June 30, 2009

Last day in Mykonos

After breakfast, we ventured to the beach by taking a bus from the Fabrika bus station to Platis Yialos which was recommended as a family-friendly beach i.e. no nudity.

We did still see some topless sunbathers, but the novelty wore off after a while. I dipped my feet in the water and decided against swimming for it was too cold, despite the sun shining above us.

Nick found it cold too and a tad dirty so both of us ended up sitting under the wooden umbrellas just reading and people-watching.

Gave up after a while and headed back to town for lunch at Nikos Taverna or Nick's Tavern. That's the thing about Greece, Nicholas and its variations are a common name here and there are so many establishments named after Nickypoo! I had grilled shrimp and he had a fried chicken cutlet.

We got distracted by a group of loud, camera-toting amateur Chinese photographers who looked so out of place in their khakis and flap hats next to the jet-setting crowd in Mykonos. No doubt they were there on a photography expedition but hovered outside the restaurant on the pretext of looking at a map, before one by one started sneaking into the restaurant to use the loos.

When we got back to the hotel, we found the pool deserted and decided not to waste a perfectly empty pool. Swam for a bit before napping, then headed back to Chora for dinner.

Opted to eat at Camares again and shared a pasta, calamari and tzatziki. I had been lamenting to Nick that I regretted not being able to catch one of the roaming pelicans that Mykonos was noted for. But lo and behold, hours later while we were at Camares, we saw a crowd gather outside the restaurant.

A pelican had made an appearance, her name was Georgia and she was a beauty. Apparently, she hangs at Camares every evening so we were at the right place at the right time. That completed my trip!

But it wasn't completely over. Went next door to a cafe to use their wi-fi and had another moment of panic when we saw a huge ferry (the size of a cruise ship!) look as if it was coming in our direction at high speed.

We thought there was something wrong with it as it did not appear to be slowing down despite being so near to the shallow water and rocks. It made a screeching noise as it glided over some rocks and did a sharp 3-point turn - for a big boat, it was a pretty speedy u-turn.

Visions of Speed 2 the movie crossed my mind - not that I've seen it but the thought of a runaway boat sent shivers down my spine. Luckily everything worked out fine, maybe the captain was drunk? I can't imagine a large ship speeding like that when it was trying to berth!

June 29, 2009

Melting in Mykonos

Breakfast at Apanema was alacarte buffet style, we could have anything we wanted whenever we wanted it, including champagne but this morning I opted for a pancake and fruit.

We had an early start for we had planned an excursion to Delos, a World Heritage Site that according to mythology, was the birth-place of Apollo and Artemis. The first signs of habitation on the island date from the 3rd millenium B.C. and important remains of the Mycenaean period have been uncovered in the area.

Instead of taking a guided tour at 39 euros each, we bought our own ferry tickets for 15 euros each and paid the 5 euro admission and explored via the maps provided. Nick was impressed with the historical importance of the place, and as we made our way along the marked paths, it was amazing to imagine what the place would have looked like thousands of years ago.

There is a small museum on the island, at which we sought some much needed respite from the heat, before continuing our walkabout. What I didn't like about the place though were the numerous wild lizards scuttling about, they blended into the dried grass and I kept one eye on the ground to avoid stepping on any. Plus it was sooooo hot to be outdoors under the scorching sun, I am already several shades darker!

Back on the mainland, we got to see the original room we were booked for, and no question, it was much much nicer so we proceeded to change. Thank goodness it was just next door. Had a lunch of instant noodles which I had brought along, knowing Nick would be sick of angmoh food at some point. He was immensely grateful!

Lounged by the pool for a bit, he had coffee and I tried unsuccessfully to connect to the hotel's wireless network. Gave up and we headed to the town Chora for dinner at Little Venice. Bumped into the Lebanese couple we met on the ferry and exchanged pleasantries before settling on a little restaurant called Katerina's.

Nick had pasta with scampi and shrimp while I had moussaka, which is a baked dish with layers of cheese, bechamel sauce, potatoes, aubergine and minced beef. Yum! We shared a cake and then headed to the beach to catch the last bits of the setting sun.

Walked around Chora thereafter, there are lots of pretty shops but wasn't in the mood to buy anything, saving all my shopping for Athens! Mykonos is known as a gay sanctuary though, so I had to walk a little closer to Nick to 'protect' him from all the men, ha ha. I lost count of the number of couples we saw!

June 28, 2009

To Mykonos we go!

As we checked out of the hotel in the morning, a couple at the reception were asking about the earthquake and so we had a little discussion. The owner of Galini said they didn’t happen often, but they happened. The rumbling sound we heard was of loosened rocks sliding down the cliffs. The quake made it to local news, I think it measured something like 3.2 or 3.6 on the Richter scale but Santorini was the epicenter – from what I gathered from Greek TV.

In no time, we were on our way to the port to catch the ferry for Mykonos. We went via minibus, which cost 15 euros for 2 and travelled down a long and winding steep road. The ferry was a tad late but once we were on board our business class seats (nothing great!), we started chatting with a Lebanese couple sitting opposite us. They were very nice, happened to be on their honeymoon. We talked all the way and only at the end, Nick exchanged namecards with the guy, the whole 3 hours we didn’t know their names!

The boat made stops at Ios and Paros before finally arriving in Mykonos. We were met by Marcelino from Apanema Resort, who was supposed to bring us to Harmony Hotel for our temporary 1 night stay. We could see Harmony from the port but at the last minute, Marcelino said he had a room available so we drove less than a minute from the port to Apanema.

A porter had to drive a car up a steep slope to transfer our bags, the place has a lot of steps and some parts are not connected. Marcelino said our original room would only be ready the next day, and we could change if we did not like the room assigned. We didn’t. Like the room I mean. It was nothing like the pictures I viewed from the site, granted they mentioned all rooms were different but still…

Anyways, we decided to wait and see the other room the next day. After dumping our bags, we walked to the town of Hora and settled on a place called Camares for a late lunch. I ordered a club sandwich and was told it was huge. Nick cancelled his meal and decided to share with me, but somehow the waiter didn’t hear his cancellation so we ended up stuffing our faces with numerous sandwiches.

But the place was really nice, and also prices were reasonable so we will probably eat there again. Walked around the rambling streets of Chora, I swear it’s like walking a maze, so many twists and turns with quaint restaurants and shops along the way.

Walked up to see the famed windmills and also the small stretch of restaurants in Little Venice. After seeing them in so many pictures, it was nice to see the real thing.

Found a store called Carouzos that carries designer brands. Went to kaypoh and look at the prices of some Prada bags. After conversion from euros, I think I can save 150-200 SGD per bag. Can’t wait to hit Athens!

We decided to have a quiet evening in the hotel, Nick was still full from lunch so I had a grilled prawn dish that came with basmati rice and grilled vegetables. It was nice and tasty, though the rice a little hard. The hotel served us a welcome drink at the same time, a small bottle of sparkling moscato – it was yummy and I could have drunk it all night. Sweet sparkling wine is addictive!

On top of the wine, we had a platter of welcome fruits and shots of limoncello. I must say service here is excellent, the waitress at the cafĂ© is really friendly and helpful. The hotel’s resident cat made its appearance midway, looking for scraps. When I didn’t offer any, he jumped on my lap!