After 4 days on Santorini, it was time to head to Mykonos. There are flights, but we took the ferry. A friend had told the ride was long, which I didn’t really get because its only 2 1/2 hours. Among the longest 2 1/2 of my life. Even in the height of summer the Cyclades are windy, which creates a natural air conditioning and can be lovely. It is less lovely at sea, especially while on a speeding catamaran ferry. The crew spent much of the trip passing out barf bags, an American woman screamed in desperation, asking them to slow the boat down. I recommend flying.
We arrived at the Mykonos town port, very happy to be on terra firma, and thanking our driver profusely for the cold face towels he handed us as we jumped into the van. As is our style, we stayed off the beaten path, slightly out of town. It suits us and we were thrilled with Stephanos, the beach just below our hotel.
The beaches of Mykonos each have their own personality. There is the “wild” beach of Sostis and party beaches with names like Paradise and Super Paradise. Stephanos is a family beach that fills up with locals on the weekend and has three very good restaurants, each more simple, yet delicious than the next. It was a great base for our trip.
After a relaxing swim and a late lunch at the beach, we were ready to hit the town. I don’t do well with hoards of tourists, which is pretty ironic for someone living in the most visited city on earth, so I was rather apprehensive about Mykonos. In the end, its like every where, it only takes a right (or left) turn to get off the beaten path. Which is what we did, by sticking to side streets and keeping our hours slightly earlier than everyone else.
The town strikes me as a very charming, high-end shopping mall. There were jewelry stores selling gems the size of my fist, art galleries asking 5 figures for a piece, and basically anything a jetsetter would need in an emergency (Alaïa dresses, Louboutins, LV bags, Patek Phillip…). Not exactly my scene (except for the sandals. I was very tempted by the hand-made in Mykonos sandal shops, even if I did walk away empty footed).
I loved seeing the windmills and strolling the white washed alley ways with Mr French. I was thrilled that the chapels welcomed visitors, and their cameras, and we got excited each time we saw see traditional women chatting away in their kitchens, or a group of local men hanging out at the kebab joint by the bus stop. Even the large group of millionaires dining at the table behind one evening was authentic; they were Greek millionaires enjoying a night out with their age appropriate wives. While not really my style, the place quickly grew on me, and we even ended up taking advantage of their infamous nightclub scene, enjoying exotic cocktails with a sunset view before the maddening crowds flooded in.
We had two meals in town. An extraordinary traditional dinner at the quaint To Maereio taverna. The room was cool and dark, just like a Greek home and our dinner included zucchini fritters, a pork stew with feta and sautéed mushrooms. It was so good I didn’t have to look at my notes to remember what we ate. The second meal was at Interni, an über-chic, jetset address, in a gorgeous cactus-scaped courtyard that included a chapel and two bars with surprisingly reasonable prices and excellent cocktails for some really fun people watching. It may be your scene, it may not, but one thing is for sure, you’re not in Kansas, Dorothy. This could very well be the land of Oz.