Tours and Travels

MYKONOS GREECE…eat, search, journey, repeat!

The final island in our Large Fats Greek Island Escape trilogy simply HAD to be Mykonos and I don’t suppose it’s proper to go to this Aegean archipelago and never embody a visit round this iconic island haven! MB (Monsieur Bleu) and I had been regularly making our means again to Athens after which finally to France and Mykonos was one of many closest to the mainland. With its a lot photographed windmills, painted stone pathways and lapping waters of Little Venice, we had been undoubtedly in for a joyous three day/4 night time deal with!

We took the 50 minute ferry journey over to Mykonos from Paros on yet one more windy and drizzly day, every of us silently praying that the climate improved and that this final island fling would go away us with enviable chocolate-brown tans for our return to chilly French soil.


I had visited Mykonos twice earlier than, as soon as within the top of summer time with one other loopy Australian/ Hungarian girlfriend again in 1998 once I was a broke and irrepressible 26yr previous, after which once more once I was 35 and rather more calm and accountable! This was to be my third time and MB’s first and the fast journey was beautiful and filled with coupledom enjoyable from day one…

Arriving into the Port of Mykonos alongside a gaggle of dazed and confused wanting weary travellers, we had been confronted with the dilemma of make our method to Mykonos City because it appeared that street taxis had been few and much between and boarding just a little water taxi bus (Venice it actually was) was the most affordable, quickest and most dependable possibility!

Plowing our means via the uneven water for the ten minute journey, we had been very excited to be there and I used to be reminiscing the heck out of it, pointing and exclaiming all the means and bossily ordering MB to “take a look at the windmills and the Venetian fashion setting!” as we approached our vacation spot. Poor man, I did this for all the time and he by no means as soon as instructed me to place a sock in it!


But once more, we had rented a typical ‘greek fashion’ blue and white condominium from AirB&B proper within the coronary heart of Mykonos City. The placement was good as we had direct entry to all the good nighttime haunts and a ‘centre court docket seat’ view from our terrace so we might spy on bored wanting shopkeepers and frazzled vacationers all while hidden behind unruly clumps of cascading grape vines! The maze of laneways via the city gave us a crash course in navigation and we had been lucky that our place was immediately above a busy little jewelry retailer and one avenue again from the water. Nevertheless, we did take a number of unsuitable activates the primary day, getting misplaced and disorientated and solely by luck and sheer dedication finally discovered our means again residence, concurrently discovering a beautiful bakery AND some stylish little eating places alongside the best way! …”getting misplaced isn’t a waste of time”…


Not ones to mess with a superb recipe, we adopted our ordinary island routine and made discovering a scooter/bike rental place (not removed from the well-known windmills on the sting of Mykonos City) our first precedence! So on the primary morning, armed with a shiny paper map and a number of enthusiastic expectations for this upcoming expedition, we headed for the seaside to hopefully get a head begin on these tans because the solar was out and shining down upon us!

We rode south within the route of all the favored and well-known seashores and determined to make our first cease Agios Ioannis (one of many most popular seashores for celebrities). Nevertheless, a few of you would possibly realize it higher because the picturesque seaside on the coronary heart of the 1989 iconic rom com chick flick Shirley Valentine! We had been good little ‘journey college students’ and had carried out our homework analysis, really watching this unhappy and humorous however surprisingly transferring movie previous to our arrival right here in Mykonos! I used to be itching to go to this stretch of sand to see for myself simply how a lot it had modified through the years, and if it was nonetheless widespread as a minor vacationer attraction for the over 40’s who really appreciated Pauline Collins’ and Tom Conti’s memorable portrayal of a vacation fling love tryst on this Aegean Island paradise!


I used to be in shock once we arrived, not as a result of it had modified or was terrible in anyway, however as a result of WE WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE THERE! No Joke…
The little seaside was secluded and completely abandoned, the ‘rock’ and different craggy boulders from the film nonetheless seen and accessible with good, crystal clear water washing over them. The little blue and white resort from the movie, Manoulas Seashore Lodge remains to be there, however has undergone a significant facelift rendering it sadly unrecognisable (I a lot most popular the quaint, authentic model), however I’m positive it does a unbelievable commerce throughout the summer time. The restaurant and bar from the movie was nonetheless standing too, and has additionally undergone a classy renovation having been re named The Hippy Fish. Sadly it was already closed for the season, and I had envisioned having an expensive lunch there for our premier jour in Mykonos, however a splash and a stroll alongside the water’s edge mixed with a number of blissful snaps to seize the second and an newbie reenactment of the final scene of the movie needed to suffice! “Goodbye Shirley, Shirley Valentine”…


From there, MB and I rode our means alongside the twisting sea roads in direction of Ornos Seashore, a tiny, flashy spot with a great deal of bistros (many closed already) and a classy city centre. We stopped and had a fast look earlier than deciding to return one other day, and headed for Platis Gialos (the place I had stayed beforehand)! It’s a very beautiful space and the seaside is small however filled with solar loungers with a number of eating places and upmarket boutique inns dotted alongside the shore. In fact it had been modernised since my final go to (I described intimately to MB what it ‘used to appear like’…fortunate man) and was fairly windy, so we elected to attempt to discover a extra sheltered seaside for our first time out as we had had fairly sufficient wind in Paros thanks very a lot!


