A Vacation from Myself- Memories of Hydra

The English word vacation comes from the Latin vacans, the present active participle of vaco, which can mean, depending on the context, to be free, to be at leisure, or to be empty. Since Hungarian straightforwardly uses the same word, ‘szabadság’ both for freedom and vacation, and in Romanian you will say ‘îmi iau liber’,…

So What’s the Deal with Spetses

Loukas the taxi driver was interested in my long term plans in Greece. Surely, I was going to the islands, not just staying in Athens. Yes, I was. Which island? Oh! But you MUST go to Spetses. This was the automatic reaction every time I revealed my dirty little plan to just stay on Hydra….

Our Lady of the Hot Mess- Brief Impressions of Athens

Having heard that my boyfriend was Turkish, Loukas, the Athenian taxi driver, looked straight into my eyes, took a deep breath under his mask, and imparted what he felt was a fundamental truth: Greeks and Turks are alike, and would get along just fine, if it wasn’t for meddling politicians. We need to look at…

To the Shire and Back with the Blue Wave Express- A Visit to Szigliget

The guesthouse owner looked incredulously at us as we dismounted from the minivan and it became clear that it wasn’t ours. We’d gotten the same slightly suspicious glances a few years back when we’d arrived in Giardini Naxos, Sicily, in the same carless state. Crazy, crazy folk. We’d approached Szigliget by train, on the slow,…

Lizard Kingdom on Eagle Hill: A Walk on Sas-hegy

Our first attempt at summiting Sas-hegy was, in the words of the great ancient philosopher Clarksonius, BC 4, a terrible disappointment. Sometime in spring it had come to our attention that this particular hill, lying in the cosy proximity of the BAH interchange and the MOM park shopping mall, had eluded our attention in the…

Greek Cats and Pandemic Travel Musings

There’s no running from the truth. This post, as most of the Internet, was born from cat pictures. I nevertheless felt that the Zakynthian bestiary could not be topped. Perhaps I could go for a more serious topic. Like that moment when you extricate yourself from a ’50 pictures that prove cats are liquid’ collection…

All Them Lovely Beaches- Where to Swim and be Reborn on Hydra

At seven in the morning in early September, the light over Hydra is more of an impression than reality, a fluid veil of burnt orange sneaking over the hills. The port is hidden from the rising sun, like a pearl inside its shell, by the barren, burnished cliffs that run across the island, like the…

Looking for Leonard-A Pilgrimage to Hydra

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is one of the most misunderstood and misused songs ever written. Just recently, it was played during a rally by Donald Trump’s campaign team. It has a special charm with purportedly religious people, because they misinterpret the hallelujah. Understandably, Cohen’s estate put out a few words making it clear that they had…

Slow Train to Mosquito Kingdom: Daytrip to Rácalmás

Coronavirus times notwithstanding, Déli station was aflutter with activity on the morning of a bank holiday Friday which promised undisturbed summer sun. Many in the crowd were setting off on university freshmen camps, broken down into the mandated, colour coded, smaller groups, yet still converging into a rather sizeable gathering that clogged access to the…