Thursday, July 10, 2008

mykonos island

the second half of our trip to greece was spent on a truly paradisical island, mykonos. named after apollo's grandson, mykons, the island is located in the deep blue waters of the aegean sea and is said to be the place where hercules and poseidon defeated giants who were opposed to zeus. for hundreds of years it was targeted by pirates, which caused the inhabitants of the island to fill their main town with countless winding and narrow streets, purposefully built that way to confuse the pirates on their way to and from their ships.

after several hot and dusty days in athens, all four of us were REALLY looking forward to the cool waters on the island. we were fortunate to find an AMAZING hotel which was located only about 100 meters from the beach and had the most beautiful pool i've ever seen. the location was perfect because had we been directly on the beach, it would have been pretty noisy all the time, but it was still close enough to walk there -- it only took one minute! -- and we could come back to our quiet hotel when it was time for gracie's nap or if we had gotten enough sunshine. there were two convenience stores right next to our hotel, which we went to quite often for giant bottles of water (the water on the island is not good to drink), snacks, mythos beer, and batteries for our cameras.

we really went at a perfect time of year: the weather was gorgeous, but the crowds hadn't descended on the island yet. so we virtually had the place to ourselves! when we went down to the beach, which was one of the best on the island, there were ample beach umbrellas which you could rent for only 5 euros a person for the whole day. there were waiters who worked at the numerous restaurants that lined the beach, and they would bring us cold drinks (like a bucket of mythos beer) if we asked them to. we also went to the restaurants a few times to grab some takeaway lunch like stuffed grape leaves or greek salads.

and the coolest, most wonderful thing: our beach chairs were so close to the gentle waves, that the water would occasionally come up and reach our chairs! i mean, it was RIGHT THERE! click here to see a video i took right from my beach chair!

my favorite part of the beach was how much gracie liked the water! because we were at the sea, the waves of course come rolling in and out again. and for a baby, i think this would be quite surprising to have water there, and then no water, and then water again, and then no water. so when i put her feet in the sand, close enough for the waves to reach her, i was half-expecting her to pull her legs up to her chest (taking her feet out of the water) whenever the waves would come up and wash over her. but not gracie! she's so brave and adventurous! she just plants her feet firmly in the sand, puts her arms straight out to her sides, and rocks her body back and forth, dancing to the rhythm of the sea! it was so wonderful and funny to experience!

when swimming in the aegean, you hardly have to move in order to stay afloat. there must be more salt or something (it did taste saltier to me than other places i've been to, but i also grew up by the great lakes, so i don't know much about saltwater), because i didn't have to do anything to float! just lay on my back and let the waves carry me in to shore! it was the most relaxing and wonderful feeling, to be bobbing around on the surface of the sea, without any effort at all!

okay, so when we weren't getting sunkissed on the beach, we were reading and eating greek salads by the pool at our hotel. the pool had a bar with a bartender always there (i've seen poolside bars, but they never have anyone working there so what's the point?), and you could order water, beer, cocktails, and even a few dishes. i really think the best greek salads i had were from the hotel bar -- or maybe everything tastes better when you're eating it poolside. there was always this cool music playing, like mellow techno or something brazilian or a song you'd expect to hear on the garden state soundtrack if there was a b-side to it or something. very nice. and swanky pillows and nice beach chairs and this great shaded area with flowing white cloth that really gave the whole place an aura of hipness and relaxation. the breakfast (which was included in the uber-reasonable rates) was served by the pool, and we sat in the shade drinking coffee and eating greek yogurt with honey.

a picture of breakfast time at our hotel:

because our days were so full of fresh air and sunshine, gracie got tired pretty early in the evenings. so as i would get her ready for bed, washing the sunscreen and sand off of her in our luxurious jacuzzi tub (!), adam and elizabeth would go back down to the beach and order up a bunch of food: garlicky eggplant, stuffed grape leaves, baklava, souvlaki, moussaka, and of course adam's standby: plain pasta with olive oil. (it doesn't matter where in the world we are, adam always eats the same thing: aglio y olio pasta, pesto pasta, french onion soup, or pizza margarita. he's so predictable!)

we spent a lot of time by the pool, just reading and relaxing, and playing with gracie in the cool water. she loved it so much she would babble and sing with joy, as you can hear right here in this video. after she had had enough splashing, we would take off all her clothes and let her play on her little activity center toy that we brought from home. she loved to lay there in the shade, with the music playing, and mom and dad and elizabeth nearby talking and laughing. all the hotel employees would come by and tickle her toes to get her to smile.

we were all SOOOO SAD to leave mykonos after such a relaxing and rejuvenating time! but our skin couldn't possibly handle any more sunshine, and our wallets were empty anyway. we hope we can get back there again someday -- maybe next year when adam has a conference on corfu?...

1 comment:

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