Mykonos Greece – this is how it stays in my memory
“… as the bright pink bougainvillea flower fluttered down to the pristine white cobbled ground near my feet, I couldn’t help marvel the allure of the countless hues of magnificent blue spread out in front of me in the ever-changing façade of the Aegean sea, shimmering in the sunlight of the golden hour, mesmerising me, holding my gaze, refusing to drop my attention for even a second. In that moment with the sun on my face and the cool powerful gusts of wind in my hair, I experienced bliss …”
We had heard and read a lot about Greece, a place of diverse landscapes, more than 3000 years of rich history, excellent food, perfect climate and lovely people. Our wish of visiting this dreamland came true in June 2017 when we planned for a week-long tour with a good amalgamation of history, fun and Greek food. We were very excited to visit this country known for being the birthplace of Democracy, Olympic Games and much more.
During this trip to Greece, Mykonos came as a side dish, which turned out to be like a dessert – the best part of our journey. Mykonos is one of the most beautiful Greek islands known for its exquisite beauty and serene beaches. After receiving enough dose of history at Athens, we were looking forward to a good 3-day relaxation at Mykonos and Santorini Island.
Ferry From Athens to Mykonos
After breakfast at our hotel in Athens, we reached the main port of Athens, Piraeus Port, to embark on Blue Star luxury Yacht waiting to ferry us to the island of Mykonos. This Royal yacht had ample deck area at different levels across and one was close to where we were sitting. It was very windy on the deck. It had already started drizzling and the sky was overcast. Initially, I was engrossed in enjoying the beautiful weather, the flowing winds, and early morning chill. It was only after the drizzling stopped that the beauty all around struck me.
All around us was deep blue Aegean Sea which is an elongated embayment of Mediterranean Sea. Living in Goa for a good part of my life, sea & beaches are not new to me. Apart from Goa, I had seen seas at other places in India as well as rest of Asia. But I’ve never seen a sea as beautiful as the Aegean Sea. Crystal clear turquoise blue water took the top position in my heart amongst all the water bodies I had seen so far. Numerous Blue hues, divine clarity accompanied by wonderful weather can only be seen to be believed.
Panoramic view of islands from the Mykonos ferry
Slowly islands of Syros and Tinos moved past us. We were stunned by the beauty of the architectural landscape of these islands. We had a panoramic view of a perfect mixture of Cycladic and medieval architecture. The characteristics of Cycladic architecture are white cubic houses, cobblestone streets, pristine windmills and ubiquitous blue domed churches.
From ferry deck, we were able to see countless marble stairs between the narrow paths, lined by lovely houses with colored doors and windows that led to the top of the island. We were fascinated by the exquisite view of the islands and wanted to land on each of them. But these islands were not our destinations. Hoping to observe this architecture from close we looked forward to our trip to Mykonos Greece.
Evening at Mykonos
After providing us with an excellent 5-hour scenic experience the yacht landed at the destination. Mykonos, also called the island of winds lived up to its name and welcomed us with it’s fresh and pleasant wind. We were told that Mykonos island is the most popular and cosmopolitan island of the Cyclades. It is also considered to have one of the world’s most famous beaches and parties.
After we reached a beautiful beach resort with the calm turquoise blue sea at our doorsteps, our enthusiasm was dampened a little by a fresh bout of drizzling. It was our daughter whose spirits were affected the most. If this weather continued, it would hamper our visit to the city pedestrians and famous windmills scheduled for the next day. But then worrying doesn’t help anyone. Instead, we concentrated on our evening on the beach. Fortunately, the drizzling stopped and clear blue sky emerged.
As I said, being from Goa, beaches were not new. But Mykonos was a different experience altogether.
The Mykonos Beach
It was a clear blue sea with a very clean beach. Beach-beds were spread everywhere and people were having fun. But very few people were actually in the water. Once we reached close we realized why.
The sea bottom was hard volcanic solid surface. The coarse sand on the beach looked as if brought from somewhere else to give it a beach effect. As we entered the water, so welcoming, blissfully cold, absolutely clear and full of colorful harmless tiny fishes, we realized there was an obstructive ridge running along the beach inside the water. Beyond this natural ridge depth of sea drastically increased. We feared to hit our heads on the ridge while swimming. So we thought it is better to return to shore and enjoy.
We captured some beautiful photographs of the evening sea. Slowly the night crept in and we had one of the most beautiful moonlit skies. The Aegean Sea was shining in the moonlight like a shimmering platter of jewels. We were so mesmerized by the beauty of the night that for some time we were completely oblivious to the fun and frolic going on behind us on the beach.
