My Time in Mykonos Greece
It’s 6 a.m. in Athens and the Piraeus Harbor is buzzing with tourists. Some bewildered, dragging luggage, searching for jetties and boats with romantic sounding names, but there is sense of adventure and excitement.
Our “ferry” (mid-sized cruise ship), Nissos Mykonos arrives at 7:10 am, and a huge gangplank is slowly dropped down from the aft of the ferry. There is a scramble to board and I soon realize why. These ferries only dock for less than 7-10 minutes!
Two hours and ten minutes later, I am in Mykonos, one of the more popular Cyclades islands. And in the midst of the teeming crowds I see the affable Anna waving her arms to attract our attention.
Anna is the proprietary owner of the Diogenis Hotel, a cute studio apartment complex that reminds me so much of the vibe in the movie Mama Mia!
Known as the ‘Ibiza of Greece’, Mykonos is a canvas of traditional, minimalist whitewashed Cycladic architecture, blue domed churches, with splashes of bright pink bougainvillea, narrow painted streets, happy tourists on mopeds and ATVs, wonderful restaurants and some amazing sunsets.
It’s like being in a “happy place”.
Down in the center of town, known as Chora is where it all happens. It starts with the traditional windmills that stand in a row like five fat aunties! A symbol of Mykonos’ rich past, the island’s windmills represented one of the earliest manufacturing units in Greece, showing the locals’ great use of innovation in their effort to harness the enormous power of the wind.
The setting sun adds enchantment to these windmills.
Further down is Little Venice, where crowds have gathered to witness yet another end of a day.
As the light fades, the town paints another picture of colour and contrasts.
What’s unique about Mykonos is the 600-800 churches, monasteries and small chapels scattered across this island, which means there is one church or chapel per local family! Chapels and churches on the island were built to place the bones of dead family members in a shrine, a custom still practiced across the island. Chora alone has over 60 churches, and here are some I came across.
The Panagia (Virgin Mary) Paraportiani church is silhouetted against the setting sun and is one of the most photographed churches in the world. The name paraportiani means “standing next to the entrance door”, probably because it is located at the entrance of the Mykonos Town neighborhood. It is also unique because it is made up of five smaller churches that were all built one on top of each other throughout the centuries.
The Agios Nikolaos is known by locals as “Agios Nikolakis”, denoting its small size. It is located in the old port of Mykonos Town along the sea and was built in the 4th century to honor Saint Nikolaos, the patron saint of fisherman.
The orthodox church of Agia Moni is also one of the oldest churches and in located in the center of town.
On the other side, located between Paranga Beach and Super Paradise Beach is the more famous Paradise Beach. Once popular as nudist beach, it is now a great place for water sports and diving.
The food here is amazing and I still haven’t had enough of the salads, moussaka, gyros, etc. I’m off to Paros in the morning!