Connections between Aegina (‘EGG-ee-na’) and Piraeus are so frequent that many islanders commute to work. Yet Aegina has a distinctly villagey, laid-back atmosphere. It has a traditional fishing fleet, a handful of beaches and good tavernas; it has the best-preserved ancient temple on any Greek island, and the basilica and tomb of one of the most popular Greek saints – in fact, many who come here are Orthodox pilgrims.
Aegina is also the supreme island of pistachios. Introduced in ancient times from Persia, perhaps by Alexander the Great, what the Greeks call ‘Aegina nuts’ grow better here than anywhere else in Greece. In late August, farmers use long to sticks dislodge the nuts into canvas sheets before sun-drying them on flat terraces. The nuts are on sale in all the shops; they’re no bargain, but avoid the cheaper ones – they’re artificially dried and lose their natural oils.
Images by Andy Montgomery, Ava Babili, CNG, Creative Commons License, Ggia, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Creative Commons, Jorge Láscar, macrolepis, Paul Munhoven, Paweł 'pbm' Szubert, PD Art, Scott McLeod, Zde