Later, the evening was followed by dinner by the beach at the resort. There was not much choice. The resort is at a distance from the city center and was not accessible at that time. So we had to be happy with whatever was available. At least we had excellent visuals to make up for it. The mind was totally engaged in the visual treat all around, and the stomach did not complain. Around us people were busy dancing and partying, something Mykonos Greece is tagged for.
Next morning after breakfast we set out to visit pedestrian at city center. The city center is more commonly called principle village or ‘Chora”. There was a small bus stand in front of the resort gate which provided bus services to the city every half hour from 8 am to 8 pm. The city center was around 15 minutes’ drive from the resort.
Greece is known for its pedestrians. They are generally pristine areas buzzing with different activities like exotic shops, residences, cafes, restaurants, art galleries etc.. The lanes are so narrow that no vehicles are allowed inside. The name itself must have given you the idea that we are supposed to move around on foot.
In Athens, we had this experience in Monastiraki. But it was more of a flea market with clothes and souvenirs shops, restaurants and some bargaining shopping. There was nothing exotic or aestheticism attached to it. On the contrary, it was very crowded and congested.
Mykonos Greece Pedestrians
We had heard about the beauty of Mykonos Greece pedestrians before. And got the first glimpse of it as soon as we entered the village through a narrow lane. We were entering into a different world altogether. The first thing that caught our attention was a beautiful combination of white, blue and pink. There were small rectangular houses, at the most two storied. They had pure white walls with bright blue doors and window. The narrow paved pathways were also spic and span white. Invariably all houses had bougainvillea vines which were full of bright pink flowers.
Although the houses were old, they had immaculately maintained interiors and exteriors. Some of these were actually used as residences, while many housed shops, cafes and art galleries. We started walking in the lanes and realized that they were a big maze.
Shopping in Mykonos Greece
Walking on the narrow lanes we saw exotic shops for readymade garments, shoes, cosmetic jewelry, Dry fruits, and souvenirs. Although most articles were high-end products, garments made of soft Greek cotton and certain souvenirs attracted our attention. We did some shopping for ourselves and our loved ones.
Art galleries at Mykonos Greece
We saw many small art galleries while walking on the lanes. They were all privately owned galleries, exhibiting a variety of artifacts. What I liked most was the hospitality shown by the owners in each gallery we visited. They would enthusiastically explain each artifact and tell us about the artists. The galleries were open to all and there was no entry fee.
While walking on paths, we generally followed the direction of winds coming from the sea. That brought us out of the maze, face to face with the sea on the other side of the pedestrian. Looking towards our left we noticed the famous Mykonos windmills. Each of them had round shape, white colored walls, pointed roof, blue doors and small windows. We could not see the mills from inside as they were all closed. None of them are currently in working condition.
One of these windmills has been transformed into a museum.
I was told that there are currently 16 windmills on Mykonos of which seven are on the hill of Chora. Built by the Venetians they were primarily used to mill wheat and barley. Their use gradually declined and ceased production in the middle of the 20th century.
Cafes, bakeries & restaurants
In between shops and galleries, there were traditional bakeries serving freshly baked items. One of them showed us his traditional oven in the room behind the counter. We saw exotic as well as simple cafes, catering to the visitors. But one thing was common in all. They were all small in sizes, seeing the space constraint in the area. We tasted some local goodies and bought some to bring home.
Then there were beautiful restaurants, mostly semi-open, serving vegetarian and non-vegetarian Greek food along with continental spreads. As people say, Do in Rome as the Romans do. We had sumptuous Greek delicacies for lunch that day. Our souls were satisfied. After food, we were served local Greek wine on-the-house.
After lunch, we had another round of Chora and the seashore. This time we made a point to buy replicas of Mykonos windmills as souvenirs. We explored remaining galleries and shops till it started getting dark.
We wanted to come out of Chora to catch the bus back to the resort. The funny part was that we kept reaching the sea again and again. The maze of paths was trying to confuse us and was challenging the child in us. Fear of missing the last bus, made us ask for directions at each junction. Saying goodbye to a beautiful experience, we boarded the bus.
On-route to Santorini
After a fun-filled dinner, we had much-needed rest at the resort. Although tired physically, our spirits were relaxed and happy. The next morning we started for Mykonos port to reach Santorini by a high-speed boat. I may talk about our beautiful experience at Santorini next time. Till then, bye.
This is a Guest Post by our friend Madhumita Tamhane.
Madhumita is Telecommunication Engineer and a retired Professor. She is an ardent traveler and enjoys embarking on trips with her family. She is also associated with IndiTales Hindi as a translator from English blogs to Hindi blogs. Above photographs credit to the Author.