Mykonos – Chilling in a Greek (and gay) paradise

Mykonos trip started off as a “filler trip” between Athens and being back to Fontainebleau. However, it turned out to be quite a pleasant chilling time that I deserved after all these travel frenzies over the summer. Faced with many choices of beautiful islands around Greece, my main criteria for choosing Mykonos over others are the availability of ferry direct from Athens and how beautiful it looks in the photos. To be honest, Santorini also came up, but I am not yet ready for honeymoon…

 

Exciting first ferry ride (and most expensive taxi ride)


My trip to Mykonos was actually my first ever large-ferry ride ever in my life. It was very exciting to be honest. Through my trips to all these islands over this summer, I have seen a lot of huge boats, but I have never been on one before. Fortunately, the booking was very easy, Ferryhopper an online ferry agency is a very intuitive website to work with.


The port for Mykonos ferry is actually quite far from the city center – around 30 minutes away from the city. Also, due to the Covid situation, everyone is “required” to hand in a declaration form before boarding. However, I didn’t realize that I needed to complete this, and I didn’t have time to print and fill in before the boarding time. Fortunately, they are not that strict about requirement – I managed to board the ferry – no question asked!


The ferry ride is actually much smoother than I thought. Typical boat trip, with a smaller boat, the ride can be very shaky from the wave. The ferry, being large and heavy with hundreds of people and cars, the ride is very smooth – in fact, much smoother ride than even a flight with airplanes.


One very stupid thing though. I booked a business class ticket, but, being a lost tourist, I ended up sitting in an economy class. It was comfy nonetheless, but I later found out that a business class seat and area are much more pleasant and convenient.

While I enjoyed my time and the cheapness of Athens, I was shocked by how expensive the taxi ride from the port to my Airbnb. It’s 20 EUR for a very short 5 – 10 mins ride! My 30 mins ride from the airport to the city center of Athens was only 35 EUR. This was quite outrageous.

 

Walking around the white paradise

Mykonos is a walkable island. With enough patience, especially under the blazing sun of the summer, you can walk anywhere in an hour or so – at least from my place. My Airbnb is actually quite far away from the city center – 30 mins walk downhill. As my morning exercise, I always walk from my place to the city center to have breakfast or brunch.


I fell in love with the island and the city right away on my first morning in Mykonos. The city is all white with small walking alleys all over. You can easily get lost and walking around, but, at the same time, enjoy discovering new things each time. Coming out from the white maze, a long stretch of beach awaits with ships lining up waiting to go out. On the opposite side to the line of ships, a street full of restaurants facing the sea are all offering breakfast and brunch!

My first breakfast was what the restaurant called “Mykonos breakfast set”, but I doubt there is anything as such because what I got was practically just a croque madame, salad, pain au chocolat, and a cup of coffee – very French actually. Nevertheless, it was served in a very generous portion and it was delice!


My first destination of my random walk in Mykonos was Panagia Paraportiani Church, which is a white big church – an iconic photogenic location for all tourists. It is not a gigantic building with delicate details like the majority of the churches and cathedrals around Europe, but, according to my brief research, it was gradually built over three centuries! On top of the unique shape and color, I am also very curious how the Mykonian managed to keep the church shining white after all these years of tourist visits. One interesting thing was that I also got a chance to witness a fashion model shooting there as well. I don’t know who was it, but she is super pretty with an assistant to help to adjust her beautiful light blue dress.

After walking past the Panagia Paraportiani Church, I found a long and winding shopping street with, again, all white shop buildings with brown-grey stone floors. Once in a while, I would find an interesting color that popped out of the white theme of the island that can be very photogenic. I spent nearly 2-3 hours each day on the island and I still found that there are so many hidden corners that I haven’t seen before.

The next landmark I visited was the historical windmills on the top of the hill overseeing the city center. It is perhaps the most iconic photographing spot of Mykonos. The windmill is no longer active – at least when I was there it was not spinning at all. The surprising part was that there was actually someone living there under the windmill. There was a sign “private property – do not climb over the fence” and there were also shards of glasses to prevent people from climbing over. Interesting place iconic spot in my opinion.

 

Paradise of gay couples since 19xx


Over my time in Mykonos, one of the things that I really was fascinated is the large number of gay couples holding hands and traveling together all over the island. I have seen at least 3-4 gay couples at the windmill even when I was there very briefly. Being an oblivious and ignorant traveler, I didn’t really put effort to research this until one dinner with my good friend.

The topic of my solo travel over the summer came up during dinner. I told him that I was very fascinated by the sheer number of gay tourist couples on the island. He then explained to me that, back in the days, it was very difficult to live and openly walk together as a gay couple. The island seemed to be the only place where no one cared about people being homosexual (despite the number of churches all over the island). Since then, Mykonos has been and still is a paradise for gay couples. Sadly I didn’t really explore my options when I was there :P

 

Delos, the birthplace of the celestial twins

My most favorite experience, tourism wise, in this summer has got to be Delos. To be honest, I have never thought of Delos until it was suggested by the Acropolis guide in Athens. Delos is the mythological birthplace of the celestial twins – Apollo and Artemis.

Delos is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. At the time, during the Covid crisis, the island is only accessible via an organized trip with only one ferry per day from Mykonos. I booked a guided tour with an auntie who was an archeologist (again! 😊). It was a very interesting tour in so many dimensions – mythology, history, and geology.

Delos buildings and roads are paved with stones unique to Delos that is very shimmering under sunlight. This is also part of the reason why the ancient Greeks believed that the island is sacred to the god of the sun/light – Apollo, on top of being the birthplace itself.

In terms of history and culture, Delos is unique in that the place is a commercial hub welcoming merchants and residents from many countries/empires – be it Greek, Egyptian, and many others. There are still temples dedicated to gods of other religions – Isis, the Egyptian goddess is among one of them. Delos was unfortunately destroyed during a big Spartan invasion and the entire city/island was burnt down.


One of the main attractions of Delos the temples of Apollo. Unlike Acropolis where there is one major Parthenon, Delos has three big temples dedicated to Apollo from three different empires with different styles of artwork. The oldest one dated back to even more than 2,500 years.

One last thing that really impressed me were the artworks around the island. The stone sculpture of lions that is dated back to 600 BCE. The mosaic floor works showing the scene of Dionysus and a tiger and a trident are also fascinatingly detailed and beautiful – especially impressive given the period of time it was crafted.

 

Chilling, eating, and drinking to the gorgeous sunset

Mykonos is perhaps the laziest trip I have had. Although I walked around a lot, I also ate, drank, and sat a lot too. Mykonos has got to be one of the best islands to watch the sunset as the restaurants and bars are facing the west and I could see the sun setting right in the middle of the sky. I had a chance to enjoy the sunset at various spots – one from the top of the hill near Panagia Paraportiani, one at a restaurant, and one right on the top of my Airbnb.

The best one was the experience of just being alone, at the top of my Airbnb, a can or two of beers, and my camera. The wind blew and hit my face. The sun slowly fell behind Tenos. The color of the sky changed. That was a magical moment…


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