If only Alcatraz was this nice

After weaving through the undisturbed ruins for twenty minutes that the Athens Metro was intricately designed to avoid, we arrived in Piraeus, the port of Athens, ready to find our ferry and embark on the 45 minute journey to an island not so distant in space, but completely distant in atmosphere from Athens. Upon arrival to the “ferry”, the Flying Dolphin Hermes, I discover that I am not boarding a ferry but some sort of hybrid of submarine, torpedo, and marine life. I would not have been surprised to find it spewing water out of its blowhole while we were tearing through the waters of the Saronic Sea. Despite the blowhole action, we did rip apart the Saronic at speeds that would put your Waverunner to shame, or at least it seemed that way when rocketing in such a large, cylindrical object, bound for open waters, far away from the congestion of a major city. True to the ride, we arrived at the port of Aegina in style, pulling a 90 degree power slide that would make Vin Diesel’s head explode.
Upon disembarkation, we were greeted with the typical traveling salesmen sporting megaphones, sunglasses, twirly things, and shiny objects. We were also greeted with some of the truest blue water I had seen, and a crystal clean town filled with quaint shops, and incredibly colored Greek Orthodox Churches. I must comment on this now, Greek Orthodox Churches come in two designs. White-washed with blue tops, or incredible brick, clattered together with other incredible colors and shapes. Both of which put to shame the lego structures of my youth. I was way removed from my usual island stomping grounds of Belmar, Pt. Pleasant, and Ocean City Maryland. Aegina offers many opportunities to explore. You can wander yourself into meaningless, yet absolutely fulfilling stroll down the coast checking out the mind-blowing sites of surrounding islands with cliffs tearing up from the ocean, suffocating with olive groves and jagged, yet oddly smooth, rock faces. Or you can ride around in style, rocking the popular form of transportation on Aegina; scooter or ATV. The incredible thing about Aegina is there are at most five main roads that connect the whole island, much of which lay their way through virtually uninhabited terrain, winding up and down mountains, stretching into tantalizing viewpoints and vibrant valleys. You receive the sensation of being lost in the middle of nowhere, when in all reality, all you are feeling is that you have lost your sense of reality and spatial orientation in time, not on a map.
Naturally, I chose to rock the European Chariot, and proceeded to whip around Aegina with my colleague Amanda, at times cursing me out while hanging on for dear life behind me. I apologize that the terrain caused me to stop paying attention to the road at times, but I don’t see the reason to curse me out for it. Aegina became one of my favorite playgrounds as we booked it into absolute isolation, neglecting that if our scooter broke down (which would not surprise me with Greek maintained products), our precious little day trips would suddenly become a precious little disaster. One thing I have learned from traveling is to neglect what could go wrong in exchange to discover what is behind that unknown corner, thank you Robert Frost because you have made all the difference. In our adventure around Aegina, we discovered the third most important temple in Greece, The Temple of Aphaia, the largest Greek Orthodox Church, and several viewpoints that give you the feeling of an Ancient Greek watching for the Turkish Navy coming to trounce your city.
However you experience Aegina, it provides for a natural high that can not be matched by many islands that close to the smog, pollution, and congestion of a major city. It is incredible escape from hectic Ancient Greece in order to experience the peaceful side of Ancient Greece. With its plethora of Pistachio trees being plucked by seemingly ancient Greek elders, it is hard not to smile back at their giddiness and enormous smiles when you whip by them on your scooter; whether their smile is their natural joy for life due to where they live, or because they are still in awe that modern technology created a moving bicycle.

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