Sometimes, between the pressure of a corporate job and the hectic schedule of day to day life in a big city, you start asking yourself why. Is it worth it? Then, when things come into place, a moment is all it takes for you to decide to leave behind the life you know and embark on an adventure as you never thought you’d live. This article is about the Romanian journalist Sorin Andreiana, whose Easter vacation in Aegina radically changed his life and the way he interacts with people.
Sorin first arrived on the island of Aegina in the spring of 2014, when his holidays in Thasos and Corfu proved to be much richer in crowds of tourists and less touched by isolation and charm.
“I arrived in Aegina by chance, being invited by friends. I found here the authentic Greece, relaxed people, always willing to help with any information you might need. Everyone seems everyone’s friend. It is very pleasant and relaxing”
Aegina is an hour and 15 minutes by ferry from Piraeus (or Pireas / Piraeus), the third largest city in Greece. Sorin Andreiana was seduced by the cozy atmosphere of the place and especially by the fact that here there is no mass tourism. Moreover, the Greeks do not want the industrialization of Aegina tourism being aware that it would destroy the island charm. “When I arrived here for my Easter holiday in 2014, the island was totally unknown to me. I returned that summer and stayed for three weeks to check somehow if the love at first sight that I felt was real”
How about the Greeks? Well, Sorin Andreaiana seems confident and relaxed: “I like Greece. Greeks are trenchant and fair when doing business. So you need to be the same. I love that I can bring Romanians here, especially those willing to discover a quiet place, not touched by industrialization.”
He is now managing Syssy Hotel, a place near the beach resort of Marathonas “a resort where tourists – Romanian, English, Dutch or Greek feel like a big family.” The beauty of the island is given by its authenticity and wilderness, a refuge in which to escape from the noise of the urban areas. Moreover, if you make it to Syssy Hotel you’re at 30 meters away from fine sand beaches, where the smooth entry into the sea makes the place a perfect location for families with children.
“Sissy is not a big hotel. It has 17 rooms. We try to maintain a cozy atmosphere, where you can stay close to the beach. We have a lot of young people and families with children. I try to make their stay in Aegina as enjoyable as possible and offer them all the help they need. The upstairs rooms have sea views and on the ground floor our balconies are shadowed by lemon trees. The services provided are making all the difference here on the island. “
What motivates Sorin?
“Besides the financial side, this work gives me a great satisfaction knowing that people will remain with the memory of a pleasant vacation, without unpleasant incidents. I have been a tourist many times. It also happened for me to be in a new place and not get any help on what I can do there. So here I apply the opposite behavior. Last year, in this island which is 25 square km from end to end, I managed to do 4,000 km driving the tourists who were without a car. Their stories and the moments spent are memories that make me smile all the time.”
Now days the island is better known as the island of St. Nectarie and its popularity is due to the cathedral built in his honor, the second largest church in Europe. But what delights the travelers is that on this island, Nikos Kazantzakis wrote “Zorba the Greek” during the Second World War. In addition, Aegina is also the place where the first coin of Europe was molded, designed with a turtle motif.
“Near the hotel, about an hour’s walk, you will find an olive grove called Eleonas. It is 2,500 years old and is the oldest of its kind in Europe. It belongs to the monastery of Chrysoleonitissa (Monastery of St. Mary) built in the sixteenth century in a zone hidden from view. The Greeks chose this place in an attempt to stop the pirates plundering a miracle-working icon of Virgin Mary that today is placed to the left of the altar. Moreover, on the island, you have the Aphaia temple, dedicated to the goddess of fertility, the best preserved ancient temple constructed in Doric style, raised years before the Pantheon”
Curious already? Then here are some of Sorin recommendations for Aegina:
What not to miss on the island
- Monastery of St. Mina, nearby the Aphaia Temple
- The only darkroom in the world with 360-degree panorama, located near the fishing village of Perdika. This is in an area that today still has the remains of Nazi pillboxes
- The deer and peacocks on the island of Moni, an irresistible natural reserve. You will take a boat from the fishing village of Perdika, just four kilometers away from Sissy hotel
“Boat ticket costs five euros and those who get there have the opportunity to stay on the beach among peacocks or caress a deer. The island is not inhabited, but during the summer season the beach has a beach bar and a restaurant “, adds Sorin.
As the summer season 2016 approaches and the situation of the immigrants put Greece in a delicate position, Sorin Andreiana assures us that things are extremely quiet in Aegina. There is no danger of street disturbances and the island, not a major touristic destination, is protected from any threat.
“The island is a paradise for those who want to be away from the bustle of the modern world. A place where you and your family will be safe. Anyone who has questions about the island or want to make a reservations may contact me at 0731,818,522. They are more than welcomed. “
Getting to Aegina
By car: from Romania the best way is through Bulgaria- Makaza custom. From Bucharest to Piraeus there are 1,200 km (including 700 km of motorway in Greece). Tolls of 38 euros per direction, ferry transfer costs 23 euros for vehicle and 9 euros the ticket for one person.