That day, on the way back, that captain impressed me somehow. This black scarf on his left hand, declares that he is mourning for the loss of member of his family. He was like out of a Greek movie of the 60's and loved to photo him, but his seriousness discouraged me from any attempt. It took all my courage to achieve that photo.
Temple’s of Aphaia pediments in Munich
The temple’s pediments were adorned with magnificent sculptures representing the Battle of Troy, which can not be seen there anymore since they have been taken by the Turks during the 19th century, as many of Greece’s marbles, and got sold to Ludwig of Bavaria, the father of King Othon.
They are now exposed in the Munich Glyptothek Museum. They were restored by the Danish neoclassic sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. These works exerted a formative influence on the local character of Neoclassicism in Munich, as exhibited in the architecture of Leo von Klenze.
I enjoyed watching pediments in 2004 not knowing that three years later I would find myself in Aegina at the Aphaia Temple.
Agia Marina is the most touristic place on the whole island with the biggest sandy organized beach only 14,5 km away from Aegina, about half an hour by bus.
4 kilometers away from Agia Marina is Aphaia temple from where you can walk down to the village very easy- the way leads down the mountain all the time.
"A convenient weekend escape from Athens!"
The Greek island of Aegina lies just to the south of Athens and is one of the Argosaronic Gulf group of islands. As well as its proximity to Athens, the island is also close to the eastern shores of the Peloponnese peninsular.
Aegina lies to the south of Salamina and to the north of Poros, both of which are fellow Argosaronic Gulf islands.
How to get there?
Aegina is one of the easiest islands to reach from Athens and is therefore a popular weekend retreat for Athenians.
Hydrofoils make the 30 minute journey from Piraeus to Aegina every hour during the day and frequent ferries cover the journey in 1 hour.
Journey times to the other neighbouring islands are approximately as follows:
Poros (30 mins by hydrofoil, 1 hour by ferry)
Hydra (1 hour by hydrofoil, 2 hours by ferry)
Spetses (1 ½ hours by hydrofoil, 3 hours by ferry).
"What is there to see and do?"
Despite being so close to Athens, Aegina is a whole different world to the chaos of the bustling capital.
A great number of fishing boats and expensive yachts occupy Aegina Town's picturesque harbour and the seafront, with its tavernas, cafes and restaurants is a great place for a relaxing drink.
In Aegina Town you can visit the archaeological site and museum. Today, just one column of the Temple of Apollo remains and the other ruins on the site are nothing spectacular to be honest. Entrance to the site costs 3 Euros and the reasonably interesting museum just about makes this worthwhile. Another plus point is the view from the top of Kolona hill along the sandy coastline.
Much more interesting and much better preserved is the Temple of Aphaea, a Doric style temple located high on a hill overlooking the beach resort of Agia Marina and the blue Aegean Sea. It is said that this temple, along with the Parthenon at Athens and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sunion form an imaginary equilateral triangle. The bus route from Aegina Town to Agia Marina passes the temple and the journey is about 20 minutes.
It is possible to walk from the Temple of Aphaea to Agia Marina, as I did. The journey is all downhill and a path provides a direct shortcut so you don't have to follow the winding road down the hill. Agia Marina has a long, sandy beach and a number of beachside bars and restaurants and all the other amenities that you would require for an extended stay here. Even during my visit in early October the beach was relatively busy, so I imagine it is a thriving resort in the height of summer.
Another of Aegina's key sites is the large Agios Nektarios church which, again, is to be found on the Aegina Town to Agia Marina bus route. I didn't visit the church but saw the imposing building from the window of the bus.
A few observations from my 2 days on Aegina:
One of Aegina's key economic activities is the growing of pistachio nuts. These nuts provide an important income source for the island's population. Bags of pistachios as well as other pistachio-based delicacies can be found in shops all along Aegina Town’s seafront and all over the island, and at very reasonable prices. Even in Athens and further afield there are shops selling the "famous Aegina pistachios". The consequence of the nut's popularity is that you will find discarded shells all over the streets and beaches.
Wealthy Athenians' second homes
Due to its proximity to Athens and the fact that it provides a slower paced, relaxed way of life (very much in contrast to the capital!), the island of Aegina is a popular weekend escape for Athenians. As well as those visiting for the weekends, a number of wealthy Athenians own a second home on the island. Because of its popularity with the Athenians this may make it difficult to find accommodation during the summer months or at weekends, although this didn't seem to be an issue in October.