dehner: new worlds

Travelogue: Aegina

I accidentally booked us five days in Athens, which is way too long, so we decided to take a day trip. You can visit lots of places in a day from Athens, but we picked Aegina because not many people go there. That's how I make a lot of travel decisions, actually. They usually turn out to be my favorite destinations, and Aegina was no exception.



Like Athens, Aegina had a lot of charming tumbledown buildings. (I couldn't resist the artsy, blurry photo - sorry!) Unlike Athens, Aegina also had some of the bluest water I've ever seen.


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The tip of Aegina is dominated by the ruined Temple of Apollo, which is really just a jagged, broken column. If you only read your guidebook description, you wouldn't think it was worth visiting, but I'm so glad we did. There are no ropes, so you can climb around wherever you like -- including all the way up to that one broken column. When you stand up there, you can see out to the blue ocean forever. The wind howls in your ears. Olive groves spread out in front of you. It's like you're the queen of the world in some other time.


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After we hit the temple, we wandered around in the village for awhile. Everyone had these super-nifty door knockers, and I kind of regret not buying one. Then again, they were made from cast iron, and I might have regretted having to carry it with me for three weeks.


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After we had lunch, a random dude in the street asked if we wanted to rent a car. The whole thing seemed a bit dodgy, but we'd missed the bus, and we hadn't gotten to see much of the island yet. We gave him fifty euros and sped off in a slightly dented, slightly rusty Fiat. Everything worked out fine.

Our first stop was Paleohora, a collection of abandoned Byzantine churches up in the mountains. Since it's a UNESCO World Heritage site, I thought we would see other tourists, possibly a gift shop, probably a place to buy water. I was wrong on all counts. No one else was there, and we wove through narrow mountain trails from church to church with nothing but the sound of cicadas for company. It was one of the most amazingly atmospheric places I've ever been...but it also seemed like the kind of place where you could be killed by an axe murderer, or perhaps the vengeful ghost of a monk. We probably should have stayed longer, but we were creeped out and thirsty.


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From Paleohora, we drove to Temple of...something. I forget the name, but it's the best preserved example of an Ionian temple in Greece. If you want to know what this means or why it's important, you'll have to ask my fiancé, the art history teacher. I was only in it for the artsy shots and the ocean breeze. Actually, I didn't want to go at all because I thought I'd overdosed on temples at the Acropolis, but I'm really glad that we went. The site is better preserved and much more atmospheric than the Acropolis, and we were almost the only people there. Being alone with so much history is a really special feeling.


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Should you desire your own trip to Aegina, just wander down to Piraeus Port in Athens. Go to the gate marked "Saronic Gulf Islands," then wander around until you find a boat whose departure time agrees with your schedule. There's at least one every hour, and even more options going back. The round trip journey cost us about $25 each.
Gosh, I wish I could accidentally go to Athens for five days lol

Love the photos, they're beautiful. Totally agree about the axe murdered / vengeful monk ghost, yup.
Gorgeous photos! I did study abroad for six weeks in Greece in 2009 and you're making me miss it (lived primarily on Lesvos but visited Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Turkey).