Transferring on, MB took the position as Captain for the day and puttered down a misplaced and overwhelmed goat monitor and there we found a tiny little native seaside hang-out known as Paraga! There was no wind right here (thank God) and it had one little taverna open and some chairs for rent. I believe everybody there that day had the identical notion of discovering solace from the weather because it gave the impression to be a gathering place for households and a few native backpackers who had the good concept of tenting and making a bbq lunch below the pine bushes! We plonked ourselves down on a patch of sand and at last took our first swim in crystal clear, cool Mykonos water. (In hindsight, it was fortunate we selected to spend the day there and revel in some enjoyable downtime, as the following three days changed into a by no means ending blustering squall of rain showers and robust gusts of wind that made us tour the island on two wheels as an alternative of cooking ourselves to a crisp!)

Not one other greek salad? I hear you ask. Certainly there was, as starvation reigned supreme and we dived mouth first into yet one more scrumptious array of Hellenic specialties accompanied by complimentary pictures of Ouzo at Tasos Taverna…the only place open for enterprise! Octopus, salad, olives, tzatziki and naturally…extra free almond and lemon cake… left us satiated sufficient to break down right into a meals coma for a number of hours within the solar and make mates with the resident cat who strutted proudly alongside the seaside, stopping for pats and cuddles earlier than returning to his rightful place below the tables on the taverna and stalking the diners for morsels of meals!


Maintaining on the seaside theme…Mykonos is effectively referred to as the Homosexual Celebration Island and its two most important celebration seashores are Paradise and Tremendous Paradise. Not removed from Paraga, they are often reached by driving down lengthy, steep and winding inland roads, previous sheep farms and weird architecturally designed pigeon homes (that are distinctive to Mykonos). However these pumping and heaving rave like dance events that when ignited the day and night time with the electro-house beats from Worldwide DJ’s units, inflicting trance like dance strikes from wiry bikini clad supermodels, are nothing however a distant reminiscence once you go to in late October!


When MB and I discovered finally positioned Paradise Seashore it was a bit unhappy and deflated. A couple of die laborious vacationers may very well be discovered wandering across the now empty bars or mendacity on the sand being whipped by chilly winds and even a promise of steady ‘Pleased Hour Drinks’ from the one bar that was open couldn’t increase the spiralling temper!


We rode on in direction of Tremendous Paradise, the star attraction of the dance celebration scene (it’s fairly a feat to achieve as its miles away from anyplace and hidden down roughly laid a method streets) and the place I visited once I was 26, and I used to be not tremendous shocked that it was fully shut up! The scuffed bamboo dance flooring had been now empty, the waterfront bars boarded up and just some wretched stays of magnum champagne bottles may very well be discovered mendacity round and gathering mud within the nook of the as soon as tremendous unique and coveted VIP part of the Tropicana Seashore Bar, one of many prime on this planet! The seaside itself was fully abandoned too and we had been the one ones there (as ordinary) and I bored MB to dying once more by recounting
highlights from my previous hedonistic days of leaping round half bare on this precise seaside alongside nearly all of the Homosexual/LGBTI neighborhood of Mykonos AND all while clutching a Piña Colada… what a talent! (I even gave him an illustration)… Ah, these had been the times!


As a result of the climate had determined to show into autumn the few days we had been there, our lengthy wanted solar and seaside break didn’t occur, so we used our time simply cruising across the island and stopping for lunch or a therapeutic massage at among the different areas like Psarou and Ornos (all had been quiet and winding down for the season), celeb stalking the Kardashian’s vacation home and lazily investigating the community of paths that create the a lot photographed inside world of Mykonos City!

Mykonos City and Little Venice (named as such because of the place of its previous, Venetian fashion buildings inbuilt and alongside the water’s edge) is sort of a big space to cowl and fairly tough to navigate in case you are directionally challenged like me! MB is used to crusing, so understanding his north from his southwest is youngster’s play…therefore I observe him round these areas like a misplaced pet! FYI: Saying this nonetheless, I managed fairly effectively in Athens (surprisingly sufficient) and managed to find a specific restaurant which we thought had been misplaced to us endlessly! I discover my means residence by remembering outlets and consuming locations and right here was no completely different so long as you didn’t depend on ‘the one with the blue door’!


