Greece

A Local Slice of Mykonos Flavour


The morning has arrived

with a high, flat cloud cover, much different from the clear, sunny brightness of the last two days. I awake feeling much better although I still have some stomach issues. The ferry is scheduled to leave for Mykonos from the new port at 11:10 and we don’t have much packing to do since we really didn’t unpack when our bags finally arrived. Our star bag porter arrives and further impresses us by carrying both big bags back up the gazillion steps to the lobby and then through the cobbled streets of Santorini to the taxi stop. Well worth the €5 tip, I say.

Our ferry is on time and we are traveling on the fast boat this morning. Four hours to Mykonos instead of 6. Our trip is uneventful and we arrive in Mykonos with a group of 25 students from Virginia studying the classics. Pandemonium ensues as we realize that we are all staying at the same hotel and management hasn’t sent a big enough bus to transfer all of us. Two trips and a car ride later, John somehow gets to the head of the line for check-in and we are given a quaint room with a small patio and a lovely view overlooking Mykonos Town, no more than a 5-minute walk up the hill from the town center.

Sharing Our View

We share our view with a local slice of Mykonos flavour: an elderly gentleman’s green garden, not yet planted, his ground preparation at a snail-like pace; an over-zealous rooster who cannot tell the time with his close friends, the barking dogs. Further up the hill, some young Greek “guys”, tight jeans, mirrored sunglasses all, under-employed, rev-revving their Honda motorbikes.  And of course the standard Greek grandmother, probably the saintly wife of the green gardener, her scarfed head protected from the hilly wind. I watch with fascination and try to figure how they all interconnect. Other than the occasional burst of blue sky, the weather is cool, overcast and rainy.

Exploring the Labyrinth

We completely unpack. This is the first time we have done that since we left Bali. It is cool and seems like Fall to us. I am actually enjoying it; John finds it “cold”. Long pants and long sleeves.We walk into the labyrinth of streets and alleys that is Mykonos Town and quickly get lost. We pass Diesel and DKNY shops huddled beside kitschy Greek souvenir shops. High-end clothes with low-end junk. Smutty T-shirts abound. Tavernas and hole-in-the-walls selling cigarettes and worry beads. The occasional white-laced window, someone’s home, anticipating the warm weather to open up and welcome or curse the tourists. Lots of dirty-apron-ed old women in slippers sitting on stools, watching and waiting for summer to begin. We keep heading to our left and eventually end up by the water in Little Venice for a quick beer (2 small beers = €12!!! Another huge change from Asia).

A 24 Hour Change

Even this early in the season people don’t eat until later so we do the 10-minute glute workout back up the hill to our hotel and grab quick naps and extra layers of clothes and head out about 8 o’clock in search of supper. I, in particular, have noticed how a change in diet can affect your physical well-being even in a 24 hour period. Gone are the spicy paneers, alloos and tandooris of 2 days ago, replaced by olive oil and feta cheese. Roast chicken and moussaka are the predictable and reliable foods on the menus here. I generally love Greek food but after India and Thailand, it is very boring. No heat and, in particular, no variety. But it quickly takes the form of comfort food in this familiar but strange cold climate and we gobble it down with a .5 litre of the house red. Just enough to wet our whistles. We wander a bit and stumble upon a deserted bar called Katerina’s, named in honour of the first female ship captain in Greece, managed by Darren, a wonderful guy from Toronto, who is full of useful information about life on Mykonos.

We watch the full moon lunar eclipse from the small balcony at Katerina’s, overlooking the bay, wrapped and warm in our extra layers.

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