You may have read about my trips to Athens, followed by Santorini, but I'm most excited to tell you about my absolute favorite location of this four-part summer trip: Mykonos.
After discovering the wonder that Santorini isn't, I'm not gonna lie: I was skeptical about Mykonos. I'd heard such great things about both islands, but there was really only one way to separate the truth from fiction.
My fair-haired friend, April, and I set out early Sunday morning, the 6th day of our 10-day trip. Despite the experience of the hydrofoil to Santorini, we'd already pre-booked another boat ride to Mykonos (again, before we left the States).
|Unlike this diagram, our ferry stopped at two islands on the way to Mykonos, making our ride another 4-hour trip.|
Unlike the mini-cruise ship experience of the hydrofoil, the boat to Mykonos was more a high-speed ferry: much smaller, with a much rockier ride. Our luggage was stored in the cabin with our seats, using the "put-it-wherever-you-find-space" method. At least this way, we could keep our eyes on our stuff.
|Can you see the pile of luggage way in the back of this photo, on the left?|
To avoid the taxi fiasco of Santorini, we called the our Mykonos hotel, the Leto, to arrange transportation.
|This is the view from the port and from the front of our hotel. It's the first thing we saw once arriving to Mykonos.|
|Other boats at the Old Port of Mykonos. They were gorgeous.|
The port is located next to a bus stop, right behind these boats in fact, which seems to be the primary mode of transportation if you don't have a car. Although there were many places renting scooters to tourists, lots of folks, like us, opted to take the bus, which operates every 30 to 60 minutes and costs 1.50 to 2 Euro each way.
|The buses were all charter style.|
|The best bus stop view I've ever had.|
|The restaurant at San Stefano Beach.|
|San Stefano Beach. The "New Port" is in the background, about 100 yards from the "Old Port".|
Guess what y'all? This beach had sand. It had crystal clear blue water and people frolicking in it as far as the eye could see. It had a restaurant that served us hot stuffed mushrooms and cold fruit. It was divine.
|Cheese stuffed mushrooms|
|Greek salad, of course|
|Beach beds, 14 Euro for both. Score!|
|Our charismatic waiter, Claudio|
|April and Greek Mythos beer|
|We met a nice Italian engineer, Allesandro, at San Stefano Beach.|
|Guess what else? Although we were at the beach, it wasn't sweltering. We were comfortable. Just warm enough, and if we got too hot, April and I jumped in the Aegean Sea. The way life is supposed to be.|
This one actually sold a pair of "Beats by Dre" headphones to the Italian crew nearby.
He came over to me and said, "My sista, my sista, want to buy?" I pretended I wanted to buy a watch for my brother at home so that I could get these closeup photos.
|We headed back to our hotel after a few hours, but not before seeing these posters at the bus stop. This "Trap Party" was just the night before. Wish I hadn't missed it.|
|Of course David Guetta is here. I heard later that entrance to this party was 60 Euro.|
|Yes, Mykonos not only has "Las Vegas showgirls", but more importantly, it has a Go Kart track.|
Since April and I never got a full 24 hours to acclimate to Europe standard time, we took our usual midday one-hour nap and got ready for dinner. Every time we took that nap, I could've easily slept into the next day. But we only have one more day here in Mykonos, so I had to (wo)man up.
|We ate at a spot not far from our hotel, which was a great location for people-watching. Like everywhere else, they offered free wifi, but you never knew if it would work until you were seated.|
|This is the view from our dinner table. Can you see the fireworks in the distance?|
|The bus schedules were...interesting. But accurate.|
|Views of Mykonos landscape from the bus to Elia Beach.|
|Dry as a bone, kind of like Santorini, except for all of the winding stone walls throughout the landscape. They were everywhere.|
|Hello, Elia Beach.|
|Doesn't matter. I was immediately distracted by more real sand.|
|And our beautiful view of the sea.|
|All I needed was a mango frozen drink and a magazine.|
By the way, I was pretty disappointed in the lack of toplessness in Greece. Spain had it right. Oh well. I kept my top on for the duration.
|When we arrived at Elia Beach four hours before, the parking lot was empty. It was so full of scooters, we had to figure out where to go to catch the bus back.|
And there they were.
|Too bad the windmills are no longer in use. The wind at this slight elevation was unbelievable. Maybe 30 mph or more.|
|The wind up here was so strong that I literally had to hold on to my hat. April's kept blowing off so she said forget it and left it off.|
|View from the windmills. Over to the right is another of TripAdvisor's "must-sees": Little Venice.|
|Not sure why this particular shop had liquor-filled phalluses--it gave me the impression that Ouzo (or Metaxa, for that matter) was good for men. And maybe it is.|
|And that was our time in Mykonos. Everything within a 10-mile radius.|
|We ate at an Italian restaurant in town where all of the waiters looked like this.|
|We never visited our hotel pool, except to order ice cream at the end of the night.|
Mykonos is beautiful. And beautiful is an understatement. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to relax and tan on the beach, but also someone wanting the option to shop and eat or party. The people are nice and getting around is easy. And it's the gay friendliest place I've ever visited in my life. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Stay tuned for the last leg of this trip: Istanbul, Turkey!