was also its ruler. In the 7th century BC up to the 5th century BC sat here Aegina Polis, the city-state that was the enemy of Athens. In the 16th century, in the war of the Turks and the Venetians, the Ottoman fleet conquered the island. Turkish soldiers killed 6,000 people, including the majority of the men. They then took the women and children for forced labor. In the 19th century Aegina was the temporary capital of Greece, and then returned to its relative obscurity.

The port of Aegina is an important center of the town, also called Aegina. This is a vibrant town and peaceful town all at once, that except for its lively market, offers a variety of tavernas, cafes and different stalls. You can wander around here and spend a few nice hours, with great food, a sea breeze and peaceful Greek atmosphere, that are not crowded.



#Attractions for Entertainment for a Day Trip on the Island

In Aegina you will find one of the best gyros in Greece. The high-quality souvlaki is located in Appia 32 in Aegina. This is the main street, parallel to the port and marina.

More great tavernas can be found near the gyro mention above, in a street parallel to the marina street. Cross the famous fish market of Aegina and reach it.

In the port, you will see the single standing column from the Temple of Apollo. This temple in the past stood in the port area.

The remains of the ancient synagogue, that was on the island in the 3rd century BC, can seen behind the hotel Avrá.

Many tourists go to the beaches of the Aegina marina, the most popular on the island. A rented car or bike will bring you right to the beach and the small beach town nearby, Agia Marina.



#Tips

Aegina is connected to Athens by dozens of ferries and hovercrafts daily. Each day from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm they sail back and forth, from Piraeus to Aegina, and back - an hour-long trip by ferry, and only 40 minutes by hovercrafts.



A Closer Look at the Island of Aegina:

https://youtu.be/f6wfddN-NR0


A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/NZZJu4j5hTU



Attractions and Places in the Island of Aegina:

https://youtu.be/LiVn6COJ_4c
Piraeus Harbour
Port of Piraeus
#Athens' Port, the Most Important in Greece

Since the ancient days, the Port of Piraeus was the main port of Athens, and the largest in Greece. Today the title remains, as the main port of Greece, the port where many of the cruises to different islands and countries leave, if in the Mediterranean Sea or further away.

Piraeus is a classic port city, like in songs and books. You will find here a port and everything that is expected from a port city, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. The honking of cargo ships, and passenger ships declaring the start of their journey. Ticket stands and travel agencies, marine equipment stores, and cargo that has just arrived with the ships, warehouses and tax houses, the harbor stevedores, loading cranes, tavernas and bars along the main street of the port, lines of cars waiting to board the ferries.

You have arrived at the Port of Piraeus - for generations songs and books were written about this port, and now you are finally here as well. Enjoy!



#What is There to do at the Port of Piraeus?

The area of the Port of Piraeus is among the liveliest areas in Athens. It's nice to walk along the port, near the boats, shuttles and yachts that dock here. A meal in one of the many tavernas scattered around, will reward you with a dinner of seafood and fish.

On Sundays, near the Port, there is the local flea market of Piraeus, that offers mostly clothes, tools, vintage items and antiques. The flea market concentrates around the train tracks and to Alipedou Street. On days when there is no market, in the streets of Piraeus behind the port, you will find many interesting and cheap stores.

From the Port of Piraeus you can leave on a day cruise, to one of the close islands to Athens and to any Greek island. The island of Aegina is pleasant and only a short boat ride away. Longer sailing will get you to one of the most picturesque islands of Greece - Hydra.




#Tips

From the Port of Piraeus many cruises leave towards the Greek Islands, including close islands, Aegina and Hydra, but also further islands, like Paros, Naxos, Santorini, Ios, Mykonos, Lesvos, Crete and more.



A Closer Look at the Port of Piraeus:

https://youtu.be/RmVgIvVerDA

Outside of Athens

Vouliagmeni Lake
Lake Vouliagmeni
#About the Spa Lake with Impressive Cliffs

About an hour drive from the center of Athens is Lake Vouliagmeni (Limni Vouliagmenis), nicknamed the Sunken Lake. This is a beautiful lake located in the suburbs of the big city. Its splendid location, close to the sea and with views of impressive cliffs, gives it an impressive and dramatic look. It is a favorite among locals, as a preferred place to swim.

