Sunday, March 19
After we did a great guided tour of Athens on Saturday, we wanted to go to the sea on our first weekend here. The city center of Athens is not directly on the sea, but the coast is only a few kilometers away and very easy to reach. We arrived in the Athens suburb of Glyfada in less than an hour by subway and bus.
The suburb is located south of Athens, is considered to be very wealthy and is where rich Athenians live or at least have a second home. We didn’t really care about the expensive luxury boutiques – we just heard that the beach was particularly beautiful here and that’s why we chose this place. Getting off the bus, we walked between big houses, olive and orange trees and boutiques down to the sea, which was already visible from afar.
Passing some luxury yachts, we then reached our first destination, which was right on the beach and what Christoph was particularly looking forward to: The Glyfada Sea Turtle Rescue Center – a sea turtle sanctuary where injured sea turtles are taken in and cared for by volunteers. The turtles are then returned to the sea.
We had read that you can get a free short tour of the site at any time without registering, which was actually the case. A very nice volunteer explained the project to us, showed us the facility and, from a distance, the tanks in which some sea turtles were swimming. The site is quite small overall, but when you consider that the entire project is financed entirely by donations, it is really impressive what the volunteers have built and are doing there. Christoph and I were also very surprised at how huge sea turtles are, as we have never been so close to these animals before. To make sure there are no misunderstandings: Because the aim of the rescue center is to nurse the animals back to health and then to bring them back directly to the sea, visitors are of course not allowed to touch or pet the animals (it is still a rescue center and not Sea-Life!). After the end of the tour, we made a donation to the fundraiser, which is certainly welcome, but not a required.
After that we walked just a few meters further and then arrived at a very nice pebble beach, which was still largely empty at this time of the year. The beach made up from mountains of washed out round pebbles was such a cozy environment that we sat in the sun for several hours and collected the most beautiful pebbles around us. These were particularly impressive because of their unusual colors and patterns.
As always, I had my sketchbook with me and recorded my pebble highlights for you. While I was drawing I had to collect my things twice and flee from the ever-increasing waves. Unfortunately, I also lost parts of my carefully curated pebble collection when I jumped up. So my sketch now only shows a part of my original collection. Not only some of my stones, which I actually wanted to draw, got lost, but also Christoph’s AirPods case, which apparently fell out of his pocket while fleeing the wave and was taken away by a wave. I had to laugh quite a bit when I thought that the AirPods case would now take a diving tour in the sea – Christoph didn’t find it that funny. Due to the many smoothly polished stones on the beach, it was actually impossible to ever find a just as smooth white case with just as rounded edges. After a few minutes of searching and really random digging in the sand, Christoph did the impossible: he found his AirPods case, which was now buried under several layers of pebbles due to the waves and movement on the beach! Miraculously, his case actually survived the salt water and is now with us again.