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Especially for those of us who live in towns and big cities, the constant background drone of traffic is the soundtrack to our lives. We get so used to it we tune it out, only the odd screech of a siren or alarm cutting through; but it is there all the time, relentlessly adding to our stress levels, not to mention pollution levels. To truly and utterly get away to a place where there is absolutely not one car, not even a moped, seems improbable in this day and age. Surely everywhere has vehicles now? Certainly places which also offer accommodation, restaurants and shops? Unless you want to wild camp on a deserted mountaintop, surely such a quest is unviable?

Well, no, it's not, not if you get yourself on a ferry from Piraeus and take the two hour trip across the Aegean to the island of Hydra. Arriving here, not even a quad bike will materialise to carry your luggage across the marble paved harbour. The porterage on this island is done by donkey. In fact, donkeys do all the "donkey work" on Hydra and are the sole means of carriage. The only engines are out on the water and attached to boats. Water taxis are plentiful and can easily zip you away to hidden and even more tranquil coves. Bisti Bay and Agio Nikolaos bays are almost always deserted, even in high summer.

Although Hydra has all the attributes of the classic Greek island of our imaginations, the white cubed houses, the steep winding streets lined with bougainvillaea, the crystal clear seas and the shore side tavernas; it does not have sandy beaches. The pebbled beaches could be one of the reasons it has not become built up and overrun with tourists. Most of its visitors are day trippers from Athens. There is also a planning regulation in place which prohibits building in the town, so it has a nostalgic, almost "film set" feel to it, untouched by modernity (including cars!). It is far from fusty though. There are lots of nice shops and a glittering yacht set coming ashore lend an international ambience to the lively bars and cafes. The Four Seasons at Plakes beach is recommended as the best on the island. Up in the interior, it is dry, parched scrubland but there are a myriad of wild flowers, herbs and butterflies. A climb to the Profitis Ilias monastery, above Hydra town, will take about an hour and a half and will reward you with sublime views.

If you prefer the sound of rolling pebbles to the sound of rolling road stock, you need to get over to Hydra for the ultimate in pedestrian peacefulness.

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