Travel

A short stay in Mykonos

I won’t have much to say or show you from Mykonos. Quite frankly, it wasn’t our favourite place. Perhaps it just paled in comparison to the amazing time aboard the sailing yacht. Perhaps it was due to the fact we were at the end of a two week holiday. Or maybe it’s because we don’t like busy, overpriced, party-centered locations.

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As soon as we docked on the Friday night, we took the small ferry bus to Old Port to explore Mykonos town. We walked around the streets which were a lot like Santorini’s. Again it was cheap souvenir stands, high end jewelry shops and lots of restaurants and bars with incredibly overpriced drinks. After wandering around getting lost in the back streets, we lingered around the four iconic windmills, overlooking Venice Beach as the sun went down… right behind a large cruise ship blocking the view.  Luckily the area was much larger than the view point at Oia and we didn’t have to elbow any other tourists.

It is a great spot to sit and people watch.

It was very pretty of course and once the sun had set, we walked back into town to meet our crew for one last group meal. Jimmy booked us into a great restaurant called Fato a Mano which was reasonably priced and set back from the main street full of tourist traps.

Three of the girls went out and partied the night away. Mykonos is known, after all, as a party island but we didn’t partake. I needed a long shower, a good night’s sleep, and energy to pack up our backpack that exploded salty, damp clothes all over our cabin.

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The next morning, we said our goodbyes and walked off the mighty Ikaros for the last time with a SD card full of memories, a notebook filled with stories and some unforgettable experiences.

A few months ago while searching for a place to stay in Mykonos, I was shocked at how expensive hotels are.  Granted, I was searching for a one-night stay on the weekend in peak season, so that may have limited my options. Despite that, basic hotels anywhere near Old Town were in the range of hundreds of dollars. And that is not the kind of money we spend on accommodations. My hands were tied so I figured if we had to spend the amount of money on one night in Mykonos, what was worth two nights in Santorini and three nights anywhere else in Europe, it might as well have top ratings and a pool.

I found the perfect place about 5 km from town, Lithos by Spyros and Flora. It was a real treat to be in a modern, well-kept hotel. I took an extra-long shower because the water pressure was divine.  The bed was an actual full size queen bed (not two twin beds pushed together where half way through the night you fall into the crack). That is quite a luxury.

To make the most of the expensive hotel, we just planted ourselves on their day beds next to the pool and enjoyed our last 24 hours in Greece with splendid views.

The un-pleasantries

Note to self: When a restaurant is empty and doesn’t look to have a high turnover, don’t order the moussaka (a dish that is most definitely NOT made fresh). David had grilled fish and he was fine…

I’ll skip the sordid details of how I spent the whole day traveling back to Paris, taking two planes while suffering from food poisoning.

Let’s just say I became well-acquainted with the airplane bathrooms. Zapped of energy, I sat and even laid down anywhere I could: up against the post on the floor near the check-in counter, the bottom shelf of a t-shirt rack in the duty free shop, the surprisingly comfy flat couches in the boarding area. It was pretty miserable.

And throughout all of it, I couldn’t help but feel judged by fellow travellers, likely assuming I was suffered from a bad hang over. If only it were as pleasant as that.

But back to Mykonos, we couldn’t believe how disorganized, small and generally shitty the airport was. We waited about 1 hour just to get a tag for our checked luggage. Then, we had to muscle our way into the swarm of people “lining up” to put their checked bags on the conveyor belt, another 1 hour wait. Security was a joke – none of the usual protocols were in place. The airport had no services and nowhere to sit for the amount of people there. Many, including myself, sat in the dirty stairwell. It was shocking experience considering it is part of the European Union (unbelievably!). You would think with the amount of money flowing into Greece, the airport and for that matter, the rest of their infrastructure would be up to par as a world class tourist destination. In general, everything about the islands seemed run down. In comparing sailing experiences, the ports, the roads and the airports were better in Croatia.

That being said… the Greek islands lived up to their description as paradise. Albeit one you have to work hard to get to. Overall, it was a fantastic trip, an amazing experience and I’m happy we finally made it out to see and explore the jewels of the Aegean, devour gyros stuffed with fries and discover a new favourite drink: the freddo cappuccino.

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