Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The beaches of Mykonos...

After enjoying a traditional Greek breakfast at the hotel, I decided to rent a car to explore the rest of the island of Mykonos.  I signed a simple contract, got a quick lesson in driving a Smart car, and was told to return by 5:30 so that they could drive me to the airport.   The roads aren't really numbered as they are in the states but are designated more by where they are going.   At their suggestion, I first headed for the inland town of Ano Mera to see a small-town example of an Eastern Orthodox monastery.  Very beautiful and ornate with lots of gold and silver inlaid pictures of iconic saints, the Virgin Mary and Jesus.   The drive from Mykonos Town up to Ano Mera gives you a chance to experience the very dry and rocky interior of the island.   There are SO many rocks around here that the locals have, over the centuries, piled them up to form long, winding walls that really serve no purpose other than just getting the rocks off the earth to make space to build their houses and to allow for goats and sheep to graze.   I understand that there is a law here that forbids your house to be painted any color other than stark white.   Most of the time, the shutters and doors on the buildings are painted blue or, occasionally, a soft grey or green.   The houses are all pretty much the same....rectangular and box-shape and often have rounded corners.   Very little vegetation on this island and everything, at least for right now, is pretty brown and dry.    After seeing the monastery, I found my way over to some of the local beaches:  Kalafatis, Agrari, and the well-known nude beach at Paradise Beach at Paranga.   It's free to swim here in the crystal clear waters of the Agean, but you'll have to pay a few Euros if you want to rent a recliner and sit under a palapa.   About half of the folks on the beach were totally nude, and their ages ranged from toddlers up to old guys well into their 80's.   Everyone was relaxing and enjoying the bright October sun and the calm waters.  I bought a towel, stripped down and had a great swim.   I wasn't about to visit Greece without enjoying the super-clear waters of the Agean.   It's almost like swimming in a huge aquarium, and you can easily see fish 30-40 feet below you.  Very very nice, indeed.   After I dried off, I drove over to the town of Ornos and had dinner at the Ithaki Restaurant on the beach: grilled calamari, eggplant and wine.  I got back to the car rental place in time and, as promised, they drove me to the airport for my 35-minute flight back to Athens.  Tomorrow, I'll be kicking back before heading out again on Friday for a one-day tour of three of the local islands that are relatively close to Athens.  More later....

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