DAY FIVE: ARTFUL DISCOVERIES
Of one cockerel crowing
Does not signal the dawn.
Flowers in the garden
Tasting the rain:
“Isn’t that heaven
Falling on us?”
A world of difference, Ann Rivers – Hydra, 1995
As it is far too windy and cold for another trip around the island I hit the boutiques, where I am soon joined by Lola for an afternoon shopping tour. I begin at the now sadly defunct, yet formerly famous Hydra Trading Company, where I end up not once but three times on the same day. It had been closed the first few days that I had been on the island, so I had thus been anxiously waiting for it to re-open.
The store is located in a stunning two-story property on a small back street behind the main port area of town near my favourite market store and pharmacy and one of the second largest, most popular squares. My first thought when I walk is in ‘Wow!’ Not only because of the merchandise, but also because of the architecture and interior design. ‘What a great apartment this would be,’ I immediately think, what with its sweeping rooms, charming balconies and view onto the town, the mountains and the sea.
To get there before the rush, I had woken up early and impatiently standing in front of the door by 10, to find that I am not the first. Knowing it was soon to be closing forever many, it seems, had had the exact same idea. And though I had initially wanted to stop by for one of traditional hand-woven bags used by priests and locals alike on Hydra, after seeing the delights it had on offer, three hand-carved wooden children’s puppets and a few other items were added to my purchases as well. I leave minus a few hundred Euros, but happy. A phone call from Lola has me heading back upstairs however, before I have even set foot off the premises.
We shop some more and this time, my eye is caught by two beautiful linen pinafores that are meant for children, the owner says, but fits me perfectly. To this I add a pair of antique gold framed eye-glasses and a stunning full-length vintage sleeping gown in sky-blue chambray cloth as a gift for Lola, in delight and gratitude for the authentic donkey belt which she has given me herself as a present.
We explore a few of the smaller streets behind the main port of the town and discover hidden jewels that dazzle the eye with such delight, like the antique pharmacy facing the square, before heading to the Pirate Café with our booty for something to eat and watch the second day of the fashion shoot unfold as we lunch on home-made lentil soup and drink our tea.
Lola dashes off to run an errand after arranging to meet up again an hour later. During that time, I hit a small market store for inexpensive coin purses in red and gold for friends and family like the one she presented me with on my second day. I then venture to Greco Gold, Alkis’ family shop, to buy a beautiful gold and lapis lazuli cross for my mother for Christmas and a silver and lapis lazuli ha money-clip for my friend Marco, both handmade by Alkis’ father. On impulse, I add to it a small woven bracelet in black with the eye at its center as a good omen.
After an energizing lunch at the Pirate and, for dessert, delicious pastry from The Bakery, another Lola tip, she takes me to Dimitra’s, one of her favourite shops, where the owner Chrysanthi Trapali creates beautifully hand-woven necklaces, bracelets, earrings and belts. There, I vacillate for over several models before choosing one made of soft gold.
Next it is Mata’s after Lola dashes off back home to work again where, to my delight, I discover two pair of K & P’s unique ancient Greek sandals: one in brown and white striped emu and the other decorated with multi-coloured yarn, bright pink coral Buddhas and other child-like yet glorious trinkets.
My last stop is Peter’s Collection for light green handmade Nature Eye-ware sunglasses crafted from bamboo and olive wood and then Neried’s, for a delicate chain necklace with a dangling triangle in the shape of the delta glyph symbolizing oneness, unique being, and authority.
I return to the Hydra Trading Company one more time for two more wooden puppets and the gift cards to go with, before hauling my purchases up the 300 stairs leading to the villa and, upon spying the afternoon cloud’s departure, change at once into my bikini and settle down on the terrace to soak up the late afternoon sun.
A TASTE OF SPILIA & MOUSSAKA
Having had the same thought, Lola gives me a call to invite me over to Spilia’s where she has found her own spot on the rocks amongst families and groups of friends. An hour there does us both good as we chat about life, art and Hydra under the setting sun before heading back to town.
I had planned to head my favourite restaurant, the Beautiful Hydra, again for dinner. My fourth night in a row, as the staff are so friendly and the food so delicious. But Lola calls to invite me to dinner at one of the places she stumbled herself upon during her stay and would like to re-visit again before leaving.
There we order a king’s menu of food, along with my favourite Greek dish Moussaka and, to the astonishment of the waiter, chef as well as ourselves, devour every last bit.
Then, as it is our last night together, we set off to Isola, another local hub, for a night cap whereupon we find James and Juergen watching the football game. Soon, Dimitri joins us and the others from the shoot soon pass by to say goodnight after a long day and, when they leave, the rest of us settle back to wile away the hours over conversation. Soon, however, it is time for b Dimitri and Lola as well to part, as they desire to retire early in preparation for both of their 7:00 a.m. departure the next day.
It is hard to say goodbye and as our time together draws to its close, I feel a strange and sudden sense of melancholy, having never expected to have had such an unusual adventure or make the acquaintance of such unusually kindand generous people. Nevertheless, I am not too sad, as we have already made plans for a reunion next summer and thus end the night with ‘See you soon’ rather than ‘Farewell!’
Thus, whilst the walk back to the villa is made heavy of foot, this fact is nevertheless belied by my broad and radiant smile at the knowledge that although our time together now may have passed, our friendship was just at its beginning.