View of part of Monastery on Mykonos
Hello from the picturesque island of Mykonos. Today is Janet’s real birthday – not one of the pretend birthdays we have already celebrated. Happy birthday! Janet got lots of e-mail wishes from everyone to recognize her birthday. We also got delightful news and pictures from Valerie about the twin’s graduation from Kindergarten. CONGRATULATIONS to them!
We got to sleep in this morning because arrival did not occur until noon. We went to the dining room and Janet got to have one more of her Eggs Benedict breakfasts (since she is missing her chance for a free Grand Slam at Denny’s today). Then she was off to a final session of the Knitters and Knatters Society. Meanwhile David found after breakfast that they were selling some of their souvenir T-shirts from this cruise, so he got each of us a T-shirt. Then unfortunately it was time to start tackling the project of getting everything back into the suitcases in preparation for departure tomorrow. Anyway we got most stuff in this morning.
Today is another example where we have scaled back our aggressive excursion plans for the day. Originally we had planned a tour rated as “strenuous
– must be able to walk for ¾ miles over narrow cobble-stoned street with uneven places and some steps”. It would have visited all the highlights of the island, but somewhere along the way we would have needed to visit a cemetery to bury Janet. Instead we gave up that plan after Florence and switched to “Easy Mykonos Island Highlights”. We didn’t see as many things but we enjoyed what we saw and we are still able-bodied enough to move into Athens tomorrow. Anyway, here is how the tour unfolded.
We did not have to been at our meeting place until 1:45, so we had time for a little lunch before leaving the ship. David wanted one more bowl of their very good chili, so we went to the Horizon Bistro for a little lunch and a few “sweets” for dessert. Then we gathered our belongings in the backpack and headed for our pickup point in the Casino. In case we haven’t mentioned it before, David has been carrying his Cardinal backpack through all our excursions. It leaves his hands free to take some pictures and it is pretty distinctive over her in Europe – we haven’t
Mykonos main town - all white buildings
seen another one in any of our visits.
We waited in the Casino for about 20 minutes and then were led off the ship to wait on the pier for another 10 minutes. This is the first time on any of our cruises where this was done. We eventually got on a bus and headed off to discover what is on Mykonos. This is literally a granite island – no limestone, no marble, and not a lot of soil. When the island was formed it was pushed up from the ocean’s depths and it was granite. It is only about 88 square kilometers in size. About the only business on the island is tourism – our guide said it was about 95% of their capital income.
All the houses, businesses, churches, etc. have been whitewashed and are all white. Apparently in the early years (1000-1300) the houses were the color of granite and virtually disappeared from site when seen from the see – this kept them safer from pirates and others who might attack. Then for about 500 years they started painting everything bright colors, which we referred to as their “Venetian period” but
Parade of Baked Alaska
she didn’t explain why. In the last 200 years, they have painted everything white because it was easier to see dirt and therefore they kept their homes cleaner. Also it keeps the interiors several degrees cooler in the warm summers. It is now a law on Mykonos that every building must be painted white or the owner can be fined until they comply. Also every building had rounded corners and no sharp edges. Again that is a law on the island but she did not say why that’s the case. However each house has either red or blue shutters and doors, and business can have names in those colors too. So everything about a building looks similar but is distinctly different from its neighbor.
We made a first stop at a small cove where there is a small church with a double steeple – the only such church on the island. There were some surrounding buildings and our guide said this was the St John’s Resort. This was the first church we visited; however there are apparently 600 little churches on the island. There are 80 churches in the town of Mykonos and 79 of them are Greek Orthodox and 1 is Catholic. Each of these churches has the most holy location (usually the icons) facing East, so all the entry doors and steeples are on the West side. This particular church was basically empty and seemed like a strange place to visit. However it was very typical in that it was barely a room the size of an average American bedroom – they are very small. Also from this location we have the best view of the island of Delos across the water. That had been a strategic location and important trade center in the Mediterranean, whereas it is now completely uninhabited. But there are tours (including the one we dropped) which took ferries across to investigate it.
We boarded the bus again and drove across the island to another resort on the north side of the island. Our guide explained that although tourism is their most important business, right now our cruise ship is basically the only source of tourists. Their touring season doesn’t really begin until the end of May or early June, and continues through the summer. So we’ve seen this island while it is still in the final months of its slumbering hibernation. The next time this ship comes back in about 3 weeks, the activity level should be dramatically different.
Then we went to a “taverna” for a sample of Greeks snacks and a glass of Ouzo over ice. The drink tastes like it has a licorice base, and Janet does not like that so David had to drink both glasses. The snacks were a little different but mostly tasted good. Then we had a chance for a bathroom break before we walked over to a monastery. It too is Greek Orthodox and our guide explained what we were seeing. We were not allowed to take flash pictures, but David did get a few that weren’t too bad. But the interior was extremely ornate and must have been very expensive to build, even if it too was extremely small in size.
We got back on the bus and after dropping a few people in town, the rest of us were dropped off at the ship. We were reasonable well prepared with our packing so we cleaned up and went to Club-6 for a cocktail and appetizers. Then we went to the dining room for our “last supper” on the ship. Janet had the Shrimp Cocktail and a bowl of Beef Broth before her entrée of a small order of Fettucine Alfredo. David had Cold Cucumber Soup and a small Alfredo, followed by a New York Strip Steak. We had wine of course. For dessert Janet had the Baked Alaska and David had Deep Dish Apple Pie a la mode – with after dinner liqueurs of course. Being the final night of a cruise, the assistant waiters performed the March of the Baked Alaska and David got a few pictures. We said goodbye to our wait-staff and left a little gift for Jesus and Hernando.
After dinner we had to get back to the cabin to finish packing the bags which would be transferred to the pier tomorrow morning. Weight is not exactly a problem tonight because we will repack in Athens before getting on the plane in a couple of days. But we needed to rid ourselves of everything that we wouldn’t need tonight or tomorrow, because those things we have to carry off ourselves. Anyway, that’s all been done and now we have settled down for the last night’s sleep on the ship before we depart tomorrow morning. By the way, we got a bit carried away and packed the camera bag in the suitcase (not the camera itself) which had the cord for transferring pictures from the camera to the computer, so no pictures tonight – sorry.
There will be another few days of our adventure reporting as we have some time left in Athens, so keep watching for more updates. But that about wraps up today’s report.
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