My favorite places on this trip are the ones where time is limited, where it’s immediately evident that I will have to leave the beauty in front of me. Only one night in Kalambaka was not enough, and I will forever remember the peacefulness of the town below the floating monasteries. Yesterday we spent only six hours on the island of Aegina, and it has forever left a romantic imprint on my mind.
Aegina is 17 miles, an hour-long ferry ride, off the coast of Athens. The island’s geography ranges from sandy beaches to rugged mountain tops, traced with small roads and houses.
After the ferry docked, we decided to make Agia Marina beach our home for the day. The beach was a fifteen minute cab ride from the port. Our cab driver had lived on Aegina his entire life, and told us that we had made the right decision because Agia Marina was his favorite locations on the island. June isn’t tourist season yet, he said, and the beach would be relatively empty compared to the height of the summer.
We soared through the island’s small winding roads in that little yellow taxi at speeds that should have been impossible. The cab driver and I danced our hands outside the car’s windows. He was going through his daily routine, while I was entranced by the sun peeking through the mountain peaks and rows of pistachio trees. I don’t normally enjoy being super chatty in cabs, but I was so interested by life on the island that I had to strike up conversation with the driver.
He told us that he loved Aegina because it felt like it was 2017, while America was living in 2027. He said he wanted to appreciate the present time, not the future.
The beach’s waters were deep blue and crystal clear. I could always see seaweed on the ocean floor. The sand was lined with blue beach chairs, and a bunch of us decided to pay the five dollars to claim them. We took advantage of the beach bars and restaurants, and I had fresh fish as an early dinner.
After the thrillingly treacherous cab drive back to the ports, we stopped by two pistachio stands. The workers were so excited that ten tourists had been dropped at their disposal that they practically threw samples at us. The pistachio butter was so good that I bought a small jar to bring home, though I’m afraid I might eat the whole thing myself.
The end of the day was marked by one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen; the sun lit up both the sky and the water with its orange and pink rays.
Places like Kalambaka and Aegina will always have my heart because I left only wanting more, but it has become screamingly relevant to me that our time in Athens is also quickly winding to a close. It is hard to admit to myself that soon I will leave Greece and my reporting team.
At this moment in time, I am with a group spread across two tables at our hotel’s restaurant bar- drinking, laughing and complaining about our dwindling amounts of cash. Most of us are sunburnt and, I hope, all of us are happy.
My time is limited here. And while I am blogging at this dinner table, I have also decided to adopt the mindset of the Aeginan cab driver. I am going to soak in these last moments like Danny soaked in the island sun. I am going to enjoy and appreciate the present and the company I have here, because soon I will have to leave the beauty right in front of me.