Part 1: Salamis Island – an unexpected retreat just on a nautical mile from Athens
photo by Nikos Patsiouris
Summer 2014…After the muggy Milanese climate and the glowing Rome’s stones in August, it’s time for me, an expat in Milan, and for my husband who lives in Rome to go on a summer holiday. Where should we go? We are Bulgarians living in Italy for many years, and we would like to experience something different than Black Sea “all-inclusive” vacations with parents and beautiful but overcrowded Italian beaches. So, where do we go exactly, considering that we are classic “last minute” holidaymakers?
It was the middle of August, and we had several challenges to face. If we don’t like to stay bounded in our traditional choices, we have to find a destination not so far from here, free seats on the flight, not too expensive ones as well, and finally, find a location for our journey. We were really worried about what was gonna happen with our summer vacation, when my best friend Silvia, also Bulgarian who lives in Athens with her family, called me and said: “Hey there, if you haven’t decided where to go yet, come to us in Athens….we have a surprise for you!”…
”Come to Athens…are you kidding with me? We wanna escape from the hot glowing Italian cities, and you are inviting us in Athens….what’s on your mind?”….
Silvia was uncompromising and insistent: “Just take 2 tickets to Athens, a soft travel bag, some casual clothes and swimsuits, comfortable shoes and wind jackets….as simple as that ”…This sounded as a mix of strange and crazy but also intriguing invitation. We didn’t have got much more time to decide, so we just had to go to Athens and discover what kind of surprise they’ve got for us!
We arrived in Athens at midnight, and there were our fantastic friends waiting to pick us up and go to town. We didn’t even know where we were gonna sleep. But they had prepared our agenda to the last tiny detail…”You’re staying at home for tonight, because tomorrow morning an exciting trip is waiting for us…this time not in the air, but on water…”
Early in the next morning we took our Greek Caffè Americano in the car and we headed to Alimos Marina. There we were gonna meet our fellow adventurers – Galya with her husband Yiannis and their little boy. Miro was gonna be the skipper of our Lagoon 450 Catamaran.
We were nine people in total, the skipper, other 6 adults, 1 teen and a 7-year old boy, but the vessel has 4 double cabins plus 2 additional berths. So we were gonna spend our trip on yacht in a comfortable way, having a great company and our privacy at the same time.
We still couldn’t believe what an awesome experience we were starting to have during our summer holiday, even more if we think about the last few days, full of uncertainty and tension after a hard working year…
Me and my husband started to get quiet because our Greek hosts had showed us that they know what they do and they had organized everything…
We all got on board and Miro headed our yacht trip to the first destination in the outskirts of the Greek capital – Salamis Island.
Salamis is the nearest island to Athens. Observing it from the city’s coasts it looks like an extension of the city, without any particularly appealing thing for the tourists. But meanwhile we were navigated to it, our friends explained to us, that Salamis is the largest island of the Saronic Gulf and that it has an antique historical identity and a lovely nature.
The distance between Salamis and Athens is really short, but our hosts wanted to let us continue enjoying the yacht trip. We were gonna circumnavigate the island, immerged in the crystalline water. The weather was perfect, hot with light wind. Our thoughts about the hard work and the hottest cities was far away from us, abandoned somewhere between the Athens airport and Alimos Marina.
The closer we got to the south side of Salamis, the richer and more amazing the shades of the colours and the nature variety became…..We’d barely heard the slight breakwater and the playful gust of the wind in the sails….No other description of this came to my mind instead of an incredible spectacle of senses.
Our main guide to Salamis was Galya and her husband Yiannis. They had a small villa there which they used to visit for the summer holiday and wanted to show us every hidden angle of the island. After several hours we’d anchored in a small nestled bay in the vigorous forest that was immersed in the water…We got off our Lagoon catamaran and after having a nice walk around the seafront, we arrived to the hill where the villa was placed.
Our Greek hosts welcomed us on the terrace with panoramic sea sight with a local typical dinner – mussels, fresh salad, feta cheese and a good white wine…
We saw our first Greek sunset which bathed in light the deck of our boat while the sun was getting down.
Trip on a yacht, breathtaking views, great company and delicious food…..it’s difficult to imagine the best start of our first summer holiday in Greece…
If you think that’s all…..no, it’s not at all! Stay tuned with us to learn the next stories, more coloured, more fabulous, more inspiring at all!