26th June 2006
The next morning, I awoke and got up to go to the loo, while in the loo my hotel room phone rang and when I got to it, it was the hotel manager telling me my transfer to Piraeus had arrived! I quickly got dressed and threw all my stuff into my suitcase, boy did I give them a piece of my mind when I got down to the lobby, it turns out the woman on reception had been too lazy to check my pigeonhole and my tour information had been waiting since 4pm the day before. I went out of the hotel, praying I hadn’t forgotten anything and was shocked to find that my transfer was none other than an Athenian Taxi. “Come, get in” the taxi driver said, “We are already late”. Oh no, I thought to myself, I’ve seen how these guys drive and I’m late. I gingerly got into the cab and then had the white-knuckle ride of my life down to the Piraeus port, where I promptly gave the driver his voucher and boarded my ship the Blue Star Ithaki. The ship was huge, it was taking on cars, trucks and thousands of people.
I wish I could say I enjoyed the trip, but I didn’t. I was tired as hell and there wasn’t even a seat for me. I managed to curl up in a ball on the floor for most of the six-hour trip, the ship was not a direct service, which again both surprised and confused me and it stopped at the islands of Syros and Tinos, both of which looked very much like Poros with their little white houses all clumped together with red rooves. When we got to the first stop, Syros, I asked one of the crew where we were and he said “On the sea” which if I had been in better mood would have found rather funny, he did tell me what was going on which I really appreciated, but there again the “On the Sea” comment up until that point had been the most sense I had gotten out of anyone all day.
When the ship finally arrived on Mykonos I was met by my transfer and taken to my hotel the Vienoulas Gardens, at least that part of the trip went smoothly, although I had to fight my way through a crowd of locals hawking their hotels to the tourists. The Vienoulas Gardens was beautiful. It was like all the other buildings on the island which were all completely square or made up of a series of square boxes, with their window frames and doors painted cobalt blue. It was built on a platform and had a lovely flat in ground swimming pool in the front area. As soon as I got there, I asked the guy behind the desk where you could get the boats to Delos. This had been my sole purpose in coming to this island, to visit the small uninhabited island that in ancient times had been thought to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. He said all I had to do was book a boat from the Jetty in town just 600 meters down the road.
I was then shown to my room, which had a nice bathroom and two of the skinniest single beds I had ever seen in the bedroom. I unpacked a little and then went down to the lobby to use the internet to let Mum and Dad know I had arrived safely.
Despite how exhausted I was from my horrific journey on the Blue Star Ithaki, I decided to go off exploring. This tour would not be like all the others. On the other tours I always had a group and a tour bus to cling to, on this one the only thing that was booked were the incoming transfers, transportation and hotel rooms. In other words, they dumped you on the island and said “go for it!” This was truly going to be a test of my metal, if I wanted to see the sights I would have to find them myself.
I walked down a steep hill towards the main town in Mykonos, called Hora. I couldn’t believe how different this place was not only from the other islands but from anything else I have ever experienced.
This place looked like it was crossed between Polpero a tiny fishing village in the south of England and Venice, with a nice beach thrown in and then stick all that on the moon and you might come close to what I thought Mykonos looked like.
The same rocky landscape as in the rest of Greece, protruding from the crystal blue green water could be seen, the mountains appeared to rise from the depths. The scattered houses around the town were all white and box like with elements of blue, just like my hotel. The churches have blue domes and sometimes were all white, the tiny streets in the town are paved and nameless making it very difficult to navigate. As I wandered around, I soon learned to keep an eye on the ocean as a point of reference. The town was so close to the ocean that in one particular place, you could walk over a precipice and have the waves wet you as you looked into the town’s interior. The streets themselves are made to be travelled on foot and apart from the odd motorbike or Vespa I could relax and not worry about getting run over, which was a lovely break from the rest of Greece where you take your life in your hands every time you cross the street and sometimes on the foot path.
I found the old jetty with relative ease and looked at the boats that went to Delos, the cost was €10.00, which I thought was pretty reasonable. I couldn’t believe how easy it had been to find this, but then again come hell or high water I was going to Delos.
Just up from the Jetty were the famous windmills of Mykonos and I realised as I got pleasurably lost over and over that what I had read in one of my favourite books Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden was very helpful. This was if you get lost, get to higher ground and you will be able to see the way. When I got up on a hill, I could see the ocean and the windmills which were very near to my hotel.
I walked around the towns little shops for a few hours losing myself again and again, it’s funny how getting lost isn’t that much of a problem if you’re not late or going anywhere. I walked up the slope, which was a hard climb back up and went back to my hotel, where I had a much-needed nap and then attempted to have a swim in the beautiful pool, but it was too cold and windy, so I settle for sun baking instead. I watched a little bit of TV in my hotel room before going to bed, I was going to attempt the trip to Delos the next day, as if I hadn’t had enough excitement.