We spent a lazy morning wandering round this stunning space admiring the cosy cafés crammed with teams of rotund greek males all sitting collectively and chatting about life, absentmindedly flicking ornate strings of fear beads or Komboloi, sipping on thimbles of espresso or ouzo with bored cats winding round their ft. Fairly little boutiques lined the alleyways, all squashed collectively, every with their very own particular person design and elegance, and ropes of Greek Blue Eyes stared out at us from above each doorway beckoning us to enter at our pockets’s peril! Large salmon pink pelicans wander the streets right here as effectively, calm and unperturbed by the fixed clicks and flashes from iPhones capturing their magnificence. No marvel it’s such a wanted vacation vacation spot!


The primary place I ever tried and tasted a conventional Yiros /Gyros (Greece’s culinary nod to the scabby kebabs of late night time drunken cravings, however with perspective) was proper right here in Mykonos City means again in 1998! My physique is NOT a temple (no quantity of scorching yoga will ever purge the quantity of garbage that enters it) so deciding to re create my first expertise and greedily indulge on this ‘quick meals made in heaven’ was a deal with for each of us! Native delicacies like these all the time style higher on the supply anyway and MB and I hungrily lapped up this juicy deal with, wrapped in heat puffy pita bread crammed with thick greek yogurt and freshly grilled lamb and hen (some crispy french fries wrapped in amongst the meat) and had been fortunately glad for a cut price three euros!


We celebrated our eleventh ‘collectively’ anniversary while on vacation right here too and determined to go loopy, have an evening in town and run amok amongst the bars on the slippery steps of Little Venice. While misplaced and in search of our condominium sooner or later, we had fallen upon a beautiful restaurant down a lifeless finish avenue known as Mamalouka and determined {that a} romantic candlelight dinner right here could be a beautiful method to commemorate the event! We had a easy however flavoursome meal that night time, accompanied by a number of beneficiant glasses of heavy pink wine while sitting amongst the attractive Mykonian crowd, sheltered from the rain sprinkles by large trellises of vines, lemon bushes and scorching pink bougainvillaea.


Afterwards we dared the crowded, stone banks of Little Venice’s precariously positioned bars and loved some superior cocktails and throbbing tunes by the resident DJ at Negrita, probably the most photographed bar in Mykonos. Chatting to locals and taking selfies, we acted like a few love sick youngsters on a primary date and minimize a rug on the dance flooring, boogieing with the Greek Soccer workforce effectively into the night time! It was such enjoyable and the most effective night time we’d had on the entire journey.


However the enjoyable didn’t finish right here! On our method to the airport for our flight again to Athens on our last morning, we made a pit cease on the largest grocery store in Mykonos. I’m so glad we did because it was the BEST both of us had ever seen…

The scale of a small metropolis, it was filled with produce from each nation on this planet (each packaged and recent) and had a liquor part that may put Dan Murphy’s (Australia’s reply to a big wine and bottle store) to disgrace. That is the place the mega wealthy and well-known go looking for their night time cap tipple of alternative because it has particular cabinets devoted to magnums of each spirit, wine or champagne that your countless finances can afford! It was unbelievable. To prime it off, there are film screens all over the place taking part in music movies and an area DJ performs on the highest flooring every single day and night time throughout the summer time season as this disco heaven is open 24/7…Howdy! Embarrassingly, we simply gaped and pointed at every thing and ended up shopping for some greek chocolate and a cool buying bag as proof we had been there and slunk away for our last flight feeling like a few poor previous losers pretending to be cool!

WE HAD DONE IT! We would not have achieved the bronzed god and goddess appears we had envisioned, however had toured and explored three stunning Greek Islands, all of them distinctive in fashion but comparable of their ties to historical Cycladic methods. We had swum in jewelled seas, eaten our weight in octopus, greek salad and fetta, and ridden miles and miles of rugged and dusty roads. We had trodden kilometres of geometric pathways, drunk countless cups of espresso and patted prides of lovely avenue cats. We had witnessed breathtaking sunsets, worshiped historical ruins and admired clumps of untouched white washed villages. We had talked to locals, purchased fruit and wine and stated tons of of kaliméra’s and yasou’s…however NOT ONCE, in all the time, did we smash a bloody plate! Efcharistó Greece, we will probably be again…


…”Of all of the books on this planet, the most effective tales are discovered between the pages of a passport”…Nameless


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