Greece: Mykonos and Paros
S. and I are currently packing our stuff up and waiting for our laundry to be done so we can make our way to the Metro and the Athens Airport to head to the Amalfi Coast. We spent the last two days exploring the Cyclades: Mykonos and Paros, specifically. Though we wanted to hit up Santorini, the eight hour ferry ride to the southern part of the islands was definitely a deterrent.
We grabbed a 7:45A ferry to Mykonos on Saturday morning and I tried desperately to spend the four hours working on my dissertation, reading, etc. Sadly, my attempts were only mildly successful. We arrived in Mykonos at around 12P, bags in hand with no reservations. We had decided the night before that we would see what was to be had when we arrived at the port. We were immediately bombarded with a thousand hotel marketers trying to peddle their goods. We ended up choosing Paraga Beach to relax and a hostel therein to stay the night.
If we could go back in time, we would have completely rethought this choice. We ended up waiting for literally two and a half hours for the bus to leave the port and head to Paraga. Tired, hot, sweaty and a little pissed, we arrived at the beach at around 3P and grabbed a tent for the night. The hostel reminded me a bit of Yosemite’s Curry Village: a bunch of glorified tents dotted throughout a massive campground plus room for people who came equipped with their own tents.
After we got settled, we headed out to the hostel’s deck to grab lunch and soak up some famous Grecian sun. The area was actually really pretty; very idyllic and very much the image that comes to mind when you envision Greece.
After laying out for a few hours, we went back to our mansion of a tent and took a nap for a few hours before heading out to explore Mykonos Town. We ended up heading to town around 930P and hung out for a few hours to check out the cute shops and hangouts. With it being a Saturday night, there were throngs of people hanging out in town, tourists and Greeks alike.
After exploring the town and debating on whether or not to patronize Mykonos Tattoo (we decided against it), we headed back to Paraga Bay to get some sleep.
We woke up Sunday morning bright and early and headed out of the beach area and into town by 930A. We grabbed ferry tickets to Paros (and from Paros to Athens) so we could see another island before coming back to Pireaus. We spent our next few hours on Mykonos enjoying beachfront breakfast at Galera, exploring the shops, picking up some postcards and trinkets, and laying out on the sunny beaches by the port.
We headed to Paros at around 3 in the afternoon, arrived at 4P and left at 5P. To say it was a whirlwind tour of the island would be an understatement. We stopped long enough to snap a few shots, grab lunch and then re-board the ferry to Athens.
In hindsight, I may have picked another island to visit (rather than Mykonos, that is). Mykonos, while beautiful, is highly touristed which takes away from a bit of the experience for me. I think Paros or Naxos may have been a better choice for my pace. Regardless, the Cyclades were a great choice for a few days, and a great way to get out of Athens and get some sun.
Greece, in general, has been a bit different than I thought it would be. I’m happy that I visited, mind you, but I find myself leaving Athens a bit disappointed. I think that Greece, as a whole, has done an incredible job of marketing. The streets of the capital city were dirty, the people (on the whole) were rather rude and I found the city a bit unwelcoming. While the islands were beautiful (I found Hydra especially charming), I thought that the beaches of Malta and of Marbella were more noteworthy. In any case, I’m glad that I had an opportunity to visit and even happier that we’re departing in less than an hour.
Now, we’re packing up and heading off to the Amalfi Coast — can’t wait to see the dramatic coastline and gorgeous views. Catch up with you later!