A day on Hydra Island


img_1004img_1030img_1034img_0938img_1082Two hours and half from Athens, on the ferry, one can find the island of Hydra. I go there just as Leonard Cohen  releases a new album and when a number of interviews  remind the reader that Cohen  wrote on this island some of his greatest hits including Marianne, a song whose inspiration died last summer of cancer. I feel like I am in a  Leonard Cohen’s song. The island has certainly changed since his time, but the fact that cars are banned  ensures that the island has preserved a calm and serenity (at least at this time of year) which do not  exist perhaps to the same extent elsewhere. One  immediately notices the donkeys, indispensable companions on an island without cars, as well as the  cats, sleeping everywhere where there is sun. They seem to enjoy  a special status on the island. Fishermen throw  fish at them  and food is  left  everywhere for them.

Then there is  the beauty of the island, the small beaches where many bathers are  already. Going up a little higher I find a quiet harbour. But it is the lack of car that I believe provides an almost surreal atmosphere in this small island. No car noise, no door slamming, no anxious driver. A day in paradise. Only a few hours later before  I realize all the logistics  that such a decision implies : I see  men carrying huge loads of  bottled water  and I imagine the hard  work that supplying   restaurants and small markets must represent. I  admire the decision of the people all the more. I made a mistake by  coming for the day only. If it did it  again, I would stay a little longer .


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