When you were Young: Mykonos

Monday 21st September

We were meant to have had a wake up call in order for the group to have time for a quick breakfast before our ferry. Fortunately Kirstie didn’t take the term ‘wake up call’ literally like I had done so because we set our alarms it didn’t matter that we were not notified. Some of those in the group were however running quite late as a result of the miscommunication.

After arriving at the ferry Kirstie and I made our way to our seats. A lady was sitting next to us but had placed a hat on one of the seats saying her sister was already sitting there. Eventually she let us take our seats however almost immediately tried to push her way through the row despite the available row width being less than a theatre or sports stadium. Kirstie and I scrambled out to let her past and took our seats again. Soon the lady returned with sister in tow. They said something in a language which was lost on me before mercifully she left and never returned so we ended up with a spare seat. The remainder of the journey was uneventful and due to the early start I mostly slept as did Kirstie who somehow curled up on the seat like a cat.

We checked in to our hotel in Mykonos after meeting our new guide Kyriaki and checked in to our hotel. The group was split up and we were in the one with Nik and Anna “The Doctors” and Aaron and Lindsay. Sometimes it can take a while for a group to click especially if there are groups travelling together (because they tend to stick together) but we were quite fortunate that even early on people were open and interacting. This was evident when a large group of us decided to get lunch and a couple of beers together during our free time.

After enjoying a hearty Greek salad we decided to go to the beach where the owner of the cafe we’d eaten at let us use the deck chairs for free. We took a bottle of Rose with us and lounged in the heat although it wasn’t quite the glorious sunshine I had expected. In fact on our arrival it had rained, apparently the first drops on the island since April. Eventually we all returned to our rooms for a shower before we met back in reception to catch the bus in to the old harbour in the main town.

The old port was quite pretty and Kyriaki took us on a ‘orientation’ walk. This was an opportunity for her to provide some information about the island and to show us some of the main sites which included the famous Little Venice area, the Windmills and a pretty church. Mykonos gained its name due to its first ruler, Mykons, the son of the god Apollo in Greek mythology and is also said to have been the location of a great battle between Zeus and Titans.

After the walk we went for dinner where I had stuffed peppers as a starter and Moussaka as a main course. I was feeling quite tired and would have been quite happy going to a bar where we could chat a bit more but we ended up going to a night club. I hadn’t really drunk enough and I think I was just having an off night and more reserved than usual because I was carrying my camera. As I’d booked on a early tour to Delos I was relieved when the majority of the group decided to call it an early night and to get the midnight bus home.

Tuesday 22nd September
Kirstie and I made our way to breakfast and sat on an adjacent table to Nik and Anna. Josh soon joined us despite staying out until the early hours of the morning but his friend Mel was apparently still asleep in bed. We ate breakfast until the bus arrived and then left for the old port to catch a boat to Delos now a small uninhabited island which had once been home to a ancient town of approximately 30,000 and significant in Greek mythology.

It was incredibly windy on the deck of the boat and as we were taking a couple of group photos Niks hat blew off but thankfully was caught by a crew member on the quay rather than heading in to the sea. We escaped inside due to the wind and because whilst it wasn’t raining the ominous clouds from the day before remained. Fortunately the sea wasn’t rough and we arrived at the port with no further dramas.

We started by walking towards the Theatre but without a guide or displays it was difficult to know the significance of what we could see. Kirstie was however more likely to be correct with her suggestion of shops and her observation that they were of a similar appearance to those in Pompeii however we all laughed at Stevie’s jokey prison island concept.

We arrived at the theatre where I tried to imagine how it would have looked in its prime when in 600BC it would have been home to a new entertainment phenomenon “the play”. Stages in the style of the Ancient Greeks are still used as are their themes of love, comedy and tragedy though masks to express emotions are now mostly discarded.

The first significant structure was the House of Dolphins which had the remains of mosaic but beyond that weren’t sure of the historical importance. We continued upwards, up a steep hill which according to our map led to the Sanctuary of Zeus. None of us had appropriate footware and clouds slowly started to release their contents whilst we also began to understand why the Islands name is translated as ‘Island of the Wind’. Eventually we arrived at the top and the view of remains below felt worth the effort as it allowed us to grasp the scale. It was quite a small island and it must have been quite densely populated.

We followed a slightly different path down and came to a temple with a headless statue which Josh had seen on a postcard so went about successfully creating the image. The sun was finally starting to disperse the clouds by the time we reached the quay. We still had plenty of time to explore the other half of the island but went in search of the cafe and museum first.

