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Blog 5: Aegina!

On June 25, we visited the Greek Island of Aegina. To get to the island, we took a ferry that was approximately 30 minutes long, which I really enjoyed because the air-conditioning on that ferry was excellent. My temperature for the rest of that day was not so promising. As we arrived on the island, we were told we had free time until around 5:30 PM, our only obligation being the “picture scavenger hunt” we had to complete of various artifacts and places around the island. This included the archaeological site of Kolona, the Saint Nikolaos maritime, the tower of Markellos, the temple of Afaia, and much more.

Because we wanted to explore the island, we made the impulsive decision to rent ATVs. I have never ridden nor driven an ATV, so when I was told Aanchal would be my driver, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Long story short, the ride was long, bumpy, fast, and hot. I’ve never felt wind so hot hit my face. The heat was almost unbearable, and every minute on that ATV felt like an hour. But despite the discomfort, there was a thrill in the ride, an excitement that came from speeding through the island’s roads, feeling every bump and drift along the way.

After a mishap with the ATV’s gas mileage, we all met up at Agina Marina beach, which was about a thirty-minute drive from the port. In all honesty, I feel like we could have just gone to the beach next to the port, but I was just happy to be in the water. I’m not usually a beach person, but the water became a necessity- a craving. The cool, refreshing feel of the sea was the perfect medicine to the relentless heat we had endured all morning. Floating in the clear, blue water, I felt the tension and discomfort of the ATV ride melt away. It was a moment of pure bliss, and I found myself not wanting to leave.

After about an hour and a half at the beach, we visited the various artifacts around the island, which took about another 45 minutes of driving around in the heat. The archaeological site of Kolona was fascinating, with its ancient ruins and rich history. The Saint Nikolaos maritime was equally impressive, and the tower of Markellos offered a glimpse into the island’s past. The temple of Afaia, perched on a hilltop, provided breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. It was cool to see how many reinforcements have been put in place to keep these structures up, which made me realize just how much the Greeks strive to protect and preserve their history. Each site was a testament to Aegina’s cultural heritage, and I found myself captivated by each sight.

When we arrived at the beachside restaurant we were going to eat at for lunch, we were so hot that we decided to jump off one of the nearby piers. It was the most satisfying, cold, beautiful transition in temperature I have ever felt, genuinely. The shock of the cold water against my burnt skin was amazing, and I found myself not wanting to leave (again) save for the fear of what harmful animals might be in the ocean. It was a moment of pure satisfaction, and it made the entire day’s hard work feel paid off.

After this, we had some food at a beachside restaurant, where we all ate and cooled down after such a hectic day. I had some pasta (as always) and drank some water with ice. The restaurant was charming, with its open-air seating and stunning views of the beach. The food was delicious, and the cold drinks were a lifesaver. As we sat there, enjoying our meal and the company of friends, I felt very relaxed and happy to be under some shade and next to the water.

After this, we all returned the ATVs and decided to shop at the local pistachio shops, which had the most delicious macarons, coffee, ice cream, and more! I bought a pack of six macarons (I ate all of them the following day), some pistachio butter for my family, and some pistachio cream ice cream (vanilla ice cream with pistachio butter chunks). It was the best little treat after such a long, hot day under the sun. The pistachio shops were a highlight of the trip, offering an array of treats and souvenirs. The macarons were delicious, I’ve never had something so good.

Then, we headed towards the ferry for some much-needed air conditioning, where I took the best nap of my life. The ferry ride back was a welcome relief from the heat, and the cool, comfortable air-conditioning was a blessing. As I settled into my seat, I felt the exhaustion of the day wash over me. The rhythmic rocking of the ferry lulled me into a restful sleep. When I woke up, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on the rest of our day.

Honestly, I would definitely go back to Aegina just so I can enjoy the beach a little more; it was genuinely one of the most beautiful places I’ve laid my eyes on. The island’s natural beauty was breathtaking, with its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and greenery. There was a serene, untouched quality to Aegina that made it feel like a hidden paradise. I found myself longing to explore more of its hidden gems, to discover the secret spots that only locals know about.

With that being said, I still enjoyed my time there, and the food was definitely a success. Aegina is definitely a repeat offender for me! The island offered a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural enrichment. The food was delicious, the sights were awe-inspiring, and the experiences were unforgettable. From the thrill of riding ATVs to the blissful moments spent in the water, every part of the day was memorable.

Reflecting on our trip, I realized that Aegina had been my favorite day on this trip. It was not just the stunning scenery or the delicious food that made it special, but the overall experience – the people, the culture, and the sense of adventure that appeared every moment. It was a day filled with laughter, exploration, and joy, and I knew that it would remain in my memory when I look back on this trip. Aegina, with its  blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture, had become one of my favorite destinations, along with some spots in Athens, and I can’t wait to return with my own family!

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