Sunday, 17 June 2012
Today we began to wind down our trip. We had only one day left, that we were going to spend in Mykonos. High winds caused us to miss stopping there last year, and we wanted to make up for that. It is one of the most famous islands, next to Santorini, and we wanted to at least say we’d been there.
Our transport back to the port was right on time, at 10:15 am, for us to catch the high speed ferry to Mykonos at 11:30. There were two other people in the van, that we assumed were also going to the ferry — wrong, they were going to the airport and he dropped them off first. Then he had one more pickup–at least these people were going to the ferry. Felt like we were in a SuperShuttle going to the airport in the Bay Area!
We went down the long windy road that led to/from the “new” port where ferries land (as opposed to the “old” port where cruise ships anchor). It was rather a scary ride with a myriad of hairpin turnbacks. There was a bus ahead of us, and it seemed amazing that it was able to successfully negotiate all those narrow turns!
We finally arrived early enough to sit down and have our favorite freddo cappucinos. As we sipped, we heard a rumor that the Mykonos ferry was cancelled due to the high winds (very unusual this time of year according to the locals). Thank goodness that turned out not to be the case, though having to spend another day in Santorini would not exactly have been a hardship. A very helpful young man who worked in the cafe checked ferry schedules for us, and encouraged us to stay at our table until it was time to board, as opposed to standing out in the hot sun.
We saw a ferry coming in and thought it was ours, so we got up and went to the apparent waiting area. A taxi driver, obviously sensing our confusion, checked out tickets and told us we were in the wrong place–that we had to walk over to another gate. Greek people are generally so friendly and helpful, it’s very endearing.
The high speed SeaJet ferry came a few minutes late, but we were grateful that it was there at all as they had cancelled the day before due to the wind. It would take three hours to get to Mykonos, with two stops: the islands of Ios and Naxos. We had been to Ios last year for an overnight stop on the way to Santorini, but not to Naxos.
The ride was predicted to be bumpy due to strong winds, and indeed it was. The wind gusts and high swells indeed made for an unpleasant, and a number of people were seasick. Fortunately, we did OK. We were told that these winds, called Meltimis, usually occur in August and September, not in June. Another symptom of global warming?
When we arrived in Mykonos, the wind was blowing and whipping around so hard it was difficult to walk down the dock to the street! After stopping at a cafe for some cold drinks (it was hot in spite of the wind), we took a cab to Anastasios-Sevasti Hotel, our accommodation for that night. It’s a very pleasant, somewhat upscale hotel on (yet) a(nother) hill with a great view of the harbor. It has a nice pool, and includes a full breakfast in the morning.
After settling in, we went for a walk to check out Mykonos Town. The person at the desk assured us that it was an easy walk, with “about thirty steps” and that we could easily walk back rather than spend five euros on a taxi. Wrong! I guess if you’re born and/or brought up there, or live there long enough, climbing hills is a fact of life. Not for me! I didn’t count, but I think there were way more than thirty steps–some steep, others narrow, all winding downhill, with lots of twists and turns.
As we walked, we found ourselves in a maze of high end retail and food establishments. The more we walked, the more interesting but confusing it was. Our goal was to find a place to watch the sunset, so we walked west toward the sun.
Although there was only a gentle breeze while walking through the maze, the wind was still howling on the waterfront. Fortunately, most of the tavernas had clear vinyl roll-down shades – obviously strong winds were a common occurrence for which they are prepared.
We found a good spot and sat down to have a drink and snacks while awaiting sunset. It was worth waiting for. Unfortunately, our vantage point was less than ideal. Boats docked at the harbor were between us and it, and were reflected in most of our photographs.
Afterwards, we walked back through the “maze.” This time it even more confusing because we did not have a reference point (the sun) to guide us. After a number of twists and turnarounds, we got back to the retail area where we did some browsing around generally expensive shoppes. Mykonos has the reputation of being a metropolitan island, a favorite locale for the rich and famous. Certainly the prices reflected this. (I did buy a very reasonably priced scarf.)
After scoping out restaurants, all of which offered al fresco dining, we chose one that had open-air tables along the walkway next to it. It was dark out, with soft lights radiating from the adjacent establishments, and there were lit candles on the tables. An amazing sight, perhaps one of the most romantic settings of the entire trip.
We had (yet another) amazing seafood dinner, great wine, and a really decadent dessert – it was to be our last vacation meal and we pulled out all the stops. We lingered at our table until we could barely keep our eyes open, then found our way back to the harbor to find a cab back to the hotel. We ate after nine, and stayed out until after midnight—a very Grecian way to end our Greek Odyssey 2012.