Thursday, 18 May
Today started for Dolora and I with the usual outdoor breakfast, after I watched sunrise over the mountain from our room. We left our bags outside our rooms and they were loaded before we boarded the bus for a short ride to Epidavros, which was a healing center of ancient Greece, and contains the best preserved ancient theater. Our guide, Patti, met the group. The theater seated over 12,000 and has incredible acoustics. Patti could clap her hands lightly and you could hear it echo throughout the theater. A few seats and steps are new and the retaining walls have been rebuilt but the theater is largely intact. It is hard to believe that the Greeks had such a good understanding of acoustics in 400 BC.
From there it was to the museum. Along with treating physical ailments, the Greeks treated mental ailments. Body and soul were balanced. The second largest building at the site of the cafeteria. A large “hotel” and dormitory were nearby. Snakes were associated with medicine in a good way to the ancient Greeks and the symbol is seen often.
A little longer bus ride took us to Metoch where we took a half hour boat ride to the island of Hydra (EE-dra). Hydra has only a couple of motor vehicles, a trash truck, an ambulance and a truck for construction supplies. There are donkeys and small horses in the streets carrying things. Population is about 2,500. Hydra was an important location in the Greek war for independence from the Ottomans. Our group is split between two hotels. The island has strict architecture guidelines and cannot have solar hot water heaters on the roof. Each room has an electric hot water heater. We were shown the circuit breaker for our room and asked to turn it on about 15 minutes before a shower and to shut it off when we were done.
After checking into our room it was time for lunch. We ran into a couple of our tour mates and enjoyed a salad and chicken donner pita. We walked along the shore where there are many restaurants and shops. Heading a little out of town is a restaurant with a swimming area below. No sandy beaches here but rocky beaches. Further up the road was another swimming area. We headed back to town and found some ice cream, chocolate banana for me and Kit Kat for Dolora.
At six, Ioanna had a happy hour for the group. There were hors d’oeuvres and wine. We had a little fun when Ioanna asked us to write any questions that hadn’t been answered on the tour. Questions ranged from “How much olive oil does the average Greek use in a year?” to “What is your favorite color?”
Then it was off to find some dinner with a couple other tour members. The first choice from the guidebook was closed so Dolora and I ended up at the restaurant next door. After a Greek salad it was meatballs and sauce and seafood linguine. Cats are all over Greece. This was the first time they really bothered us at dinner.
I almost forgot about turning on the hot water heater before my shower. I remembered right before getting in the shower. So it was turn on the heater and wait. At least there was plenty of hot water.
Tomorrow Dolora and I are planning on a swim in the Aegean Sea if the weather is nice as predicted.