It was the first time I ever needed a passport. My first trip “across the pond.” At the time, it seemed like a big adventure. Just a trio of 20-something girlfriends hitting the Greek island of Mykonos for a week. I had no way of knowing how much that trip would change my life. You see, from the minute I stepped off the plane on that tiny little granite island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, I was hooked. It was quite simply the most beautiful place I’d ever laid eyes on. From the exquisite beaches edged by clear turqoise waters to the white-washed homes adorned with blue shutters to the imposing shadows of the windmills that welcome every traveler to the harbor – Mykonos is a work of art.
I always knew I wanted to travel but until that first trip to Greece, I hadn’t done much about it. After all, simply wanting to travel doesn’t make it so. Everything changed for me after Mykonos. Thirteen years and 95 countries later, I still keep coming back. To re-visit the people and places that have made it so special to me and to re-live the trip that was the original catalyst for my wanderlust. This past weekend was my 7th visit to the island.
Over the years, I’ve introduced 3 other friends to Mykonos – Shannon would make 4. We arrived about an hour before sunset on Friday evening after a full day of travel from Barcelona. For the 3rd time in a row, I chose to stay at Marietta’s Apartments near the windmills. Marietta has a terrrific building on the edge of Little Venice with 3 great apartments, all with perfect views overlooking the sunset each night. Her prices are reasonable and she’ll happily pick you up at the airport and take you back when it’s time to go.
Though we were tired, the view of the setting sun from the balcony of our apartment in Little Venice gave both of us a second wind. We grabbed a bottle of Greek wine from the mini-market downstairs and headed back to our balcony to watch the nightly sunset show.
In the bars and restaurants of Little Venice, where the balconies literally overhang the sea, the sunset earns a nightly round of applause from the assembled audience. And it’s well-deserved. As a bit of a connoisseur of sunsets around the world, I can safely say that those in Mykonos rank up there with the best.
After sunset, it was time to change and head out to dinner – I was seriously craving some Greek food. Our second wind held on strong and after dinner we danced the night away at Skandinavian Bar and Caprice. A perfect start to our 3 days in Mykonos.
The next morning, after a significant amount of sleeping in, we took advantage of the excellent island bus system to make our way to my favorite beach – Platis Gialos. More relaxing (and I think much prettier) than the popular “party” beaches of Paradise and Super Paradise, Platis Gialos is a wide expanse of sand with sparkling, clear-blue waters. It was the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon before kicking it into high gear again that evening.
We followed a similar schedule each day that went something like this:
Wake-eat-beach-sunset-eat-dance-sleep-REPEAT. It’s a simple strategy for island enjoyment that has served me well over the years.
The next day, to mix it up a little bit and give Shannon a chance to see another beach, we decided to visit Psarou beach instead. It’s also a perfectly gorgeous beach, but all things considered, I’d stick with Platis Gialos in the future.
That night, we watched our final applause-worthy sunset, had our last Greek meal and - despite our best intentions of getting some sleep before our 7am flight out this morning – managed to stay out dancing until the wee hours. I went back to Skandinavian Bar to say my goodbyes to my friends there, especially Stavros – who I met on my first trip to Mykonos all those years ago. Some things never change.
Though I’ve seen so much more of the world now since that first trip abroad, Mykonos will always have a special place in my heart. It’s the island that started it all for me and one I know I’ll return to for years to come.