- Travel and Places
Greece Odyssey: Mykonos Island
A Popular Beach Resort Island in the Cyclades
The next leg of Ancient Greece Odyssey was not ancient at all: we drove back to Athens and flew to Mykonos, an island in the Cyclades famed for its beaches, resort hotels and nightlife. Mykonos is also a popular honeymoon destination for mainland Greeks.
What? Are these mythology lovers and classics geeks going to forget about antiquity long enough to be modern tourists? Well, maybe. However, we were mostly interested in the next island over: Delos, birthplace of the ancient Greek gods Apollo and Artemis. I'll cover Delos next. But first, here are my photos and memories of Mykonos Island.
Memories of Mykonos Island
Travel Diary Excerpts, 8th May 2005, Kouros Hotel
Inland Mykonos is a dry, rugged island whose houses remind me of old pueblos: rundown and a little shabby, but inviting in their curving walls of white plaster or unpainted, aged stone. Sheepfolds and solemn dogs watch over an old world which the tourists don't often notice.
The bustling shore is bracing for development: bulldozers and piles of rubble will probably be more hotels in a few years. For now, the island reaches out gray, empty arms to the sea.
One fine three-masted yacht dominates the view. The guidebooks say pirates once prowled these waters.
The Kouros hotel is Rivenesque, a warren of many levels hugging a cliff, with curving stone staircases and terraces and many alcoves filled with modern kouroi statues. We have our own balcony blessed by cats. The room is light and airy with pale blue walls and fine marble floors and glass doors facing the sea. A pink Aegean sunset promises a beautiful stay.
Mykonos Harbor from Kouros Hotel. This was in 2005; the bulldozed area down below has since been filled with beaches and shiny new hotels. The town of Mykonos, once a fishing port, now a mix of shops, cafes, mini museums and nightclubs, is off to the left in the distance. The row of beehive-like structures behind the town are windmills, no longer in service except as fun backdrops for photos and paintings.
Wandering the Streets of Mykonos Island
A Labyrinth of White Walls and Brightly Painted Doors
I confess that the attractions of Mykonos were somewhat lost on me: bars and nightclubs are not my style, the beaches of Mykonos Town itself were dirty when I visited (I am spoiled by living near a good beach back home), and I get burned out shopping in little clothing boutiques and art shops. Most people would love it!
I probably should have hired a taxi; looking at Google Maps (see below), the island is larger than I realized, and I see more harbors and better beaches on the south side of the island.
The main street of Mykonos Town runs along the inner harbor.
What I did enjoy was simply wandering the tiny, winding streets of the town. Many were so narrow that one could sometimes touch the houses on both sides with outstretched hands-- yes, those really are the streets! It was fun getting completely turned around and then popping out onto an oceanfront cafe. (Don't forget to sample the iced chocolate drinks.) Then I would walk back along the seaside to make sure I could find my way back to the hotel.
The locals say the maze of streets helped to bewilder and keep out pirates. I suspect also it helps keep out the wind whipping across the Aegean Sea.
My Mykonos Isle Photo Gallery - Click Thumbnails Below to Browse PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Why Theseus Really Abandoned Ariadne
In Greek myth, the Athenian hero Theseus visits the island of Crete to free his people from an annual tribute of youths and maidens, sacrificed to the fearsome half-man, half-bull, the Minotaur. While being wined and dined in the palace of King Minos, Theseus seduces the king's daughter Ariadne. Fearing for his life, Ariadne gives him a sword and an spool of thread so that he can navigate the labyrinth where the Minotaur is caged. After slaying the monster, Theseus takes Ariadne with him, promising to marry her in Athens. However, he abandons her on the island of Naxos halfway home.
I have always held a grudge against Theseus on Ariadne's behalf. However, after getting completely lost in Mykonos for the third straight day, I realized that I needed to cut Theseus some slack. From my diary:
If Naxos is like Mykonos, Theseus could have gone to an ATM and never found his way back to her.
Google Maps: Mykonos Island - Zoom In to View Town
Wow. Mykonos has built a ton of new posh hotels and renovated the beaches (with imported white sand, apparently) since I visited.
Mykonos Island Tourist Information - Useful Links and Websites
Kouros Hotel, Mykonos Island. Yep, that's a bar behind the pool. Arched windows overlook the harbor and town. The pool was unheated in 2005; it may be upgraded by now.
- Paintings of Mykonos Island
This links to a Google image search showing watercolor paintings of Mykonos Island by many different artists. As you can see, it's a painter's mecca.
- Kouros Hotel Website
I adored this hotel. Gorgeous views, lovely rooms with balconies, airy restaurant overlooking pool and harbor, and accommodating cats. Just be sure to make arrangements if you can't handle steps; there are only a few rooms which are wheelchair-access
- mykonos.gr - Official website of the Municipality of Mykonos
Official website of Mykonos. Click the UK flag for the English version; if it refuses to cooperate, copy the URL into translate.google.com or view this page in Google's Chrome browser.
The Journey Continues...
Up Next in Ancient Greece Odyssey...
Up next: The birthplace of the god Apollo and the ruins of an ancient city on Delos Island!
© 2011 Ellen Brundige