Just one hour away from Athens and the island of Kea (or Tzia as the locals call it) could be half a world away from the turmoil and the passions of the capital. The island only comes alive (and packed) during weekends when Athenians pop over to their villas (and please no jibes about who paid for those). During the week, it is pleasant, quiet (and room rates drop by 30 percent).

Unlike any other island in the Cyclades Kea doesn’t have the typical white square-box architecture. In the capital, Ioulida, looking up at the red-tiled roofs and neoclassical houses, you might think you stumbled on Plaka-by-the sea. And no whitewashing here either; houses are built using slabs of the locally quarried stone, a green brown mineral that looks its best during sunset when the houses glitter and look bathed in gold.

To give you an idea of daily life on Kea, here are some portraits of locals going about their jobs during one Friday in June.