We departed Piraeus Harbor by ferry – car underneath (you must always back the car onto the ferry). The trip from Athens is about one and a half hours. Aegina is in the Mediterranean. The island is mostly mountains but has a flat area where pistachios, olives, figs and almonds are grown. The area of mountains drops to small coves and harbors for boats. Aegina was a sea and trading power of some importance in the prehistoric period, and economics saved her over the Geometric Period (900-700 BC). Then Greece emerged from the “Dark Ages” and reestablished contact with the outside world.
They were first in Greece to mint their own coins. The silver coins bore an image of a turtle and were used for generations in the Greek world.
One column of the temple of Apollo remains.
The island had many, many wars with Persians, Sparta and Athens. It was taken over by Romans. The Turkish war was a massacre and 6,000 slaves, women and children were taken. They finally got independence in 1828 A.D.
This is a great island to visit. There are not many tourists like on Crete and Rhodes. Cars very rarely go to the countryside. We went as far as possible. Some people had never seen cars. They stopped to look at us. They either walked or had a donkey. They were dressed very primitively compared to in Athens. Women cannot wear shorts anywhere in Greece or the Middle East (tourists were reminded).
It was fun to be so close to a city like Athens, but so different.
September 8, 2010