We have the morning to sleep in today, until we have to be ready for the bus at 10:45am.
We drive back down to the same port from yesterday’s catamaran trip. Its another beautiful, hot day of 79 degrees.
We wait for the giant SeaJet ferry that transports tourists from Santorini to Mykonos. For €70, we enjoy airplane-style seating, air conditioning, a nice window view and the option to purchase food and beverages. This was the absolute best and I would highly recommend! Just be sure to have a hat and sunscreen as you are waiting outside for about an hour before you board the boat.
The 3-houe ride was perfect as the boat speeds across the ocean, passing the islands of Naxos and Paros. The group chats with each other, watches the view, or dozes off for a sweet nap before we arrive in Mykonos New Port. Jay and I each purchased a spinach and feta spankopita for €5 on the boat and was the perfect lunch to hold us over until dinner time.
We disembark the boat with ease and take a very short bus trip from the port to our hotel just across the street. Our hotel is located in Mykonos’s New Port. This is where most boats and cruise ships now dock, as compared to 20 years ago when they were allowed in the main Old Port. Now, the Old Port is for private boats and yachts.
Our hotel is an absolute dream! Located right across from the water, we are excited as we are escorted into the reception area for a quick briefing from the hotel owner about the rooms/wifi/pool/etc. One thing he said to note in Mykonos is that they don’t recommend drinking the tap water, and instead say to purchase water. In Greece, water is very affordable, with a standard water bottle for €0.50 or a 1.5 liter bottle for €1-2.
Roommates are issued their room keys and Jay and I are escorted to our room on the ground floor of the hotel. What a room! Light grey wooden beams across the ceiling, clean, plush bed, many window to open up and let in the fresh air, and a normal bathroom.
We have about an hour before we have to be ready so Jay and I relax in the room for a little bit. I re-organize my bag and catch up with the blog, while Jay takes a quick nap.
We then walk around to the front of the hotel, where we sit by the pool and can see the harbor and main street to the Old Port. There is two cruise ships anchored in the water, and small sailboats and fishing boats tied to smaller docks.
At 5:15p, we load up the bus and take a quick 5-min drive into the Old Town, with our new walking tour guide, Kevin, onboad. A Mykonos local, he is so sweet in telling us the history of Mykonos. We get off the bus and Kevin leads us on a walking town of the old port of Mykonos. We learn that the whole island is only about 10 miles long in total, with 11,000 people on the island (local and tourists).
Our first stop on the walking tour was a sculpture of an elegant female figure. The cheerful groups passing by all day might miss her, but she watches over them and her beloved island with pride and love. Her name is Manto Mavrogenous, and she was an exceptional personality during the Greek Revolution in 1821.
Mykonos is EXTREMELY windy, with the north wind sweeping over the entire island, as compared to Santorini’s caldera, which cliffs protected you from the harsh ocean winds.
The streets of Mykonos were originally built like a labyrinth, with no street names or numbers, to confuse pirates back in the day and make it more difficult for them to navigate. That is also why all the buildings were painted white, to show no distinction between them. Now of course it is purely a tourist town.
The streets inside of the old town are narrow but charming. Cobblestone paths wind in every direction with no reason, and they have painted a cobblestone pattern on top of the paths, to add to the white aesthetic.
Kevin lets us quickly explore inside two churches – St. George’s. They were exceptional with wall-to-wall pieces of biblical artwork.
We then walk down a little further, past jewelry shops, souvenir shops, unique clothing shops, and popup shops, along with designer stores like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. There are little cafes and restaurants tucked away and share little patios with the shops, offering a nice shaded area to have lunch or a cocktail, surrounded by beautiful hot pink bougainvillea climbing up the patio’s trellis. The streets become quieter as we venture further into the old town’s city enter. Flower boxes hang overhead and the air smells of fresh linens that are drying above our heads in the sun.
We pop out by the famous Mykonos Windmills for a 10-minute photo opportunity. They are an iconic feature of the Greek island of Mykonos. The island is one of the Cyclades islands, which neighbor Delos in the Aegean Sea. The windmills can be seen from every point of the village of Mykonos. The windmills are the first thing seen when coming into the harbour of Alefkandra, as they stand on a hill overlooking the area. Most windmills face towards the North where the island’s climate sources its strongest winds over the largest part of the year. There are currently 16 windmills on Mykonos of which seven are positioned on the landmark hill in Chora. Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century, but their construction continued into the early 20th century. They were primarily used to millwheat. They were an important source of income for the inhabitants. Their use gradually declined until they ceased production in the middle of the 20th century. The architecture of each of them is similar, all have a round shape, white color, and a pointed roof, and very small windows. Such windmills are found in almost all Cyclades islands. One of these windmills has been transformed into a museum.
We walk back towards town, but not without walking next to the waterfront edge of Little Italy, inspired by the houses built directly against the water like in Venice, Italy. Restaurants offer tables right by the water while dining guests and passers walk through and avoid getting sprayed by the giant waves crashing against the building’s wall.
After returning to the statue of Manto Mavrogenous, we say goodbye to Kevin, and make our way a few streets over to tonight’s restaurant, Kalita Restaurant, for dinner at 7:30p.
What a scene! The beautiful restaurant seats us inside their indoor patio seating, which has a cool, calm ambiance, with a local pianist playing jazz, classical, and cover songs in the corner. We enjoy drinks, appetizers of olives, oil, bread, tzatziki, and olive spreads. Next comes a green salad with Porto Bello mushrooms, “Formaela” cheese from Arachova, figs, and pine nuts, drizzled with truffle oil. A first appetizer appears, of angel hair rolls stuffed with goat cheese, smoked pancetta, and sweet quince. The second appetizer is a deconstructed spinach pie with feta cheese and egg, Breaded on a crispy sheet. The main entrée is a choice of sea bass, with colorful vegetable tagliatelle, orange sauce, and ouzo air (bubbles!) on top, or chicken leg with a sauce of peppers, greek honey, and balsamico. Jay and I ordered each option and both agreed that the sea bass was the best we’ve ever eaten!
By now, the sun has set and the restaurant has filled up, now soft voices fill the patio of tourists like us all enjoying a fantastic meal. The tables all glow with little lights and the bartender mixes up artful cocktails.
Dinner ends with a mouth-watering lemon tart with carob flour biscuit. We couldn’t have asked for a better dinner tonight on our first night in Mykonos. A big thank you goes out to our tour director, Nikolaus, for finding this absolute gem!
The group leaves dinner, with half going around the corner to the Scandinavian Disco Bar for drinks and dancing, while the rest of us make our way down to the harbor to catch the boat back to the hotel.
We hop on the Sea Bus for €2 each, and the small boat takes tourists the mile back to the New Port, with our hotel right there as we disembark.
I am blown away at how perfect the day has been, and am so excited to spend tomorrow afternoon exploring the town further. Tomorrow’s adventure includes a morning 5-hour excursion to the Island of Delos.