Springtime in Mykonos

Trip Start Feb 04, 2011
Trip End Nov 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Villa Apartments Mykonos

Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The short trip from my hotel in Athens to the port of Piraeus was easy, even with all my luggage. Athens has an excellent metro - far better than cities like Paris or London. The stations are clean and they all have escalators. My suitcases were very happy. Because it's not peak season, it was no problem to arrive at the port and purchase a ticket straight away whereas this might not be so easy during the summer months. The ferry left on time and I was surprised to find escalators inside the ferry as well.

There are three types of tickets which aren't usually explained when buying a ticket. The most expensive is business class, followed by something called "air seat" which means reserved seat and the cheapest fare (the one I bought) means you don't have a seat but there are chairs (not fixed seats as such) with tables all over the ferry, but usually crowded. As it was only a few hours it was no problem. A seat is a seat and I found one in the corridor. There was no view but at least it was a seat. If you have something to keep you occupied, it's fine.

The ferry arrived at Mykonos a few hours later and the view from the ferry (I eventually found a real seat near a window so I guess the ticketing system doesn't really work) was amazing. I'd booked a room in a place called Vista Apartments for three nights at only forty euros a night and according to the map it was right in front of the port. By this stage, the larger suitcase only had one functional wheel and the other wheel had totally buckled so I was literally dragging it around the port. As the hotel had no address I had to ask a few people for directions but no one knew where it was. Frustrating. After half an hour of walking around, dragging heavy luggage, I was beginning to lose my patience. At one stage I even started swearing out aloud when a car stopped and a guy pulled his head out and yelled, "Vista Apartments?"

Apparently word had got around that there was a lost guy with way too much luggage walking aimlessly around the port. Word spreads fast in a small town. The apartments were just up the hill but I wouldn't have been able to notice them from ground level. He saved me! The room had its own balcony with a view of the sea as well as a separate living room and a weird looking bathroom that looked like it had been built with papier mâché. It was fairly basic but at forty euros a night I could hardly complain. Besides, it was right near the port so my suitcases were satisfied. I had some serious thinking to do about these suitcases and how they're affecting my trip. After leaving my suitcases in the room I went in search of somewhere to have lunch.

The town of Mykonos is like a fairytale. The streets are spotless and everything is white (and occasionally blue), just like the Greek flag. Walking down the narrow streets is like walking on soapstone. So smooth and curvy - nothing has sharp edges. It's as if the town was built by smurfs! Imagine if marshmallow had hardened in the sun and then someone came and gave the island a massive paint job. All throughout the town there are painted windows, balconies, doors and lots of cats (not painted - I don't think). The people are friendly, laid back and not at all pushy. I found a restaurant on the waterfront and had the most amazing dolmades (vine leaves), calamari and some Mythos beer to wash it down. Perfect!

During my stay I would notice the same tourists who arrived the same time as me. As it wasn't peak season, the island was rather quiet and although it wasn't yet summer it was still sunny. There were quite a few Spanish tourists walking around and as a result, everywhere I went, the locals would speak to me in Spanish. That suited me fine as my Greek is not good enough to hold a conversation. However, occasionally the shopkeepers would speak to me in Greek and it's always a compliment to be mistaken for a local. A few words in the local language can go a long way and having dark hair means I get asked for directions all over Europe, from Ireland to Greece. Maybe in Scandinavia I might not pass as a local though.

I was supposed to spend some time in Mykonos to do some writing for my language study but it was so sunny and cloudless that I spent the other two days walking from beach to beach. I needed some exercise so this was ideal - and perfect weather for it. I wouldn't go as far as saying that the beaches are within walking distance of the main town but I love walking and for me, a few kilometres is just around the corner. I walked to many of the nearby beaches with names like Paradise, Super Paradise and Elia. Well, nearby if you're asking me but most people don't think of two hours on foot as nearby. The walk was definitely worth it and just when you think "how much further?" there's always someone who will stop their car and offer you a lift.

I was told that one of these beaches was "clothing optional" but I wasn't sure which one. After a few hours of walking (OK - the owner of a restaurant drove me some of the way to where her restaurant was located) I came across a small deserted beach in between two rocky cliffs and the sun was shining. Not warm enough for a swim, but I thought, "hey - there's no one around and I have the whole beach to myself." So the clothes came off and I lay there in the sun, stark naked, on my own private beach. The temperature was perfect - not too hot, which was just as well as I didn't have any suntan lotion with me, given that I wasn't expecting to be sunbathing on the beach. I dozed off in the sun to the sound of crashing waves.

I must have been asleep for an hour when I woke to the sound of people chatting and laughing in the background. As is often the case when you've been in a deep sleep, it took a few seconds for me to realise where I was - lying naked on a beach with my backside to the sun. My head was turned away from the noise of people when I woke up and I discretely and slowly moved my head around, sunglasses on, to see what sort of situation I was about to be thrown into. From what I could make out through the blurry sunglasses covered in sand was a group of about eight people, male and female, no children (thankfully!) and wait a minute - they're all naked! Actually - that's a relief. Imagine if they weren't! I don't think I'd been naked on a beach for years. Now, what to do?

Before long it started to get a bit windy and cold so I got dressed and started walking back. I was guessing it'd take at least two hours to walk back which I wasn't looking forward to. There was no public transport out here so I was a bit stranded. Unless.... Before I could even contemplate asking the naked group for a lift back to the town, I could see them in the distance walking to their cars. Clothed, of course! Within minutes they were driving towards me and one of the cars stopped. "Do you need a lift to the town?" This was too easy. I love Mykonos! They must have known I was that naked sleeping person on the beach near them although nothing was mentioned. Kind of a naturist's code, perhaps. Getting a lift in Mykonos is easy and all I had to do was to show a bit of bare flesh on the beach. I can do that!

Now for the big change to my luggage. On the way through the town that morning I found the perfect suitcase. An enormous beast of a suitcase, big enough to fit all my luggage into this one big red monster. My suitcases have become like children to me and I've been carrying them around with me for almost nine weeks now. Recently they had grown to become demanding teenagers, stopping me from time to time and limiting me from travelling too far from them. It was now time to let them go - especially the one with the bad wheel. Yes - I'm a bad parent and I'm going to abandon my children. "Good riddance", I say. So I took the big red suitcase back to the apartment in order to repack my belongings and throw away the old suitcases.

The suitcase wasn't the only red thing I brought back with me that day. When I looked in the mirror my whole face was red, even though it was only about twenty degrees that day. So if my face was red, what must my backside look like? Time to have a look. Bright red! Redder than the suitcase! I guess I won't be sitting down for a whole day. A word of advice to anyone who goes to a nudist beach. Always put suntan lotion on your bottom! Always!

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Richard on

Sounds like it wasn't such a bum deal for you ending up on Mykonos after all! ;)

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