Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mykonos -and Delos. 1972


Mykonos early morning.
We arrived at Mykonos about 4:30 am.The sun did not rise yet and it was a beautiful quite morning - the sea was navy blue.The ferry was  too big to enter the  harbor so a small boat was brought next to the ferry and we had to climb down into it .One woman slipped on the steps and slid right into the boat  below. Thinking back it was  all very dangerous .She could have fallen into the ocean and be crushed between the ferry and the smaller boat.

Everybody told us not to bother booking a hotel in Mykonos .The locals will wait on the harbor when you arrive, and offer rooms in their homes for a very reasonable price .
Unfortunately as we landed there were no locals offering their rooms-
We unloaded our  luggage at a seaside cafe that was closed that early in the morning.
Neil and Elsa set out to find us some place to stay, while I looked after our suitcases.
Where Skiathos was green and lush-Mykonos was dry and almost barren- very much like the Karoo.



There were people sleeping on the beach and on the sidewalks .
A guy- drugged out of his mind- fell off his chair and was passed out right there on the terrace of the deserted cafe. It was early 1970's during the Vietnam War and Mykonos was packed with young American guys that were hiding in Europe not to be drafted into the war .Their  girlfriends came along, so Mykonos was packed with hippies .They had little  money to spend and lived on the beaches -further out of town - in make shift shelters and ran around naked.The motto was make love not war. Drugs were part of the scene.

After about an hour Neil and Elsa came back with a little Greek man in tow. He stopped them, and in Greek offered them a room  in his house. They went to look at it  and a price was agreed on.
He had a little cart with him for our luggage and we started of to his house -up the hill near the windmills.We pushed and he pulled.

His family moved all their furniture into two rooms- where they lived- and rented out the rest of their house.. Even the flat  roof were rented to some students that slept up there in their sleeping bags.
When there was a cruise ship in the harbor- the town cut of the water supply and it was connected to the ship. One got use to it after a while, but it was very annoying.
We had the kitchen of the house and it had three single beds in as well as a washbasin.
We even  had an outside door. That helped at night when we could leave if open and let in a cool breeze.

During the day the beach was the place to be.
 The best beaches were a bus ride away. This was quite an ordeal as the bus was used by the locals to come to the town, and go back home. We shared the bus with local peasants and farm animals .
The odor in the heat was sometime a little to much to bear.

Paradise and Super Paradise were the most popular beaches.
Paradise Beach was more of a family beach but Super Paradise was a nude beach.
Here hippies lived on the beach and built some dwellings between the rocks. It looked like a scene from the stone age- with all these naked people sitting around a fire -cooking their meals and  little kids running around.

Super Paradise Beach

At night the town came alive and it lasted right through the night.
Lots of great restaurants and night clubs.
In the 70's it was not as packed as it is these day, but it was a big party town- even then.

Mykonos at Night

It almost became too much .
We all preferred Skiathos to this wild party place.
It was also rather expensive.

When you moved away from the night clubs and the nude beaches Mykonos was a charming little town filled with locals that tried to get on with their lives and ignoring all these weird tourists.
During the winter they would knit sweaters  and paint the streets white  to be ready when the tourists came back for  the summer. As tourism was also their main source of income ,they waited patiently for the summer to be over, so that  they could take back their little town.  

The lucky charm of Mykonos are their pelicans ,and there a few of them around.
They would walk between all the people and not be disturbed by the noise at all.
Jackie Kennedy and the pelican on Mykonos.

One day we  watched a Greek wedding through the window of one of the local churches.
It was so sweet and from another era. The church was packed with family and friends wishing them well- while kids were running in and out- on their special day.


The island of Delos is isolated in the center of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades  near Mykonos .We took a day trip there.It is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece .Delos had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology  made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis . Apollo was the God of the Sun- and  the son of Zeus.
His twin sister Artemis was the Goddess of the Hunt.

Apollo- God of the Sun

Artemis- Goddess of the Hunt

There are only 14 people living on Delos today and nobody is allowed to die on this Island-so we were told. If they get sick they are taken away to die somewhere else.
 The island was covered with red poppies- A beautiful site.

Giant phallus on Delos .

Delos from the sea.

After a while we had enough of Mykonos. We realized  that we saved so much money -that we could still afford to go to Istanbul.We booked a flight to Athens on a plane that looked like a Volkswagen Combi with wings .Today I will never set foot in a aircraft like that.....but we got to Athens safely, and flew on to Istanbul.

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