Day 1, 8/02/2002
Athens to Mykonos
Upon arriving at Athens International Airport, we immediately proceeded to level two to purchase ferry tickets from an Athens port, Piraeus or Rafina, to Mykonos Island. (Travel tip: The airport has many travel service counters in the airport; there are airline counters, ferry sales counters, hotel reservation counters-basically a lot of counters where everyone speaks English and can offer assistance in last minute travel planning.) Well, there were no available tickets from Piraeus, but three tickets were available from Rafina.
There is a bus? Ok, good, good. Right outside the airport? There are signs for bus lines? Good, good.
And since Paul, Joe, nor I could read Greek we decided the best way to avoid getting on the wrong bus would be to ask the driver, ?Rafina port?? Before getting on. I know this plan is not exactly high on the original travel in a foreign country plan list, but it is always a failsafe.
Boarding my first Greek ferry was a memorable experience, like no other cruise ship or vessel I have ever boarded. The massive ferry sounded its horn as cars, scooters, and trucks enter the lower level between passenger stairways. We walked up to level nine- deck class, and found two available benches for us settle in. On the way we met Sean, a very friendly American from London. He was truly a sweetheart- offered to pick up the tab for the first round!
We SPF was applied to the face, removed the shirts and rolled pant legs up, sat back, and discussed travel, work, the US, London, and plans for Mykonos. Soon the dried cranberry trail mix and Nodine?s beef jerky was removed from my pack. The sun began setting, and we all shared our first Mediterranean sunset. A cloudless soft blue sky with warm coral, amber, and daffodil colored rays descending across the turquoise waters. Spirits couldn?t be any higher.
The six hours on the ferry had blissfully passed and we had arrived in Mykonos. It was time for us to bid adieu to Sean for he was traveling the Greek islands via a friend?s sailboat. Cheers mate! We made our walk through the crowd of hotel promoters and room renters holding catalogs and signs, begging for visitors to stop and look at what they could offer. Joseph and I would not be camping while traveling with Paul so we needed to find a room. I left decisions us to them- sometimes three people involved in a decision can be hazardous. Besides, I was very flexible. We finally allowed the innocent looking woman that offered us a ride to persuade us, and agreed on Hotel Kastelakia in Plati Gialos for 60 euro per night.
The room was about 10ft x 10ft with one small 16in x 16in screen less window, containing three single beds, a private bathroom, and a small nightstand. Overall, the room was clean and simple, but with such a small window and no fan, we were being ripped off. It was too late to leave the agreement, so we dropped off our things, freshened up, and headed down the road to catch a bus back to the city.
I have always heard how Mykonos is a ?party? island, how the nightlife is very unique and exciting. One of my very good friends had just returned from Mykonos and said she had an ?amazingly brilliant time!? All I can say is if you enjoy being surrounded by trendy fashion including Gucci and Dior, very sexy men and women looking for even sexier mates, cocktail scents trickling in the air, expensive restaurants, jewelry boutique dealers dripping with gold, small linen shops, and large crowds of people wandering the streets before the midnight festivities begin, then Mykonos is your scene. The Cycladic architecture that houses the Cosmopolitan scene is quite breathtaking, and adds to the lush city atmosphere.
We dined on fresh Red Snapper at Sea Satin Restaurant below the five famous Mykonos windmills on the beach. Stray kittens curling at your feet, an occasionally lit candle on the table, a waiter that grants too much privacy, a punchbowl to replace a fingerbowl, and an unidentifiable appetizer are the details that surface in my memory. We did have a wonderful dinner, dining on fresh fish while enjoying a pleasant white. After the meal I stood up, grabbed my wine glass, walked several feet to the shore, finished the sip of wine that spun around the sides of the glass, then threw the glass into the rock reef as though I was christening Greece with my presence. I felt exhilarated, embraced by the sea, the island, and the country. I turned to Joe, watched him smile as I smiled back.
Things to remember:
>Break wine glasses against sea rocks whenever possible.
>Always recalculate bill totals- especially ones that are off by 104 euro.
>Decomposing windmills in the moonlight are extremely romantic.