Greece – Mykonos

Known as the party island in Greece, boasts a glamorous reputation of having great beaches, stylish bars, expensive shopping, and an active nightlife. But through all the fame, Mykonos has managed to retain its Greek identity and the cubist charms of a traditional Cycladic town. The most popular beaches, namely Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach, are crowded with tourists and locals (nudity is optional) and you really need to be a party person to enjoy the atmosphere. To get to these beaches, you need to arrive at Platys Gialos Beach where you can take a water taxi (3 – 5 Euros one way) to the most popular beach…Super Paradise Beach! Mykonos Town consists of busy narrow streets where you will find chic stores, galleries, and loud music bars. The streets can be confusing and you will soon realize that you ended up doing a complete circle. You may get lost, but just remember…you’re not alone.

7 Sep: Mykonos is legendary in the annals of backpack lore for showing all its guests a rocking good time. We were quite anxious to experience this hedonistic island firsthand, although we decided to mix a bit of culture into our visit as well. Our plan (depending on what time we pulled into port) was to hop on a ferry to Delos (one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites), stumble through the maze of Mykonos’ hora, join the throng of beach revelers at Paradise beach, and party all night in a dance club. Just keep in mind that this was our plan! Actual events varied considerably due to a bottle or two of anise flavored ouzo…but more on that story later.

We were thrilled to notice that Easy Cruise pulled into harbor an hour earlier than expected at 1030 am. It was 11 am before we could disembark, and we quickly found out that we were at the New Quay, which is 2.5 km north of the hora where all the action is. 5 Euros and a cab ride later, the four of us were strolling by the port in search of ferry tickets to Delos. Much to our dismay, we discovered that the last ferry for the day departed the old jetty at 11 am (only 3 daily offerings to Delos at 9 am, 10 am, and 11 am). Instead, we wandered around the hora and quickly saw how easy it would be to get lost in this very handsome Cycladic town.

Mykonos’s most famous celebrity was trying hard to play incognito this morning, and we almost strolled right past him without a second glance. His name is Petros, and he is a cheeky white/pink pelican who stood rigidly for several minutes and pretended to be a statue. As soon as his gig was up, he pushed open a neighboring door and strolled inside for a peek. After he was chased out by the cell-phone armed residents, Petros was immediately surrounded by camera-wielding paparazzi….um, tourists. We laughed at his cult-like status, and headed over towards the harbor to examine the colorful fishing boats and fishermen fixing their nets. And of course Petros followed suit, clamoring for a free fish handout. Within minutes, his throng of admirers rejoined him, leaving us to search for a supermarket for lunch supplies.

We found a decent grocery store at Fabrika Square, home of the southern bus station. It was packed with day trippers eager to join the ongoing parties at the southern beaches. Our focus was on lunch, so armed with an ample supply of fresh bread, cheese, meats, veggies, tsatsiki sauce, red wine and ouzo, we made our way to a nearby beach for an impromptu picnic. Downing the first bottle of ouzo was easy…whatever compelled Robby and Bob to buy another liter of ouzo is beyond comprehension, as the locally produced liqueur has a potent kick to it.

Two bottles of ouzo later, we found ourselves on some steps overlooking Plateia Manto (taxi square). Bob was telling Vietnam War stories, Ann was chugging down ouzo like it was water, and Robby and Becky were laughing at everything and everyone. Perhaps these tell tale signs were only too obvious to the locals, because a young man named Panos unlocked his nearby, first floor bathroom, and invited us to use his facilities instead of making a mess on the stairs. Sure enough, the ouzo took over a short while later, and Robby and Ann were both praying to the porcelain goddess in no time at all. Panos’s grandmother appeared on the balcony above, concern written all over her face as she witnessed four drunken Americans creating a scene beside her lovely home. She promised to whip up a “Mykonos Miracle”, which she vowed would cure our hangovers. A couple of minutes later, four cups of hot black coffee were served, and grandma insisted that we down the coffee in its entirety. What hospitality! Only in Greece would the locals be so completely gracious and understanding of a bunch of rowdy foreigners creating a scene right beside their home. We apologized profusely for disrupting their quiet afternoon, but Panos and his grandmother took it all in stride and told us not to worry.

The gentle Aegean Sea seemed like a great place to recuperate from our excessive drinking activities, and Becky went in search of some food for everyone. Armed with four kebabs a short while later, we all managed to wolf down some food to combat the alcohol. Dusk was fast approaching in Mykonos, and the sky turned a lovely hue of pink, orange, and red. Becky went off to join the crowd gathering at Little Venice to watch the sunset…what a spectacular view. By the time she rejoined Bob, Ann, and Robby, they were ready to resume their partying. Everyone except for Ann…who felt waves of revulsion at the mere mention of alcohol. What a difference from earlier in the afternoon when she was chugging down ouzo like there was no tomorrow!

While we were walking up Matogianni street, we ran into our friend Panos, who remembered exactly who we were and asked how we were feeling. What a charming guy…he had been eavesdropping on our earlier conversation, and now wanted Bob to finish his Vietnam tale. He regaled us with his own funny stories, and had us rolling with laughter in no time. What an incredible ambassador for the island of Mykonos. If we had to summarize our impression of the island based solely on Panos, we would have to say it is a beautiful island with a ton of charm, whose inhabitants are very warm, friendly, compassionate and mischievous.

For dinner, we decided to split up into two separate groups, as Bob and Ann were thinking about calling it a day, and Becky and Robby’s night was just getting started. Dinner consisted of grilled octopus (yummy), a Greek salad, and lamb chops. It was simple and delicious, and wallet friendly. Afterwards, we joined the merry revelers in the numerous surrounding bars and clubs whose patrons sometimes cascaded out into the lively streets to continue the party there. What a fun night of dancing up a storm. How those girls managed to get atop the narrow tables for a bit of table top dancing is beyond us, but we watched as a whole lotta tourists enjoyed all that Mykonos has to offer.

Walking back to our Easy Cruise vessel was an easy task in the dark…we covered the distance in no time at all. Overall, we have to give Mykonos a resounding vote of endorsement, and we would love to return back to this island for some more fun filled party days.

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