Following on with my trip to Greece back in 2012, having spent a couple of days in hot and humid Athens we decided to escape from the city and head to one of the nearby islands. We originally planned to go to Hydra, a tiny traffic-free island, but the ferries were already fully-booked. With not much time to spare we were somewhat limited with how far we could travel, so finally decided on Aegina (Greek: Αίγινα), one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, 27 KM from Athens. It is a very chilled out island that has become a popular quick getaway for Athenians during the summer months.
Whilst on our way out to dinner on the first night, we passed a beachside cafe that was full of Greeks sharing an aperitif and chatting. The cafe was just next to the beach where the very calm waves were slowly lapping onto the sand. After a minute or so, I decided to head straight back to the cafe and record the ambiance.
Later that night we headed back towards our hotel, a walk that took us past the local square that houses a magnificent church. I had heard the bell ringing as we ate dinner and was keen to capture this.
It was just before midnight so I had time to walk around the church and find an isolated spot. On one side was the main seafront road that had a fairly regular stream of both people and traffic, so I decided to head around the other side, a small backstreet. As we were leaving the island the following day I only really had one shot at recording this. I positioned myself away from the cicadas which were making quite a noise and hit record a few minutes before midnight.
When recording in uncontrolled environments, such as public places, you often have to pray that no un-wanted elements will get into your recordings. Often they do, and it’s something that overtime I’ve learned to deal with. Ideally I would have loved to have captured the church bell with the cicadas in the background. It started well but just as the bell struck six, two motorbikes began heading towards me along the backstreet. Not really anything you can do about that!
The following day we hired a scooter and headed to the small fishing village of Perdika on the South West of the island. After a beautiful drive along the coastline we arrived in the village and found a small cafe next to the port. With cicadas singing, families swimming and locals drinking coffee, I decided to record the soundscape.
Before leaving Aethina, we walked around the local town centre. It was Monday morning and the fish market was in full swing, so naturally I headed inside to record the ambiance.
Having spent a wonderful few days in Athens and Aegina, it really gave us the desire to head back to Greece and discover more of this wonderful country. Great food, great people and some interesting soundscapes.