This blog aims to give a personal and totally biased view of the Greek islands I have visited. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the islands. Two aspects of Greek islands that I love are seeing goats wandering around and the dawn chorus of cockerels crowing. Accordingly, each island I have stayed on will have a Cockerel Count and Goatiness rating.
Unless otherwise stated, all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Should you wish to purchase a license for commercial use of my images please follow the link to my stock photography blog where you will find details of my agents. Comments are welcomed but reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Agistri (Saronic Islands):

Milos harbour on Agistri
Little Agistri (or Angistri) was where it all began way back in 2002 -my first ever visit to a Greek island. At around 14sqkm and with a population of some 1100 or so, this island lies only an hour from Piraeus harbour on the mainland. Calling first at the larger island of Aegina, the Flying Dolphin hydrofoil only took a few more minutes to reach Agistri.

Staying at Skala, where most of the tourist accomodation is, my week there was mainly spent on the pleasant but busy beach. Busy, because it's close proximity to Athens makes it a popular day or weekend trip out. The harbour area of Skala is well served with a plethora of tavernas and cafes but during my week I tended to make full use of the excellent taverna attached to my hotel. It was here I was introduced to Greek staples such as stuffed vine leaves and skordalia dip.

I didn't do much walking on this trip but did walk the couple of kilometres up to the village of Mylos. From
The church of Agioi Anargyroi at Skala on Agistri
there you can continue on a further 6km or so to the third centre of population Liminaria. One walk that really demanded to be made though was a visit to the "Rubbish". As many will know most island tavernas generally use paper tablecloths. These invariably come decorated with one of two things - either a map of the island or something involving dolphins. I have known some establishments get really glitzy and have a map of the island surrounded by dolphins*. However, my hotel was a map (no dolphin) establishment. What intrigued me every time I had a meal was the part of the map boldly marked "Rubbish". Villages, mountains etc you rather expect  on a map but this was certainly a first. To be fair, this was clearly a reprint from the local island map which also drew attention to this attraction. It really had to be done so setting out late one afternoon I went in search. This was actually a lovely road walk out of Skala through dense pine trees and certainly a steep climb (that's Agistri essentially -hills with pine forests). Do take note of the many signs warning against smoking whilst in the pines -in Summer it would take very little to set them off. In fact, at one point I was met with a fire engine stationed there to keep watch. The two firemen sitting in deckchairs there were, inevitably,  both enjoying a cigarette. And the rubbish? Well I did eventually reach it and it was exactly as advertised on the map -the islands rubbish dump. Curiosity satisfied.

The beach at Skala on Agistri island
I also took an afternoon trip back to Aegina, which suddenly felt very big and busy compared to Agistri (but, of course, isn't really either of those). What is big there though is pistachio nuts. Trees of them and bags of nuts for sale at every vendor. Obviously some had to be purchased.

I cannot give a cockerel count or goatiness rating for Agistri as, certainly where I was in Skala, there didn't seem to be any -but that may well be different if you venture further across the island.

So little Agistri, my introduction to Greek islands, Greek food, Greek ferries and lots more. That's where it all started. Regards, David.

Dolphin pedalo at Lakka, Paxos

* Dolphins: they are everywhere in the Greek islands. On postcards, fridge magnets, paintings in your apartment, on boats, and even on the aforementioned table covers. You might imagine that it would be hard  to get in the sea for the sheer mass of them. So have I seen one single dolphin? Ever? After numerous ferry  crossings and excursion boat trips? No.  I did, however, see one at Sandgate on the Kent coast in England. The local  media named it Dave (up until the point it turned out to be a female and became Davina). As ever, feel free  to add your comments -including the vast numbers of dolphins you have probaly all seen - by clicking below.

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