Friday, 21 September 2012

Three reasons...

This short trip to Andros was my third and will by no means be the last. There are three reasons that make me want to go back to the Hora (the island's capital).

The first is the excellent Museum of Contemporary Art which consists of two wings

the one that houses the permanent collection

and the new wing where the temporary exhibitions are held, always exciting and interesting ones. This year's exhibition was 'Approaching Surrealism' and there will be a post on that at some stage

This wing is built into the rock and looks deceptively small on this level which is the ground floor. There are another four floors below this one

and these are the steps that lead down to the sea where the fourth floor (below ground level) is

and going up the steps - and believe me, it is quite a climb

this is the Museum seen from the bay

and now that you have seen the motif on the Museum wall in the previous picture, you should be able to pick it out amongst these buildings

inside the Museum, as you go down the stairs to the next level, you can feast your eyes on views like this

There is a wonderful cafe on the roof  but we were not able to sit there it as it was extremely windy that day

which was a pity

still on the terrace - the wall, a typical example of what they do with the local slate

as for the views - they speak for themselves

zooming in.

The second reason is this place: Hermes kafeneion. I am not one for sitting in cafes - after about ten minutes I want to get up and go, but this place is the exception

this large seating area is across from the cafe itself
and as you can see from this photograph the shade from the mulberry trees is divine
I can sit here for hours watching people going by. Only locals use this place and they come here to sit, meet up with friends and acquaintances, watch the world go by and gossip. The cafe is on the main street so everyone eventually passes by. It is a great place and I never tire of it.
The third reason is this place. The Hora is built at the end of a peninsula and in this photograph I am standing on the outer point of the peninsula - across is a small rock/island which is connected with the island by this arch/bridge
During our first trip to Andros we swam here and it is to this day, the best place I have ever swam in. On both subsequent visits I was sorely disappointed as we could not swim here due to the strong winds and the rough sea. There are currents that could throw you on the rocks and smash your head. At no point during our two subsequent stays did we see anyone swimming here - the disappointment was massive, and I will have to go back to Andros and hope that the weather is more condusive to swimming
The first time we swam here there were lots of people doing the same, including a woman and her seven year old daughter. The first time the little girl walked down these steps to get to the sea she asked her mother: 'mum, is this the place where the pirates live?' And this is how I think of this place: the place where the pirates live - such an apt description.
The sea is never calm here - there are too many currents that move around the rocks, but it is possible to swim when it is not so windy, and it is very exciting to do so, precisely because of the currents.
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These are the three primary reasons why I like coming to Andros, but there is lots more.
There is this taverna, I Parea, for instance, the place where we always have lunch, not just because the food and service are excellent 
but the views are also fantastic
This beach is just below where we sit. I have never been able to understand why it is always deserted, it looks so beautiful to me, but people tend to favour the one at the other side of the peninsula
there is so much to feast your eyes on,
from this exoklisi
to this narrow river that doesn't quite reach the sea
zooming in.
Finally, there is Hotel Aigli, a mansion from the turn of the last century
which has been meticulously and lovingly restored by Mrs Hariklia
retaining all the original features
with careful attention to every detail.
Our room was the one with the double balcony
with two balcony doors, one for the sleeping area and one for the sitting area. It is the cleanest hotel I have ever stayed in, and at 60 euros per night, a real bargain. Mrs Harikleia, your bijoux hotel is perfect - you could not have done anything to make it better.

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