Hydra is a poet's little England
Spring of 1960- Argosaronic Gulf - One day a girl named Marianne enters the grocery shop on Hydra's main square to pick up bottled water and milk. A dark man stands at the doorway with the sun on his back. “Would you like to join us outside?” He is Leonard Cohen, a writer who arrived in Hydra to work on his novel.
He soon calls her the most beautiful woman he has ever met.
Cohen would rise early, sit on the terrace in the sun and religiously bash out his three pages a day on an old typewriter. In the evening he'd play his guitar and sing lullabies to Marianne's son. "Civilization had caught up with me,” he said in a moment of realization. “I wasn’t going to be able to escape after all. I wasn’t going to be able to live this 11th-century life that I thought I had found for myself.” It was, on the upside, also the moment that would inspire his seminal masterpiece Bird OnThe Wire. But Hydra's reputation goes long before the poet stepped foot, owing some of its glam to Sophia Loren who was photographed mingling with the locals while she was on the island shooting "Boy on a Dolphin" in 1957. Truth is soon as one steps of the hydrofoil from Piraeus to the cobbled port of Hydra they might get an instant feel why Cohen wished this exquisite Saronic island to remain the unique time warp of a world that feels less complicated. While the harbor is no stranger to the odd ostentatious superyacht and their (usually Russian) owners, the inland lanes are a soothing antidote to the occasional see-and-be-seen poutiness of the portside. In the backstreets, you will glimpse a very traditional Greek way of life, unpolluted by iPhone culture. Grandmothers in black, sitting in doorways buried by magnificent bougainvillea, watching the world go by, is such a sight. Plus, with the small exception of the occasional Piaggio Ape or an Ansi Standard, there are no cars. Donkeys, mules and bicycles are used for transport. You'll find film projection posters pinned on its notice boards inviting you to hit the small open-air cinema, and phone wires still dangle overhead, reminiscent of the 60s. Even the architecture is different from what one expects to meet on a typical Greek island; the long arcade you'll cross to reach your room at Hotel Orloff (bulit during the 18th century by Count Orlo of Russia on top of monasterial debris), the 1890-established pharmacy next door, or the historical Hydrea Hotel (an old repurposed mansion belonging to one of the heroes of Greek renaissance) have preserved such an original character it is impossible to resist prolonging your stay. Summers in Hydra are steeped in glamour, the port feels like a little St.Tropez filled with aviator visitors and chic bohemian dressed manicured dames, lolling over the day's first champagne glass or ordering brunch of benedict eggs and giant fruit bowls over at Isalos where striped-tee wearing waiters will spoil you with the best coffee on the island. At the Pirate Bar well-heeled Athenian day-trippers, international tourists and locals gather in the early evening to sip espresso freddos and cold Greek beers and watch the beautiful people go by, the blingy boats bobbing in. Getting to the best Hydra beaches involves a water taxi from the harbor, which sounds like more of a hassle than it actually is – they run regularly and you can always get back. Visit the pebbled Plakes beach where, after swimming out in the still, crystal clear water, you can enjoy a magnificent lunch at the Sunset or at the Four Seasons in Vlyhos. Bisti Bay and Agios Nikolaos Bay, two achingly beautiful and almost empty pebbly beaches on the island’s south-western tip are frequented by beautiful black butterflies likely to land on your day's reading. The water is deep, clear and the particular Pantone shade of blue that you only ever see on Greek islands, shimmering in the sun like a Shirley Bassey sequined dress under a stage spotlight. Under the preservation order guidelines, Bratsera Hotel remains the only hotel in Hydra Town to boast a swimming pool. It is not just the cooling pool that gives the Bratsera (a converted sponge factory) its strong reputation; the airy rooms with whitewashed walls are tastefully decorated with rough-hewn antiques and hessian rugs, just perfect to host your guests during a wedding in Little England (yes, that is Hydra's nickname).
Interested in finding out more on our Hydra Island weddings? Click here
Sources: Conde Nast Suitcase Magazine Smithsonian Mag
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Planning a wedding is hard. Planning a wedding in Greece when you live in California is even harder. Unless of course, you work with Maria and her incredible team at InEventive. My husband Chris and I used Maria to plan our wedding on the island of Paros this past August, and honestly - it was the best decision we ever made. She worked tirelessly with us over the course of 10 months to take our hopes and dreams and bring them to life. The absolute best photographers, videographers, dj’s in the business? Maria is friends with and works with them all. Florists that can take a minimalistic venue and have it dripping like the Garden of Eden? Table stakes. Ideas for how to take something ordinary and make it extraordinarily? She’s got hundreds. Want to take a boat from the church to your venue? No problem! Fireworks? Obviously...Handling the annoying things like paperwork and forms? She’ll hold your hand the whole way through. More importantly, Maria and her team go into absolute beast mode on the day of. Every single detail is covered, down to the smallest piece of minutia, so all you have to do is show up. Thanks to Maria, our wedding blew all of our expectations and our guests expectations out of the water. People are still talking to me about how it was hands down the most amazing wedding they had ever been to! If you’re thinking about working with her - take my word and just do it. You won’t regret it for a second. Maria - thank you SO MUCH, from the bottom of our hearts. You made the first day of the rest of our lives more beautiful and unforgettable than we could have ever dreamed. We are so grateful to have worked with you and your team!!
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I don't even know where to begin! Eternally grateful are the words that come to mind though. When a friend of mine started her wedding planning, I searched through instagram to help find her a wedding planner, which is how I came across Maria's page. The photos were absolutely stunning and I loved her style. Fast forward a few months and not only had I recommended Maria, purely based on photos to one friend, but I then chose to work with her for our own wedding and was very eager to share her with yet another friend of mine. That resulted in Maria planning 3 weddings within a 2 month time frame for 3 friends with very similar guest lists! I know I speak for all 3 of us when I say how happy we were with Maria's support. Each wedding was unique and perfectly reflected our styles and preferences. Maria was extremely responsive & supportive throughout the whole process. On top of that, I felt like she and her colleagues were more like family and I truly hope to stay in touch with them. I think the saddest part once the weddings were all over was having to say goodbye to them!
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Maria helped make our dream wedding come true! We live in the States and wanted our wedding in Athens given my husband’s connection to Greece. Maria was great at taking care of everything remotely. Through many many emails (she was always responsive) and a few Skype calls, she managed to translate our vision into reality. My husband and I had the best night of our lives. Everything was beautiful and unforgettable. We would recommend her to anyone who is looking to plan their big day. Thanks Maria for your professionalism and creative eye!
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I wanted to let you know how great of a job you did on our wedding day! And in fact it’s hard to know where to start: First of all Thank you for helping us out with all the little details on the wedding weekend and for being present on all three evenings. I could probably write a book about what good of a job everybody did on this weekend but in the end, YOU put it all in place and made sure everything turned out perfectly!! And most important you took all the pressure off my shoulders and tried being patient with that German girl that is having a Greek wedding. I cannot thank you enough for the great job you did!!! Nicholas and I wish you all the best for your future as the most professional wedding planner!
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Maria, I just wanted to express my appreciation again for all your amazing work that you did for Nicholas’ and Eva’s wedding. The wedding day and all the pre- celebration events were absolutely perfect and will always be an unforgettable and memorable time for all of us!! Working with you was once again a pleasure. I wish you all the best and hopefully our roads will cross again in the near future.
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