The lake water is sweet and comes from a natural warm underground stream more than 100 meters below the surface. In the lake the stream water mixes with the salt water. The water's temperature varies between 21 to 27 degrees Celsius, and turns the lake into a sort of spa, that is fit for swimming all year long.

Especially nice are the small fish that peck at your feet, at anyone who stands in one place for too long.


#Tips

On the lake's shores are showers and restrooms.

Nearby is also a cafe, not that cheap, but nice.

The entrance fee is 12 euros per person.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/cCaLxDz-Do4


A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/djJWmNRCEEw


Another Look:

https://youtu.be/PIxvMUNluJo
Cape Sounio
Cape Sounion
#About the Temple of Poseidon with the Beautiful Sunsets

The Temple of Poseidon is located in Cape Sounion, in the corner of the Sounion peninsula

The temple, who many simply call Cape Sounion, is one of the most famous temples in Greece, and without a doubt of the most impressive, not only in its classic architecture, but also in its location. This is an ancient site located on an extremely picturesque spot, on a hill located right at the end of the Sounion peninsula, surrounded by the endless blue sea, with a panoramic view of the Saronic Gulf towards the faraway islands, especially the island of Patroklos that is right across.

For thousands of years that the remains of the monumental Temple of Poseidon have been overlooking the Cape towards the sea. It stands on the high hill at the southern end of Attica Island, only 69 miles southwest of Athens and thousands of years from the modern age.

By the way, a pretty place to take a photo of the temple is from the hill nearby. From here you can capture the temple and the marble columns across from the blue sea, with white sailing boats in the background.


#History of the Temple of Poseidon

The temple was built around the year 440 BC, during the Classic period of Ancient Greece. This was apparently part of the famous building plan of Pericles in Ancient Athens. Researchers are certain that the Temple of Poseidon itself was designed by the same architect that built the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens.

Actually, the Temple of Poseidon was built over the ruins of an earlier temple, that was destroyed about 40 years before the construction. These were the soldiers of Xerxes I, who invaded the ancient temple and destroyed it, while destroyed the Acropolis as well. Xerxes I is the Greek named for Ahasuerus I, King of Persia Hamman in the years 485 to 465 BC.


The beauty of the place left a big impression of many throughout history. In the Sounion peninsula and Cape Sounion visited one of the most well-known people to have been influenced by the place. This was the British poet Lord Byron. He visit here between 1810-1811, when he made his first visit to Greece and lived in Athens for a few months. The name of the romantic English poet is etched today on the base of one of the temple's columns, it is though that he himself carved the words into the stone, though this is not proven. Either way, the Lord Byron also reminds Sounion in his song "Isle of Greece":

Place me on Sunium's marbled steep
Where nothing save the waves
and I May hear our mutual murmurs sweep.


#Fun at Cape Sounion

A half day trip or full day trip to the area of Vouliagmeni, south of Athens, and particularly Cape Sounion on its southern tip, will be a lot of fun for everyone. Not far from the temple you will see wonderful beaches, where you can combine a pleasant Middle Eastern vacation, with the historical culture that is seen in this classic and impressive temple to the god Poseidon.

In general, Cape Sounion is really close to the center of Greece, and is no more than an hour and a half from Athens, or a 20-minute ride from Athens' international airport. Come and visit!



#Tips
The temple is open every day from 9:30 am until sunset.

The entrance fee is 4 euros per person.

There is an eatery at the entrance to the site, but be sure to bring a water bottle with you, it may get hot.


A Closer Look at the Cape Sounion:

https://youtu.be/Bk7BeWrDyww


A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/Kuu2CXIyE2I


אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

העולם הוא צבעוני ומופלא, אאוריקה כאן בשביל שתגלו אותו...

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בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

שלום,
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