Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Big Fat Greek Odyssey: Delos

If you're going to Mykonos, you should also visit Delos. And that's exactly what I had planned on doing. Delos is a most sacred island in the ancient world. It is considered the birth place of the god Apollo. When I was a young child, I used to luv reading Greek mythology. I was fascinated by the myths and the gods and their epic tales. I was also intrigued (and disgusted at times) with their actions. They almost made my psychotic, self destructive family seem normal by comparison. And now that I had the chance to see Greece, you better believe that I was going to see Delos. The truth is, I still couldn't believe that I was actually here, walking among the lands where gods and heroes once roamed and had their legendary adventures.

I wasn't exactly sure where Delos was, except it was just next to Mykonos, a short ferry ride away. And every time I looked out across the bay from the hotel window, I wondered if that island on the horizon was Delos. There was just something about it that drew my attention. And you know what? I was right! It was Delos!

To get to Delos, you have to catch one of the ferries. Now, the ferry schedule comes out in the summer, but since it was May, not quite summer yet, the schedules weren't set. We kept missing the ferries because they were running on a different schedule. Finally, I asked one of the tour companies what time the ferry left. Once I found out the time, we woke up early the next morning to catch the bus into Mykonos Town.

Greece Travel Tip #10

To get to Delos, you take the ferry from the harbor. There is a booth marked ferry to Delos, with the prices and schedules. The schedules aren't really followed until summer, so if you go in Spring, just ask one of the many tour agencies in Mykonos Town what time the ferries leave. You don't have to buy your ticket from them. Just find out the time and plan accordingly. Buy your ticket from the booth, because it's cheaper, and you won't be confined to a tour group. The admission price into Delos is small, and it's the same price you still have to pay if you come in on a tour group.

Tour groups are limited in the time they have to explore the island, and the tour moves very slowly. There are information signs all over Delos. And if you're on your own, you are free to explore on your own and see much more of the island.

It is a good idea to catch the early bus into town. That way, you can eat breakfast and explore Mykonos Town before the ferry leaves. Mykonos Town is actually kind of quiet before nine; the only places opened are the cafes and mini markets.

Greece Travel Tip #11

Buy your water and snacks from the mini market. They are a lot less expensive and there is a lot of variety. The alcohol is also very inexpensive in the mini markets, so stock up instead of raiding the hotel minibar.

(Click on the pics for a bigger view)
The harbor actually looks beautiful. From the Delos ferry booth, you can see one of the many churches in Mykonos --white walls and a blue roof with a cross. Those churches were everywhere! Between the shops, next to clubs, on the hills, by the sea--Mykonos boasts 365 churches, and they're all pretty interesting to see. The ones near clubs are surprisingly very quiet and seem so reverent with the iconography and the lit candles at night. It might seem weird to find such spiritual, serene places next to loud, party clubs and tourist shops, but somehow, they feel right in Mykonos.

I spent some time exploring Mykonos town. I had to fight off a wall shark!

Take that, Jaws!

Thank goodness I survived. And when I was done beating that shark, I took a break to admire the local architecture. I liked the white building and the colorful doors and rails.

After exploring Mykonos Town some more, it was time to catch the ferry and head on out to Delos.

Greece Travel Tip #12

If you don't want to get wet or unsure if you're prone to seasickness, try sitting on the very top deck of the ferry. The deck is high up, away from any waves splashing the boat and the open air might reduce anxiety.

It was exciting as the island of Delos got closer. The rock formations were interesting.

But it was the ruins that really excited me! Many temples of all faiths were welcomed and built here on the sacred island.

See that hill behind me? It's Mount Kythnos, the highest point on the island, where Zeus observed the birth of Apollo. And you better believe that I was going to climb that mountain!

But first, I paid a visit to the Temple of Isis.

And then, with the Rocky theme song in my head, I was ready to tackle those steps.

It's the eye of tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival

It was fantastic climb. And when I got to the top, the views were amazing.

That's Mykonos across the sea! My hotel is there somewhere!

I took some time to take in the view and think about where I was, pondering where I was in life and how I had gotten here.

Since I was on a sacred island, I thought I ought to do something important. Earlier this year, I lost my mother. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life, but I also felt a sense of relief, knowing that she was no longer suffering. So I put together some rocks and built a small memorial in her honor. Gone but not forgotten, always luved.

I thought I should enjoy some sun for a bit. But I should've put on some sunscreen. I got sunburned on my arms and legs by the end of the day.

Greece Travel Tip #13

Wear sunscreen! The weather may be mild, but you'll still get burned, even on cool, cloudy days.

