If you have never been to Mykonos, go. I wasn’t really charmed with the island but then I believe it was an adventure that everyone should at least try….once. The main town (only town) is Chora or Mykonos Town,
Map courtesy of Planetaware.com
Where, as you can see the walkways are narrow and seem to run in every direction without any sort of pattern. My days spent on Lake of the Woods came in handy. How so? I learned on that big lake to “always look behind you”. Sage advise. Why? because things look completely different going out than they did going in. True wisdom.
We were spoiled on Santorini the real name being Thira. Our accommodations were 5 star and the people were as friendly as one could imagine. So, it came as a surprise when reaching Mykonos that the people were brusque and the accommodations were not what we had become accustomed to. I had read a few unflattering reviews on Mykonos and the Pelican Bay Art Hotel in particular and my radar was pinging. but I tried to come in with an open mind and few expectations. That helped a great deal. Unfortunately for Kat and I, it did not put much needed Euro in our pocket. Yes, we had cards, but no bank machine and no pocket change to hop the bus to town. The travel agent had failed to mention and we never bothered to research how far out of town the hotel was. This, my friends is good information to have because the hotel clerk had the most warped sense of distance and time I had ever encountered. I mean, I used to smoke a lot of dope and time space distortion was a common occurrence for me but this was beyond my realm of understanding. She explained it was a 45 minute walk to town. Well, what were we going to do? We hitched up the packs and began the walk. if the first five minutes was any indication of what lay ahead, I, in my portly state, was doomed. Coronary walking, as it were. It was then that whatever mythical god overlooking the weary traveller in Greece, smiled upon us. I saw a car rental place and we quickly decided it would be prudent to rent a car. Prudent and I might add, adventurous. I will get to the adventure after I finish the tail of warped time and space. We rented a car for €56 (which was about $70 CDN). SOLD! Unlimited mileage, third party liability and bring it back….empty? Empty. Little did we know, as we hopped in the car and sped off, just how easy it would be to bring it back empty. Not because it was a pig or gas was expensive but because it was easy to get turned around and turned around we did, over and over and over again. Not in that frustrating way but in the adventure type way, and yes, every once in a while the voice to my right, my muse, organizer, copilot and navigator would say, “this is the road I said we should go down in the first place.” YES! I admit that I failed to listen to the navigator more than once, but we laughed and carried on.
Back to the time space distortion. It was 45 minutes if I were the Mykonos pelican and flew a direct line. That was even sketchy. But over the steep hills and blind curves it would have easily been a death march to rival Bataan. Hell, it took us, not counting getting lost, 15 minutes to drive. I am beyond grateful for the car. I have his name and card should anyone wish to rent a car on Mykonos. One other thing while you are booking the “beach front” hotel. Ask them to define beach front and what is the actual distance in metres or yards. Our beach front hotel was as the clerk put it, 100 metres down the road again, I am unsure what sort of algebraic equation brought her to that number but it was way off. I could have gotten angry or disappointed. I did not. I learned to approach it with a sense of -laissez faire –, as it were.
Time space distortion aside. I learned to drive like a local. I learned to be patient yet drive with a sense of abandonment, ignoring the double line, the octagonal red signs that encouraged one to stop and of course the little round signs suggesting a safe a rate of speed. These items found on Myconian roads seem to be little more than decorations. The most useful of roadside aides were the convex mirrors showing one what was about to come around the corner. Very helpful indeed when on a windy road barely wide enough for two small cars and a tour bus is set to round the corner.
We did much in Mykonos, aside from getting lost in the town and on the island. We went through the maze of Mykonos town, we visited a few beaches by accident and finally made it to Ilea where we para-sailed over the Aegean sea. Alas, no pictures of that adventure. We swam, floated, ate, shopped, drank espresso and cappuccino in Little Venice visited the windmills, an old fort, some monasteries, a pirates home and we got our tattoos done in the last hours of the last day on the island. We had planned these (we try to get one done wherever we travel) from the very first day of Kat’s planning. She picked the shop and the time. Unfortunately the shop had closed a few years back. So we stopped at one place and the vibe was bad. I like to think that I am somewhat of an expert in the alter state of mind brought on by the ingestion of alcohol and drugs and it didn’t take my keen eye to understand that we wanted nothing to do with these cats. We wandered acrosss the street and immediately the vibe was cool. We set a time for the next day and found our instincts paid off. Akis, the artist and Dimitri his assistant were two of the coolest guys we had met on the island. Broken English aside, we learned to communicate. We learned about each other, we learned about the way of life on the island, what it is like to be different in Greece. The way the police treat someone different. We learned the pitfalls of two tiered health care, the passion for which the Greeks have for living, and the cost of rentals. Akis learned about moose and bears in the yard, he learned that British Columbia is NOT Texas, he learned that Canadians are polite and willing to embrace his culture, not have them bend to us.
I learned patience, even with the rooster across the road, whom seemed to have obvious time space distortion issues of his own.