Mykonos was not our first choice for a Greek island stop. It has the reputation for being an expensive party island, favored by gay people. We certainly don’t have a problem with either description, but didn’t want to be crashing anyone’s party with two children in tow. However, I ended up finding a $50 flight from Rome to Mykonos, which was less than flying to Athens and then ferrying or flying from there to another island. Although I was the only one of us who had been to Greece before, Mykonos was new to us all, and suddenly made the most sense. Months ago, I started to research places to stay on the island and was truly shocked at the inflated prices. I quickly realized that staying in Mykonos town was not a financial option and eventually settled on a cute hotel with a pool in Kourfos (near Ornos beach) for $150 a night (a deal by Mykonos standards with breakfast included). The place ended up being an ideal stop.
Our first day had the kids in salt water as soon as possible, donning their goggles and searching for fish and shells. By evening we were on a local bus into the port town to explore the narrow, windy and stone streets, fabled to be the hiding spot of pirates and those fleeing them. Each corner turn presented another photo opportunity, with windmills, small blue-domed orthodox churches, slinky cats, vibrant bougainvillea, azure seas, drying octopus, boats & sunsets, all backdropped by the whitest walls and bluest window and door trims. We strolled through quaint lanes of ticky-tacky tourist shops, Mom & Pop tavernas, and upscale boutiques, appreciating the charm unique to a Cycladic town.
Day two was our time to take advantage of a boat hopping tour of a string of Mykonos beaches. We cruised the Aegean, jaws dropping at the sheer quantity and luxury of all the high-end yachts moored in each cove. The tour took in five beautiful cerulean beaches, each lined with restaurants, bars, and scores of umbrellas with matching lounge chairs, but catering to slightly different crowds – some more family friendly, while others were pumping with club music, PDA, and bar-top dancing. Stella and Gabriel were always able to entertain themselves, as we settled in a carefully selected beach corner. They ate souvlaki, lentil soup, and potatoes enthusiastically. Dan and I marveled at the ruby ripe tomatoes bursting with flavor, and sampled dishes particular to Greece – Moussaka, dolmas, feta and olives.
There was definitely a feeling of hedonism to Mykonos, made all the more sultry with the heat and atypical humidity. Women in bikinis, men in speedos, skin slick with suntan oil and glimmering in the sun, rode bare on scooters and atv’s. People took pleasure in the water and sand, indulged in the fruits of the sea – calamari, octopus…and drank ouzo and greek beer served in ice-cold mugs, as the sun ran it’s daily course through the sky. We were smug and happy to join them.