The rest of Saturday

It’s 5 a.m. on Hydra.  I cannot sleep.  So I shall write.

From the Church of St. Konstandinos.

From the Church of St. Konstandinos.

Brutal heat drives people indoors during part of the afternoon here on this island.  I joined the locals with a retreat indoors for a few hours on Saturday, taking time to nap and to read and to blog.  The mid-day heat was truly oppressive!

A small local shop was due to open at 5.30 p.m., so I set out to take more photos, work up a sweat, and perhaps shop a bit.  I managed the first two tasks with no problem.

And then I settled in again for a few minutes at my favorite taverna on the waterfront and ordered housemade lemonade, to which I promptly added a packet of sugar.  This was decadent and delightful refreshment.

My last big hurrah on Saturday was a ride up to an old church on the back of a four-year-old gelding named Andy (I think that’s what Harriet called him).  Harriet of Harriet’s Hydra Horses was my guide.  We took a winding, switchback trail up the mountainside, emerging at the Church of St. Konstandinos, the patron saint of Hydra Island.  We chatted quite a bit along the way, just the two of us on horseback, talking about the local economy, the landscape, her horses, schooling. At the church, an older caretaker let us in for a few minutes. I saw the local soccer field, believe it or not.  And all felt right with the world.

Harriet was a delightful guide, and extremely generous in that I booked late and she was tired and still added one more trip to her day, in quite a bit of heat.  But she was a font of local knowledge, and she put up with this poor middle-aged rider with a smile.

I finished the day with pasta and more ice cream (this time lemon cream).  And then I crashed hard.

This island has more than 300 churches and monasteries.  Harriet patiently explained a lot of things to me; this idea of so many churches is a relic of faith mingled with historical preservation.  Only five priests serve the churches on the island.  From my balcony, I can see six belfried churches, plus . . .

. . . High up in the mountains, this monastery:


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