Despite being a travel day, my first day in Mykonos was a full one. I had an early ferry from Athens, so I was checked in at the hotel by 11 am. After settling in, unpacking and getting the rundown of the island from Ilyiana (one of the lovely ladies who runs the hotel), I ventured out. My trip ended up being a day shorter than I’d planned, so I had to make the most of my time! The hotel was perfectly located, about a 10 minute stroll (including stops for photo ops) away from the entrance of Mykonos town. I figured I had the whole day to stroll and discover the town, so I ambled around, weaving through the streets and in and out of shops until I got hungry and went to Saki’s (I think that’s what it was called) for some pita souvlaki. Iliana had recommended it and thank goodness! It was cheap and delicious – the best pita souvlaki I’ve had (and I’ve completed my island hopping at the point!)
My wandering took my up and above Mykonos town, to a more residential area, until I realized I was walking on the main ‘highway’ of the island. I had sort of circumvented the town, ending up south of town, just south of the famed windmills and Little Venice. I didn’t realize how many or how large the windmills were until I walked up to them. Right now they’re out of use, but the people preserve them as historical landmarks. There are five in that one spot, which were in use to mill wheat from the 16th century -ish but declined in use in the 20th century. Pretty cool.
Little Venice was also really cute. It’s basically a strip of buildings that go flush to the ocean and look just like the buildings in Venice. There is also a little cluster of Italian restaurants there; I’m not sure if this is coincidence or not.
I looped back around Mykonos town, looking for cute handmade, authentic, Greek leather sandals. I looked for about two hours – and ended up waiting for a closed shop’s owner for an hour – before I found the perfect pairs. Yes, pairs. I bought two! I couldn’t not! Pleased with my finding, I headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.
Iliana had also recommended a restaurant with a gorgeous view only two minutes walking distance called Compass, so I went there. It was delicious and had an amazing view, which I missed because I got there at dark. The most amazing zucchini balls, smoked halloumi, and wine later later, I had just enough energy to get back and monitor (via ESPN Gamecast) the Tennessee v. Florida game. We won! and I knocked out.
I woke up a bit later than planned on Sunday, but sleeping in was well worth it. I enjoyed a yummy breakfast overlooking the ocean and went to rent my quad. I started by Mykonos town and headed toward the lighthouse at Fanari. Let’s just say for some reason I couldn’t find the road to get to Fanari and ended up heading towards Panormos. It was on my list anyway, so I figured why not? Let me tell you something about Mykonos that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate until after the fact: Mykonos is blessedly flat. Well, flat enough to where the quad made it everywhere I wanted to go and I never freaked out about how high up I was (you’ll understand later.)
So I made it Panoramas beach, which was incredibly windy, and took some photos before heading on to Elia. Elia is a bit larger, with several hotels / resorts and a nice beachfront restaurant. There may have been more than one, but I only noted this one was open. By the time I got there, I’d been driving for about two hours, so I stopped for a Greek salad for lunch. Words cannot describe how great that salad was; I’ve never had fresher cucumbers or tomatoes in my life. And the capers! Unbelievable. No exaggeration, this was the best Greek salad of my trip. Based on the clientele and people I saw lounging on beach chairs, Elia seems to be a fancier beach. The restaurant was more upscale, the guests were mostly toting name brand accessories and the cars in the lot were all fancy, not many quads or bikes to be seen. It didn’t bother me or anything, but the stark contrast between other people and me was really noticeable. It was odd. After lunch, I headed towards Ano Mera and drove to the main square there. It’s a tiny town so there isn’t much to say.
Ilyiana had also recommended I see Kapari beach if I had a chance, so I drove there next. Kamari beach is the smallest, most secluded beach on the island. Only 60 meters long, the beach is at the foot of where two mountains meet near Ornos. You can only drive part of the way there in car; the dirt road is really more of a driveway for the few homes there. Quads and bikes can make it the farthest, but even then you have to park and walk a tiny bit before you’re able to see the beach. Then you kind of scale the rocks down and you’ve made it! I loved Kapari beach for it’s privacy, for it being shielded from the wind, and for the beautiful sunset I was able to see from there. It was too cool and the water too cold for me to swim, but I’m definitely making a point to hang out at that beach next time I’m in Mykonos.
Begrudgingly, I left Kapari to go to Paradise Beach. Those who know me know I’m not a party animal. I don’t enjoy going clubbing. Especially not alone. I went anyways, because I’m curious and had to see what all the fuss was about. My point of view? Tropicana Beach and Paradise Beach felt like Panama City Beach or South Beach during spring break, but with better music and ritzier people. It probably would have been fun with a group of friends to go day-drinking and lounge by the beach. Maybe next time.
By the time I left, it was dark out so I stopped for souvlaki on the way to the hotel and had a quiet dinner on the balcony, listening to the ocean.
Remember how I’d planned to go to Fanari but hadn’t found the road on Sunday? Well I found the road Sunday night and decided I’d go Monday morning. Thank goodness I made the time! I went around 10:30 am, before the cruise ship tourists arrived, so it was still pretty quiet. The lighthouse was beautiful. Just another gorgeous Greek building no longer in use maintained by locals! And the views?! Amazing. The morning was incredibly windy though, and the point was kind of the edge of the mountain, so I didn’t exactly linger there.
I actually had to have some nice Italian guy kickstart my quad for me (oops – I let it get too low on gas) and I was off! Returned the quad, packed my things and headed to the ferry to Ios!