Thursday, 2 July 2015

Thomson Majesty at Mykonos

Sunday 14 June 2015. Today is the first of our ports of call. We are anchoring off Mykonos Town on the isle of Mykonos. Called Chora by the locals, its harbour is too small for Thomson Majesty so to David's delight we will be tendered in by small boat.

We had arranged to meet David and Jeannie up on Deck 10 bright and early to watch the ship's approach. We set our alarm for 6:30am, groaned at the thought and went to sleep without turning it on...

When we woke up around a quarter past seven, the ship was already swinging at its anchor. We dragged ourselves into the shower, grabbed clothes and went up on deck. This was our first view of Mykonos. It's our second visit here and we are looking forward to the day.

We spy David and Jeannie waving at us from Deck 11 and climb up to meet them, by which time David has already taken (I kid you not) 76 photographs including the one of us walking along the deck towards him... Any untoward comments and I might have to publish them all here. That'll teach you...

We decide to have breakfast in one of the two self-serve restaurants on Deck 10. Piazza San Marco is at the back and the Cafe Royale is forward, both sharing the same menu. I opt for a couple of boiled eggs and a croissant to go with them. Coffee from the machines in ships' restaurants tends to be strong, working on the basis that you can add hot water to taste but can't add coffee to make it stronger. We like our coffee weak so a splash of coffee, topped up with hot water and then a good splosh of milk makes it just how we like.

Then we go down to the gangway which leads, not to the dock but to a small motor boat, bobbing up and down a little at the ship's side. This was a local boat - presumably a requirement of the harbour to guarantee work for the locals. Given what is happening over there at the moment I don't begrudge anything this might have cost us. We were shown nothing but kindness and a welcome by the locals throughout the week and the food we had in Greek Restaurants was mmm... but we'll come to that!

The boat dropped us off at the harbour wall and we set off to explore the town. Miss Franny and I found ourselves a little in front of the others as the Clicky-Monster was again living up to his name and anything that moved, spoke, barked, splashed or simply stayed put because it was inert, was photographed for posterity. Nothing could stop him. Not even that little van charging up behind him. It had to wait until he'd taken his photo before he noticed it half an inch behind him with the driver hunched incredulously over the wheel. Then he gave a sort of little nonchalant wave and sauntered slowly out of the way. First potential injury of the week avoided...

Turning up away from the sea, we come to the narrow streets of this part of Mykonos. Everywhere are whitewashed buildings with woodwork painted mainly in the blue of the Greek flag, but with an occasional turquoise or maroon. The streets are so narrow pavements are impractical. In the streets wide enough for a car you simply move to one side into a doorway or round a corner until it has passed.

Miss Jeannie admires a gorgeous Bougainvillea tree that helps support the balcony of the house it grows against.

The path we are following brings us back to the shoreline and emerge out into the narrow walkway along the sea wall that is lined with tables and chairs of the small cafes. This area is known as Little Venice because of the way the houses overhang the water. It is a beautiful part of Mykonos and not to be missed.

From the same spot, having turned to face the other way, we can see that we are heading for the famous row of six windmills that appear on many postcards of Mykonos.

To get to them we must climb the hill by the side of Zorbas Bar - now there's a name guaranteed to conjure up a tune, a row of dancers side by side and perhaps for people of a certain age, the face of Anthony Quinn. In reality though he was Mexican born rather than Greek. We'll come back to look at Zorbas Bar (I'm not sure whether there should be an apostrophe or not - I guess so but we'll go with how it's presented on the bar itself!)

Here we are looking back down the hill past the bar (on the left of the white van) and towards Little Venice.

We were climbing the hill for a closer look at the windmills. They are stone-built with white stucco, lower than our old English windmills and they have a different sail format. Instead of the heavy wooden sails we are used to they held up to twelve sails of triangular canvas.

We can sneak a look at some local souvenirs to get an idea of how they would have looked when working. Hard to do a model with 12 sails so most of the souvenirs have eight instead!

Just look at that! The colours of the Greek flag are used all through the town. The blue and white go so well together and without the heavy industry that would soon turn the white to grey, the island looks clean and sparkling and fresh.

We are all enjoying ourselves, just wandering about the streets, looking at the shops and colours. But it's hot work!

We might have to make our way back to Zorbas Bar and sit down for something cool and refreshing!

In fact, it's a lovely place with a great view of Little Venice. The sketchpad might have to come out!

We ordered some drinks from Dimitra who came over every now and then to look at the drawing I was working on. I asked her if she had an email address and she said yes, so once we got home I was able to send her a copy of this sketch and another that I did of the bar itself.

Hellenic Classics Index

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