The centre of the entrance to the museum contained a large black table which Nik instinctively placed his bag of fruit on and a lady quickly emerged explaining it was actually an artefact. Nik and I were obviously embarrassed but once we’d apologised and she’d gone sheepishly joked to each other that he was just returning it to its original use from thousands of years ago – to store Greek grown apricots and plumbs. On our exit we noticed a computer displaying CCTV footage from at least 20 different cameras around the Island which obviously made sense because of the historical significance of the remains.

After leaving the museum I spotted the ‘Avenue of Lions’ and we followed a path which took us past a few other remains first which included a temple and the Sacred Lake. The Avenue of Lions was dedicated to Apollo by the inhabitants of the Island around 600 BC and reminded me of the avenues of sphinxes in Egypt.

We made our way back to quay and as it was less windy I sat on the top deck in the sun listening to music. I felt very relaxed though perhaps not quite as much as Steve who fell asleep. After arriving back in Mykonos we slowly made our way through the town from the port towards the Windmills passing through Little Venice in the process. We ate at a organic restaurant suggested by Josh where the taste of my dolmades could not be questioned though they did fail on my beer order. First they missed me out completely, after a while they brought over two beers, one of which was the wrong size then compounded the mistake by charging me for three including.

We were slightly late in meeting Kyriaki at the old port bus stop but it didn’t seem to matter and we joined the rest of the group on the coach. There were a few new faces but no time for introductions as we drove to Paradise Beach, one of the most famous beaches on the island. I had expected the sand to be fine and golden as it had been in Valencia but it was actually quite rough and not overly pleasant to walk on. I took a sun lounger and belly flopped in to the sea only to discover it wasn’t the warm feeling Mediterranean sea I had imagined from the postcards.

Fallon and Kirstie were already taking a dip and I attempted to get a video of us diving under water on my go pro. I returned to my sun lounger and ordered a mojito where I slowly ‘sun baked’ as the clouds had parted to reveal blue sky and sun. After a while I was heated up enough to take a second dip before I ordered a Dragon cocktail and dried out again. By the time I’d finished the “beach party” was beginning at the bar we were ordering drinks from.

In the high season I imagine it must get quite lively but it was mostly just us which was also quite nice because we could be silly on the stage and break more ice. Steve, Kirstie, Anna and Nik were often seen to be on there trying to learn the moves from the instructor, though I had a few goes and tried with moderate success to spin Fallon and Kyriaki. Towards the end I was alone doing my increasingly out dated signature ‘Man on a mobile phone whilst DJing’ dance move as Kirstie clicked away on my camera. I then decided to jump off the stage towards her and she caught the perfect image of me in mid flight.

Nik, Anna, Fallon and I then decided to get a tequila each which probably reflected how merry I was getting. A miscommunication with the bar staff meant we ended up with 2 each, one with “good” tequila and one with “bad” according to Nik. Personally they both tasted as disgusting as each other in my opinion. Shortly after we boarded the “party bus” back to the hotel. Kirstie tried to start a singing competition with the Kiwi lads that had joined the tour and I assisted in belting out John Farnham to ensure a hands down Aussie victory.

I’m not sure why I then was volunteered in to singing solo and after a not particularly great rendition of Wonderwall I returned with Hey Jude. I had no intention of singing the whole song and instead just shouted / Sang “Naaa, Na, Na, Na-Na Na, La-La-La Laaa” hoping someone would shout Hey Jude as I fell silent and pointed to ‘my’ audience. Thankfully Aaron obeyed as did one or two others. Unfortunately despite an attempt by Kirstie to rouse the Americans in to singing Cotton Eye Joe my performance could not be bettered (in my own mind I should add…)

The Greek culture is about late dinners so we briefly returned to the hotel before we caught the bus back in town. I was sitting near two of the new girls Mel and Anna. As they felt they needed to integrate quickly in to the group we agreed to skip all of the standard getting to know you talk. At some point it began to rain and even though they appeared to be under cover drips made it through. In contrast I didn’t realise how close I was to water gushing down just behind me until I stepped back to go to the toilet soaking my chair in the process.

The food had been nice enough but in my merry state I was still hungry. Fortunately I was in the country famous for a kebab nicer than a kebab called a Gyros which I’d never had but been told to try. Nik wanted one as well so we ordered one before joining some of the others in a bar. The music was loud enough without being a conversation stopper and after a few more drinks most of us left for the midnight bus.


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