Saturday, July 3, 2010
Mykonos was our next stop on the ship - a small Greek island full of sandy beaches and a rather wild nightlife. Our ship actually docked at 1:00am, for anyone that might want to party until the sunrises (a popular beach tradition on the island). Russel and I decided to get our sleep and went out to explore the island around 9am. Our plan was to wander around the town in the morning and then find a beach to lay on for the afternoon. The town was in some ways similar to Santorini, sans the cliff. Whitewashed houses with brightly colored doors and windows, narrow streets full of shops, bars and restaurants. An area of the town, which sits right against the water is called “little Venice” and is home to some of the nicest restaurants in the town. There are also many clothing and jewelry stores in the town - a lot of handmade jewelry, clothing and art everywhere. Russel bought me a beautiful pair of earrings from one of the stores - see the picture below - they are studs of the “evil eye” - a symbol brought over to Greece by Turkey, which is supposed to ward off evil from the wearer. The symbol can be seen everywhere around Greece and Turkey. By this time, we were hungry and on a mission to find lunch. Gyros! We found a great little gyro shop and each got a gyro for $2.50, much cheaper than we expected. The funny thing about Gyros in the Greek islands is that they come with French fries on them - sound familiar? I wonder who came up with the tradition first, Pittsburgh or Greece? After an amazing lunch, we headed over to the bus station to make our way to the beach. The many beaches of Mykonos are accessible by buses that run frequently (or so we thought). Now we just had to choose which beach to go to. We had heard that one was more “family” oriented - ad that a few others were semi-nude, nude, and gay-nude. We knew which beaches were the nude and gay-nude beaches, but weren’t sure which were the family and semi-nude beaches - we took our chance on Paraga beach. Paraga beach is a small inlet surrounded by rocks and sand - when we arrived we saw many beach chairs and umbrellas available for rent, and luckily, no naked sunbathers! Further down the beach we saw that people were just laying on towels, which was free and more our style anyway. So, we headed down to that area of the beach. Once we reached the far end of the chair area Russel elbowed me to let me know something was up. I had been so excited about being on a beach that I didn’t even notice the fully naked man standing 10 feet from us. By then we had reached the towel area and realized that there was a difference between the people from the chairs and the people on the towels - swimsuits. We saw way way way more than we bargained for. Fully naked (and I mean FULLY) men and women (and most of them over the age of 60) just walking around like there wasn’t a care in the world. Both of us looked down at our feet and finally caved in and paid the 12 euros to rent beach chairs and an umbrella at the other end of the beach. We lounged on the beach until the next bus was scheduled to arrive - of course, the one time in Mykonos something left early. Since busses only come once an hour, we had some time to kill. Luckily we had been conservative with our time and had given an hour or so cushion time incase something like this happened. So, we sat at the nearby bar (which turned out to be a very strange youth hostel) and each had a large beer. We had each ordered a liter, so by the time the next bus was scheduled to arrive, we were feeling’ pretty good. Of course, that buzz was killed as soon as we realized that the bus schedule was every hour except for the 3:00. The receptionist a the youth hostel told us to wait a bit because they usually come every hour anyway and that they’re usually a little late. 45 minutes later, still no bus. OK - time to panic - we had an hour to get back to the ship and we were several miles from the town, which was another two miles from the port. Luckily, there were a few Australian travelers in a similar situation (although they didn’t have a cruise to catch, just wanted to get home) and they agreed to share a cab with us to the town. The cab driver was insane, as expected, but we made it to the town in time to catch one of the last shuttles to the boat. Not exactly the most relaxing end to the day in Mykonos, but a wonderful day on another wonderful island nevertheless. Next up: Athens!