Spanning a small area of only 33 square miles and with a population of about 10,000, Mykonos is easily transversed by motorbike or all-terrain vehicle (ATV). At this time, there are still few tourists and the island is pleasantly quiet. Also staying at Mama’s Pension, Kristen and I hire (a.k.a. rent) ATV’s and take off to explore what lay on the island. It is a bit cold to go for a swim, but that does not stop us from searching out many of Mykonos’ beautiful beaches and testing the waters with our feet while walking up and down the sand. Starting near our guest house at Agios Stephanos Beach, throughout the day we see many other turquoise coast lines, white houses nestled into hills extending from the water, and views that are meant for postcards. Other highlight beaches along our journey included Paraga, Paradise, Panaramos, Agios Sostis, Kalafatis and more.
The island being no more than 10 miles in its longest dimension allows us to search many of its nooks and crannies. We even move inland away from the coast and explore the village of Ano Mera. We find a wonderful bakery with an uber inviting smell, and I devour a feta cheese filled pastry to hold me over until dinner. Some of the roads that we travel along have a couple too many bumps and hills, but luckily on our ATV’s, we are semi-prepared to attack most paths that lay before us. I have limited experience driving such a vehicle, but after a day’s worth of riding, I can say I feel much more comfortable on an ATV.
The last goal of the day is to find an empty west-facing beach to watch the sun go down. We drive around the southwest extension of the island and eventually find a small stretch of unoccupied beach to watch the sun. We climb down from the road to the beach, spot a comfortable rock, and settle in to watch another colorful Mykonos sunset—a perfect ending to a full and fun day.
I land in Athens, find a bus to Piraeus Port, and figure out how the ferries operate. I arrive with a list of islands in mind that I might like to visit and learn which island the next ferry will be traveling to. In twenty minutes, there is a ferry leaving for Mykonos Island (one that was on my list), I figure out how to navigate the large, major port of Athens, and am soon on my way to a Greek Island. The ferry boat is less of a water taxi and more of a cruise liner, complete with 5 levels, bars, restaurants, couches and tables. After a windy and sunny four and a half hours, a quick stop at Paros Island, and a snack, I am greeted at the Mykonos port by many trying to sell their guest houses and hotels. I meet Christina from Mama’s Pension, like the sound of the place and the photos she shows me, and I am soon getting a ride in her car to the guest house. The house is run by Christina and her mother, “Mama”, both of whom are very friendly and helpful in providing tips of how to navigate the island. Mama’s Pension is about 2 km outside of town, but Christina gives me and another house guest, Kristen, a ride into the main town in the early evening. I look forward to a relaxing couple days while exploring the island and starting to learn more about Greek culture.
Kristen (from Australia who is currently studying in Sweden) and I explore the city as the sun starts to set, all the while looking for a perfect spot to enjoy a drink and watch the day’s final light. After exploring and photographing the windmills and Little Venice in various parts of town, we settle down at a nice bar called Katerina’s, which is located in Little Venice and has a small west-facing balcony. The food is a bit on the pricey side given our budgets, but we enjoy a drink to keep our seats, and after dark settles in, we move on to a small gryo shop down the street. A gyro is a delicious pita wrap filled with meat from a vertical spit, tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce, and french fries. Because they are inexpensive and my hunger still strong, I go back for seconds. The gyro may have been so good because of the delicious tzatziki sauce with its yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil and dill. I immediately know I will be searching this place out again before leaving the island.