What greeted me the moment I opened my eyes in the morning, was sunshine. Fantastic, fabulous, glorious sunshine. And the clearest blue sky I could imagine. I didn’t know it then, but amazing sunshine and clear skies were to accompany me during my entire 22 day trip in Greece. I packed in a rush, checked out from the hotel and happily turned up to the same hotel as the previous night, the meeting point for my Greek Island Sailing leg of the trip.
- Travel Fact: Greece is actually made up of several islands. Whilst the larger islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, etc. are popular tourist destinations, the deserted island vibes are better in the smaller islands which lie off the beaten track. Sailing of a small boat (maximum 8 people) is an excellent way to make your way to these off beat islands and the experience is worth investing in.
We were soon divided into two groups and ushered onto our respective boats. My bunkmate, an American girl called Sarah, and I got lucky. We claimed the room right at the front of the boat – the only cabin which had a ceiling window that opened right on the deck of the boat. After a quick briefing from our skipper/ captain, we were ready to set sail.
Whilst our captain navigated the boat into the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, the rest of us settled down on the deck with our dangling feet in the ocean, and started getting to know each other over drinks. Our first port of call was to be the island of Perdika.
- Travel Fact: Perdikais a traditional fishing village and a former community in Greece. The small harbour of Perdikas lies on the SW coast of the island, 3.5 miles SSE of Aegina harbour. The harbour offers reasonable shelter in settled weather, but is open and strong winds make it untenable.
I know experiences differ between people, and what seems amazing to one person may not necessarily be amazing to another, but Perdika was truly the first time I found myself genuinely falling in love with a place. In the days to come, I would also come to fall in love with Greek food, the culture, history and lifestyle – but there and then, it was the sleepiness of Perdika that made me sigh with contentment.
- Travel Tip: Disconnect from technology. I mean it. There’s something about technology that constantly keeps us fixed to our phone or laptop screens, rendering us unable to appreciate the simpler pleasures in life and ‘living in the moment’. If you must take pictures, limit yourself to one or two pictures at each spot.
Perdika redefined what a sleepy fishing village should feel like. The harbor just had roughly six boats, and our boats made up half that number. We disembarked from our boat and strolled around leisurely along the pier, stopping at one of the little convenience store to pick up bottled water and other drinking supplies. Supplies in hand, we decided to head back to the boat for a quick swim.
The water at Perdika harbor is one of the cleanest I have ever come across. You could ump in directly into the water and see the pebbles and sea anemones right under you! This was my first time ever that I had actually jumped into the sea (with a life-jacket of course!), and it was the most amazing feeling ever! We spent around half an hour swimming, and then decided to get out, shower and get ready for dinner. The sun was setting and we were absolutely famished! Lazing around on the boat was something that I just couldn’t beat!
After an initial walk around, we stopped for dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront which served amazing seafood. I ordered rice with mixed seafood, coupled with hummus and fried squid. The restaurant owner greeted us all with complimentary glasses of the traditional Greek drink – “Ouzo”.
- Travel Fact: Ouzois ananise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Its taste is similar to other anise liquors like arak, rakı, etc. The name “ouzo” has three possible origins – either the ancient Greek word ózó (smell), due to the distinctive aroma of the drink; the Turkish word “ūzūm” (grape); or the Italian phrase “uso Massalia” a stamp denoting high quality.
After dinner entertainment was limited – in fact, there was just one thing to do: hit the only nightspot at the harbor. Dancing under the stars, below the open night sky, not a care in the entire world, we all just knew the next seven days were going to be magical. And Greece, true to its form, did not disappoint!