Rebetiko > Hydra Conferences
Old panorama of Hydra, thanks to the Hippocampos Hotel for this!

Hydra Conferences

Each year, starting in 2001, a conference on Rebetiko has been organised on the Greek island of Hydra. The conferences are organised by Ed Emery.

Hydra itself is an amazing place. There are almost no motor vehicles on the island. I saw just two trucks in 2003. Donkeys are the main form of transport, apart from walking.

Donkeys and their operator at the harbour on Hydra.
Hydra's donkeys waiting for work.

I first went to the conference in 2003, I went again in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and I intend to go to as many more as I can after that...

Getting there.

Let us assume you have just arrived at Athens Airport. Right outside the Arrivals part of the airport there is a bus stop for the E96 service to Pireas. You can buy tickets from a little office, or from the bus driver. The tickets are very cheap, and a taxi will cost you twenty times as much. The journey takes a little more than an hour, depending on traffic, and ends within an easy walk (assuming your luggage has wheels or is rather light) of the Pireas dock gates.

Go in, turn left and walk along until you find the ticket offices. There are several, some for big ferries, some for the Flying Dolphins, which are hydrofoils. The Hellas Flying Dolphin ticket office opens at 6.30 AM, or earlier if they see you waiting and feel like opening. First Dolphin to Hydra goes at 8 AM, so if you arrived an EasyJet night flight, you will have a while to wait. The refreshments place at the far end of the hydrofoil dock seems to have closed down, which is a shame, as it was useful. The new toilets are a welcome relief, and seem to have a full time cleaner.

Get on the Dolphin, or ferry if you prefer. Don't get off at Poros. On Hellas dolphins, they announce what port they are arriving at, the others probably do as well. Get off at Hydra, and sit down in a cafe while you decide whether or not to hire a donkey to carry your case to the hotel... Have a coffee... You have arrived... Good, isn't it?

Old panorama of Hydra, thanks to the Hippocampos Hotel for this!