You could spend hours and hours exploring and enjoying the many trails full of fascinating ruins that run across the island. I decided it was time to have fun and investigate more of Delos.

They had a museum on the island that housed some great archaeological treasures found on Delos. I like museums, so of course, I had to check it out.

These are the remains of the great Naxian Lions that once stood guard over the northern end of the island. They were built around 600 B.C. by the people of Naxos to show off their power and to honor Apollo. One of the lions was taken to Venice by merchants in the 17th century.

The real Naxian lions were brought into the museum to protect them from weather damange. The replicas of the lions now guard the terrace.

Inspired by the museum's many fantastic statues, I thought it'd be fun to replicate some poses outdoors as I explored the island.

Of course, all that posing made me hot and sweaty. I needed to cool off.

And what better way to cool off than a visit to the House of Dionysus, god of wine and ecstasy.

Delos was a wonderful experience. There really is something magical about the island. It felt like another world. And when we were done discovering the splendor of Delos, we caught the second to the last ferry to Mykonos.

The rest of the day was spent on the beach. There are many beautiful beaches on Mykonos. One of the really great ones was just a 20 minute walk from the hotel. Located in a secret cove, the beach at Agios Ioannis was secluded and breathtaking.

It didn't have the big clubs and music or even the changing facilities or wash closets the bigger, more famous beaches had. But it was exciting and fun and clean and wonderful.

I wondered what this dude was doing, just staring at the bottom instead of out at the waters.

Then I saw what he was looking at. Nekkid people! That perv was staring at nekkid people. This really was Europe!

That's right! There were nekkid people on the beach, quite a few of them, actually. But this was Greece. And besides, one of the joys of vacationing in a foreign land is immersing oneself in the local customs. So I headed on down there to enjoy the beach, the sun, the waters, and the joys of a holiday in Greece.


  1. y'all are insane, sugar! i like that about you! ;~D xoxoxo

    (seriously, the tribute you built in your mama's honor was lovely!)

  2. At least they weren't ugly old Infomania nekkid people... like I saw on the pebble dashed shores at Beachy Head...
    P.S Can I be your bitch and rub in your suncream?

  3. That's quite the tan you're sporting there, Eros! Where's some ice cream when you need it??? :-P

    Looks like you had a great vacation! Thanks for sharing it with us and for having your companion take so many fabulous photos! ;-)


  5. Savannah, Thanks. I like making silly fun pictures to balance out the serious, regular ones. It makes the whole vacation more fun.

    I'm glad that I built that small memorial to my Mom. Just my way of remembering her.

    Scarlet B, I was surprised at how laid back Europeans were with the nudity--almost everyone was doing it, old, young, hot, not so hot. How liberating! That was quite the experience.

    It's always nice to get a helping hand when putting on sunscreen, esp for those hard to reach places.

    Ponita, Thanks! I did get sunburned on my arms and legs that day from not using sunscreen--live and learn.

    But it was worth it for the the funny pictures alone. My travel bud and I enjoyed taking lots of pictures--fun ones and silly ones and nice ones.

    MJ, I was hot and needed to cool down...Had that been the beach, I might've taken off my pants.

  6. I love that ship in the distance in the first photo!

    And eek! Nekkid people! Outrageous. :D

  7. Mr Swings
    I have been reading your fabulous entries and retracing your odyssey..what a beautiful place! So much history and character..and how would one ever tire of that scenery? Ever?

    Sorry that I've been away. The photos and commentary is delicious. My oldest daughter was there last year and she too was overwhelmed by the "vibe".

  8. Tara, Thanks! I woke up early that morning and went out the balcony when I saw that ship. I took a picture of it, trying to capture that beautiful moment.

    The nekkid people was just a fun bonus, spur of the moment pic ;) I tried to make sure they remained anonymous and I wanted the pic to look like a work of art!

    Donn, Thank you. It was the longest and one of the most enjoyable travels I've ever had. I was glad that I did it and did as much as I could.

    Greece is an amazing country, and the Greeks are such friendly, wonderful hosts. I couldn't believe that I was actually there, after reading about Greece in history and literature books. I would definitely go back to see and experience more! I totally understand what your daughter means by that great Greek vibe.

  9. Had that been the beach, I might've taken off my pants.

    Don’t let ME stop you!

  10. MJ, I'm not wearing any pants right now!

    *Gets ready for a nice cool shower*

  11. Hello!
    i m doing a project on greece now and your blog helped a lot :)

  12. chickenandduck, You're welcome and I'm glad I could help you. Greece is a great place to visit!