Where did we leave off? YES, HERE...CLICK FOR PART I
Aegina - here she is personified in an artwork, entitled "Aegina Visited by Jupiter", by French artist Jean Baptiste Greuze hanging at the Metropolitan.
The story goes that nymph Aegina was ravished by Zeus, king of the gods, who visited her in the guise of fire before transforming himself into an eagle and carrying her off to this island where she gave birth to his son.
So - to answer the question I left you with (in Part I of my one-day cruise) - how could I possibly pass up on the CLASSICAL tour of a place that has such a quintessential tradition based on depravity and debauchery? And of course, those of you who regularly read this blog (I think that's just you Robin, and maybe George and an occasional look-in by Ro Magnolia) will know that the girl who grew up in a house by the beach couldn't handle paradise so she now drinks morning coffee on a balcony overlooking the Parthenon while struggling with Plato....(CLICK HERE IF YOU'RE INTERESTED)
Does this look familiar?Built 50 years before the Acropolis (c. 500 BC), the design of Aegina's Temple of Aphaia inspired architect Phidias when creating the Parthenon. This one, the original, was by another architect...forgotten in history.
It was built in honour of Aphaia (the "Invisible")...named after a diety who became the object of Cretan King Minos' lewd affections. Wishing to get away from him she leaped into the sea and so began another carnal tale...(if you didn't think antiquity was sexy you should think again) Finally, after being desired by one man and then another she leapt into the sea (again! I guess some nymphs never learn) and sought cover in the pine forest of Aegina where she miraculously disappeared. A temple was built in her honour at that spot.
But there's more...On a clear day (we were neither so lucky nor long-sighted) you can see Poseidon's Temple in Sounio and the Acropolis of Athens. Apparently the three create an equilateral triangle - an energy pillar of sorts. The ancients were particularly fond of those. Infact, I think thousands of years later we don't have anywhere near their knowledge.
Anyway, as I marvelled this exquisite structure I wondered how it might have been in its heyday. The pedimental sculptures depicted scenes from the Trojan War that were stolen when Greece was still under Turkish occupation in 1811 and later auctioned off. They are now at Munich's Glyptothek and stand amongst the most famous and important artistic remains of ancient Greece. (They even achieved notoriety when used as Nazi symbols).
It was hard to digest how the most beautiful Greek works have been smuggled out of the country and are now scattered at museums around the world. So sad.
This, of course, was easier to digest...
Pistachios are found in abundance on Aegina. The ideal climate of the island and the unique soil composition lend exceptional flavour and aroma to the world-famous pistachios of Aegina.
The aroma of baked pistachios can be smelt from the port where they are sold as pistachio ice-cream, sweets, brittle bars and any other way imagineable! Or just eat them plain...