A Colour Explosion from the Heart

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Inspire Me, Inspire You

Spetses - Island of the aromas ("Isola di spezzie") Part 1

Posted by Alexandra S on January 23, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Summer after summer we would head southward either by car to Porto Heli and spend a month in Costa, or take the catamaran from Athens to Spetses and stay there for a month, usually in August. Whichever scenario played out, Spetses was in the plan!

Porto Heli and Costa are a beautiful setting in the Peloponnese, not far from Nafplio, approximately 2.5 hours from Athens. Will come back with another blog entry for Porto Heli and its surrounding region in another post. For this post, Spetses is in focus.

Spetses can be reached from the Peloponnese, either by catamaran from Porto Heli or sea taxis.
For boat connections: www.openseas.gr 


(Photo: Porto Heli - Source www.greece-is.com/a-treasure-hidden-in-plain-sight ) 

I was quite lucky to re-visit the island again twice this year as I was called to accompany the Estonian TV crew for the filming of two documentaries to be broadcast on the National Estonian Television channel, whereas later that same month I would accompany a group of Tour Operators. In both cases, the aim of that visit was to introduce the islands of the Saronic Gulf to the Baltic countries who are among the countries in GNTO Scandinavia's area of responsibility. These islands are ideal for any traveler wishing to escape to a nearby island while visiting Athens, be it for business or pleasure. 

Saronic Islands: Aigina, Agistri, Poros, Ydra and Spetses. 



(Spetses, Dapia - Main harbour)

Spetses was originally named "Pityoussa" due to the vast extensions of pine trees on the island. Later, the island was named "Isola di spezzie" by the Venetians (1220 - 1460 A.D) who were mesmerised by the incredible natural aromas on the island.

The island boasts a long naval tradition and is famous for its significant contribution to the 1821 War of Independence. It was here that the revolution flag was raised on 3rd April 1821. The island has managed to retain its individual traditional character thanks to its well-preserved grand captain mansions, still bearing eloquent witness to the island’s glorious past.

Upon entering the island, one meets the picturesque Old harbour and Dápia, a tourist and commercial centre where the heart of the island’s entertainment beats. To the right of Dapia lies Poseidonion Grand Hotel (www.poseidonion.com/en) the island's indisputable trademark. The hotel was first built in 1914 and was the brainchild of Sotirios Anargyros, a visionary benefactor who was responsible for much of Spetses’ development. Furthermore, it represented the cosmopolitan face of the island and soon became one of its famous landmarks, a favourite destination for high society, royalty and wealthy Athenians.

Following a meticulous five-year restoration programme which brought the hotel fully up to date with the finest facilities, fixtures, and fittings while carefully preserving the original architecture of the building, Poseidonion Grand Hotel, fully refurbished, re-opened its doors in the summer of 2009, ready to welcome new visitors.



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)


What I love most about this hotel, and I am pretty sure I speak on behalf of many who have already visitied, is that even though the entire establishment exudes a sense of luxury, class and a minimal style that I adore... it is very "inviting" and every guest feels relaxed and at ease, yet it still evokes a sense of respect, given its history. 

However, it is one thing for me to write about it, and a different thing for someone to actually experience it. So, don't take my word for it... visit the island. Whether you choose to stay at Poseidonio or simply indulge in a refreshing coctail on the "Verandah" during sunset... or better yet, reserve a table and enjoy a scrumptious lunch or dinner by their fantastic Chef Mr. Stamatis Marmarinos... I can guarantee, it will be a day to remember. As for the wines...? Bliss! 


(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)

A shade of heavenly blue greets you the second you step out on the veranda and say GOOD MORNING, WORLD! :-) And YES, a horse-drawn carriage ride till the Old Harbour (about 20 minutes there and back) is what I would recommend while on the island... especially if you are a romantic like myself :-)

Along the way, you will have the chance to see captain mansions taking you to a journey back in time. The architecture is simply amazing and the range of pastel colours amid all the vegetation leading to the Old harbour on the right side, while having that enchanting stretch of blue waters to the left as the carriage makes its way to the Old Harbour... truly magical. 



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)


(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)



Source: www.bouboulinamuseum-spetses.gr

Only two minutes' walk from Dapia, one finds The Bouboulina Museum.

A visit to Bouboulina’s Museum reveals the fascinating story of the heroine of the 1821 Greek War of Independence, Laskarina Bouboulina, who until recently had the honor of being the only female Admiral in world Naval history.

Source: www.bouboulinamuseum-spetses.gr


Source: www.bouboulinamuseum-spetses.gr

Upon our arrival to the museum, we were greeted by Pavlos Demertzis-Bouboulis, a 6th generation Bouboulis, and a very eloquent speaker and representative of his family's (and Greece's) history. The story of Laskarina Bouboulina is an extremely fascinating and inspiring one that, in my opinion requires an entire post of its own, so stay tuned! 


Source: www.bouboulinamuseum-spetses.gr

Could not resist sharing this lovely photo of Professor Linnar Primägi while on our filming and carriage-ride to the Old Harbour with Nikolas who was also an amazing guide!



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)

To end this post on a happy tone, here is our selfie with "Magas", Nikolas' horse. Magas, or μαγκας in greek, is someone who could be best described as being a fully genuine, dignified, laid back and big-hearted soul. It is actually hard to put this term in words in english... but when you meet a soul like that, you know you are in good hands :-)



(Photo: ©Alexandra_S_Art)

There is so much more about this island, so instead of composing one long text... I thought it would be best to come back to you with a different post. 
A little more about the local setting, the gastronomy, the arts and crafts on the island, its cosmopolitan nature, it's landscape and also a very unique experience at the "Bostani": where nature meets lifestyle.
Stay tuned for more!!!
Love,
Alexandra


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