Seeking Mykonos came down to four things for me: the main town, beaches, light, and reading. This holiday was an actual holiday - something I rarely (to the point of almost never) do. To clarify, by this I mean, instead of sight-seeing, travelling to multiple destinations, or packing in a bunch of activities, this trip was about plonking myself on a beach, eating food, and above all, relaxing.
That is why this post won’t be resplendent in all the wonderful sights/ruins/museums/cultural displays I saw, language I practiced, or things I learnt. It is rather more simple than that – we mainly just floated from beach to beach, meal to meal…and it was marvellous!! Quite different to most of my travels and considering the health problems I have been experiencing recently, it was a welcome change of pace. It was a chance to recharge the batteries and what greater cure is there in the world than good food, salt water and sunshine?
The main town is bustling, touristy concentration of restaurants, hostels, hotels, and souvenir stores. But get off the main streets and you discover a beautiful rabbit warren of blue and white architecture with the occasional local going about their business as if today were any other day and tourists simply a temporary annoyance that would be gone when the weather cooled and the real world called them back to wherever they came from.
Oh and there’s a pelican! He’s famous, roams the streets, drinks from puddles and generally waltzes about.
Beaches were possibly the only thing we actively sought (other than restaurants) on Mykonos. It is easy to just spend your days by the hotel pool or Paranga day beds, but we hired cars for the specific purpose of going to the secluded, remote, quiet, and extremely beautiful beaches that most tourists don’t even know exist, let alone converge upon.
Agois Sostis, Elia, Fokos, Agia Anna, Ftelia…the beaches of Mykonos generally a variation on the insanely gorgeous same. White sand, warm crystalline blue waters, naked sunbathers… Some, like Elia and Agia Anna, have day beds you can hire for the day, but most are just stretches of sand, skin, and water. Oh and the restaurants – the best food on the island can be found at the most secluded of these beaches (read about them here).
Handcrafted plates and jewellery at Tavern Fokos, Fokos Beach
Elia Beach day beds
The beaches are the main reason for people to make the trek to these little islands in the Aegean, however, the reason I found Mykonos so intensely beautiful was the light.
My favourite time of day was between 5:30 and 8:30pm. The sun would begin its steady descent towards the horizon transforming everything that was recognisable a minute ago into an entirely different world. The light becomes this hazy, buttery yellow that slowly morphs into an explosion of orange, peach, violet and blush as the sun dips further and further away.
These three hours were usually the most relaxed of the day. The beauty of the changing surroundings seemed to have a calming effect on everyone as they wound down from the activities of the day before gearing up for the excitement of the night. Often we would sit in awe of the changes occurring around us and it never seemed to get old saying “wow…this is so beautiful.”
Our most perfect day on the island was the day we decided to go watch the sunset at the lighthouse. I’m not going to bother writing much about it – you can see for yourself in the photos. Though I will say this – the photos do not do it justice. It was far more amazing in real life.
I normally do a large amount of reading when I travel – planes, trains, buses, random/exhausted downtime from travelling or sight-seeing or jet-lag allows for a substantial amount of Kindle use. However, on this trip, with so many people around to talk to, get to know, and catch up with, there wasn’t a lot of “downtime”. As it happens, I only read one book, but it was an extremely appropriate one.
Taking a short hiatus from my current fantasy obsession, I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know, I know, almost everyone has and they did so a few years back. I believe that some books are sentient or contain some sort of mystical power that guides it towards certain people at certain times – freaky little papery things that they are! Sometimes a book finds you at exactly the right time and even if you don’t realise it when you read the blurb, make your purchase, and open it up to Chapter 1, you swiftly begin to realise there was something more going on than just the fanciful or random decision that caused you to choose it.
For anyone who hasn’t read it, do yourself a favour and get a copy. It is a beautiful, raw and authentic account of one woman’s struggle against modernity and her journey to find peace in a chaotic world. Oh and ignore the film – it just confuses things.
I can see now why this book was such a massive bestseller. It is relatable on so many levels and yet it speaks beyond the typical bildungsroman because she was not the stereotypical abused, degraded, misfortunate heroine – she is just a normal woman going about her life in exactly the way most of us do but somehow broke out of that cycle and found the contentment, grounding and peace that so many of us will probably never find. Oh and pizza. Lots and lots of pizza.