Two 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 .