From Rafina to Andros

by Irma Havlicek
Web content producer

Paul Donnelly with our host at the seaside pavement cafe in Rafina
Paul Donnelly with our host at the seaside pavement cafe in Rafina. © AAIA; photo by Irma Havlicek
Paul Donnelly, Archaeologist and Decorative Arts Curator at the Powerhouse Museum, and I were both able to participate in the entire Zagora Archaeological Project (ZAP) seasons of some six weeks in 2012 and 2013. This year, however, we are both only able to join the project about mid-way through. We travelled at the same time (on different flights) and met at Athens Airport to catch the bus to the port of Rafina, from which the ferries to Andros operate.

In 2012, the first year of the project, several ZAP members met at Rafina and we chose this Rafina cafe for our refreshments before catching the ferry to Andros. The service was friendly and the food fresh and tasty. So last year, in 2013, Paul and I sought to repeat the experience – which was just as good the second time.

Our late lunch at the Rafina seaside pavement cafe
Our late lunch at the Rafina seaside pavement cafe. From left: fried cheese, eggplant dip, whitebait. We are drinking home-made ouzo. Is it any wonder we keep coming back here? © AAIA; photo by Irma Havlicek

This year (last Thursday), after buying our ferry tickets to Andros, and with an hour-and-a-half to wait, we headed once more to our familiar and friendly cafe. The host remembered us and greeted us warmly. We relished the opportunity to indulge in what had now become a ritual – both wondering this time whether we’d get this opportunity again (we both hope so).

The view from the back of the ferry as we departed Rafina for Andros
The view from the back of the ferry as we departed Rafina for Andros. © AAIA; photo by Irma Havlicek
A breathtaking sunset not long after departing Rafina on the 5.30pm ferry
A breathtaking sunset not long after departing Rafina on the 5.30pm ferry to Andros. © AAIA; photo by Irma Havlicek

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4 thoughts on “From Rafina to Andros”

  1. With homemade ouzo on offer I’m surprised you caught your ferry ! We always stick to Lesvos ouzo so we know the strength. That waiter looks familiar and we think that’s the restaurant we ate in while waiting for our ferry. Its called Palia Rafina and we will be visiting again in 2015. Eating out in Greece is such a pleasant experience and the prices are the icing on the cake.
    PS. We love the restaurants around Darling Harbour too !!

    • Well, we just had the one small bottle of ouzo – restrained, really. We had already been travelling about 30 hours, and still had to get our heavy luggage on to the ferry and then on to the bus at Batsi. Just as well because when we got of at the port of Gavrio on Andros, the wind was so fierce, the waves were washing up all over the ramp off the ferry. The ferry people actually wouldn’t let anyone off for several minutes, waiting for the wind to die down. You could feel the ferry moving sideways. One lady started to fall over going down the ramp, and grabbed on to me. Fortunately, my low ouzo levels enabled me to keep both of us and my luggage upright. Yes, I’m yet to be disappointed eating out in Greece – especially on the islands. Feel free to recommend any restaurants either in Greece or Darling Harbour. I may be able to check them out some time. Cheers. (Speaking of ‘cheers’, or ‘yammas’, it’s Saturday night as I write this, and we’re about to head out for dinner at Batsi soon. Mmmmm.)

    • Hi Irma,
      no wish to turn this site into Tripadvisor !
      However, on our return to Rafina we ate in Seirines. We ordered fish (of course) and the waiter simply went next door to the fishmonger and came back with our choice, only in Greece ! Once again we had an excellent long lunch only spoiled by the thought of the English weather waiting for us in a few hours time. We don’t envy your journey back to Oz. On our first visit we just stopped to refuel. Never again, we now stop for a few days and favour Singapore. Personally I would choose to live in Oz but with a large family in England my wife wont allow it !!
      We’ve been traveling Greece for over 25 years and stayed on 35+ islands and mainland locations. So much history, we love it. Strangest place ever was Necromanteon in Epirus. We were the only people there and the atmosphere in the underground room (pitch black) where people went to meet the dead was eerie to say the least.
      Keep up the good work.

    • Wow – that’s a lot of travelling. The Zagora Archaeological Project has really enthused me about this part of the world. My partner and I are coming back to Greece next year (for me to see a bit of mainland Greece outside of Athens and Rhodes that I haven’t seen before, as well as to revisit Athens, Mykonos and Delos). And I now have a list of places I hope to visit in the next few years as well. Problem is, the list keeps growing, the more I hear about different places from all these well-travelled archaeologists.
      And thanks for the tip: I’ll check out Seirines when I’m in Rafina on the way home….

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