I've been hiking on Hydra before. I have a very detailed map with several grades of trails marked. So, no worries, I'll go down west of the main town and hike back.
And this is Molos, a mere 3.5 miles from the main city. I've walked farther than that before. What could possibly go wrong?
I took a water taxi, sprung for the 35 Euro cost, but got a great view of the island along the way. When we got to Molos, he even pointed out the start of the trail to me. And it agreed with what my map said. What could possibly go wrong?
To be sure, Molos seemed to have absolutely no one in it. Not one soul except for two people on a boat in the harbor. Otherwise the town was totally empty. But who cares, I'm leaving it and I know where the trail starts.
So the map could hardly be clearer. Marked trail, and not even the worst category of trail. And I can pick up a road in less than one km. And you can see the size of the next town, Palamidhas, I can buy some water there.
Things began to go wrong immediately. A first attempt at a trail dead ended at the front door of a house. The second attempt to find a trail clearly turned into a creek bed - and one with many sharp stones and brush. Bad place to twist an ankle.
Eventually, I found a track up a hill, generally going like the map said it should. What you mean, this doesn't look like a trail? Obviously those stone placements are artificial.
What you mean, this doesn't look like a trail? It's sort of obvious that those stone placements are artificial. I puffed on up the hill and eventually lost any illusion of a trail. There was some shade and I'd stop to let my heart rate go back down.
I was tired and concerned about tiredness causing me to trip on the rocky, uneven "trail." I didn't have any water because, hey, it was just 1km to the next town, why should I carry any?
On I went, over rock fences, through donkey pastures, constantly consulting the map against the terrain to make sure I wasn't headed down to the wrong place.
And now, nettles.
Telephone poles heading down towards where the next town should be. Trail or no trail, I'll just follow them. Map says I should intersect a road.
Hey, the map is right, a road!
Ah, and there is the next town, Palamidas. Looking forward to a stop for water. Remember that big yellow patch on the map? Must be several places to stop.
Or not.... Palamidas turns out to be 20 boats up on blocks and two guys painting their boat. No water here, they say, go to the next town.
At this point I've taken 1.5 hours to go 1km and I am very hot. I dunked my hat in the water and let it drip down my shirt and that was instantly a big help.
OK, refreshed and down the trail we go. From this point on there is no doubt about the trail and it has some wonderful views along the shore.
So, shall we live here? Nice place. And you don't have to mow that lawn.
Or maybe this one. Simple, bold, great views from the upper level. I'd go for it.
But finally, a place to eat, and it was a good one. In Vlichos, down from the stone bridge. Good food, gentle peaceful music playing, good service.
But soon it is time to press on, refreshed -- but also quite stiff after sitting for an hour. This felt steep!
And eventually, maybe we come to live here.
If the first 1km took 90 min, the last 5km took just about the same. Soon Hydra town, or its outskirts comes into view and our trial is at an end.