Tag: Greece

Mykonos: Magical Alleyways, Aegean Views And 50 Shades Of Blue

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The cutest island local!

One of the best places that I got to see in 2016 was the magical little island of Mykonos in Greece. After staying at an AirBnb mansion in the neighbouring island of Santorini with my high school friends, we thought things couldn’t get any better in Mykonos, but they did. (They really, really did!)

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Mykonos Harbour

Mykonos island was a short ferry ride away from Santorini (about 2 hours) and it all passed by in a blink of an eye, literally. I’d been getting motion sickness really easily recently from cars or boats (I still don’t know why) and we’d been hearing that it could be a bumpy ferry trip if we had choppy seas, so I wasn’t going to take any chances.

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German Shepherd by the water

My friend gave us all anti-nausea tablets to take an hour before boarding time – with the only side effect being that it would make us sleepy…really, really sleepy. I was already nodding off in the shuttle bus on the way to Santorini’s port and by the time we got on the ferry and sat down, I was totally gone.

Little did I know that not only were the others also fast asleep beside me, but one friend (the only one awake) took a hilarious selfie of herself with us all lined up in the background deep in the unflattering stages of slumber. (It was probably the best group photo of the trip!)

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Mykonos windmills and coastline view from our AirBnb

Once we arrived in Mykonos harbour, the sight was everything that we had been expecting from Santorini, but had never gotten, until now. The white washed geometric houses surrounding the clear blue Aegean waters and yachts bobbing along the wharf – this was what we had been waiting for!

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Our amazing AirBnb residence

The shuttle that had been waiting for us at the port took us straight to our AirBnb residence. We were trying to keep our expectations low as we thought we had already struck gold with our awesome house in Santorini, but boy, we should have known Mykonos would do it even better with that first impression at the harbour.

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Our balcony with an Aegean view

The two storey house was mere minutes away from all of the main island action and we could even see the coastline and Greek windmills from our upstairs window. But the best bit by far was our roomy balcony facing the sea, with a huge wooden table and comfy seats that we spent many a night lounging around in – the perfect summer spot!

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Typical Mykonos residence

After settling into the house, we decided to wander the neighbouring streets and get our bearings of the place – but our bearings were nowhere to be found as we were thrown straight into a labyrinth of winding streets and narrow alleyways that all looked exactly like the last.

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Restaurant Katrin

White washed houses, flagstone paths, doors and stairways in fifty shades of blue and turquoise – this was the signature look of Mykonos and we all fell in love with it.

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Eleanna’s

Around every corner were boutiques, restaurants and cute little cafés and every time we went out, we would find another street that we hadn’t explored before.

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Restaurant Familia – one of our favourites

We were in Mykonos around the middle of October and it was lucky that we hadn’t booked our trip any later because the locals kept telling us that we were there for the last few days of the season. If we had arrived any later, all of the shops and restaurants of the island would have been boarded up and closed.

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Mea Culpa

But thanks to the fact that we were there for the last few days of the season, there weren’t many other tourists around and we felt like we had the run of the island to ourselves. I think I would have hated it in peak summer season with all of those tiny alleyways crowded with people, so I was glad that we arrived when we did!

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Island locals

We went out for brunch and dinner at different places everyday with (a lot) of shopping in between and we all spent far too much money there, (more than we would care to admit) but it was totally worth it!

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Residence number 10

Mykonos was also an island of cats – we saw them everywhere and far more often than in Santorini. There were even cats in the tiny island airport that we used to fly to Athens a few days later!

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Another cute local

One night we ventured to Little Venice, which was a strip of bars and clubs right by the waterfront. Mykonos is well known as an LGBTQ hot spot in terms of bars and nightlife, but the bars were also winding down for the end of season so they were pretty quiet.

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Waterfront restaurants

They were so quiet that we got persuaded to come inside the bar that we were at (we were sitting outside) so we could get half price drinks and make it look like there were more people in the bar and thus more lively. (Their grand plan didn’t work though, it was still totally dead inside…plus the drinks tasted awful!).

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Salt & Pepper

On our last full day, we were eager to check out one of the island’s famous beaches, so we walked to Fabrica to catch a shuttle bus to Super Paradise Beach, which was what the locals told us was one of the best. And the name didn’t disappoint! (Post coming soon).

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My Mykonos souvenirs – Aegean blue rose gold bracelet and Mykonos eye bracelet

While we were in Mykonos, I became so obsessed with the Aegean blue colour that was on so many doors and window frames that I kept looking for a jewellery piece that had the same colour, but to no avail. It was only on the plane to Athens that I spotted this beautiful bracelet in the Aegean in-flight magazine that was so perfect that I had to have it!

(It was probably the first and last time that I would ever buy something from the plane magazine…)

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Windmill sunset

Our amazing time in Mykonos went far too quickly of course, but we enjoyed every minute of it. We loved the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful little winding streets, and it was so relaxing that I even quit my awfully stressful job via text while I was over there, but that’s a whole other story!

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Stunning views from our AirBnb

 


So, did you love the Mykonos lifestyle as much as we did?

Have you been there or would you like to go there?


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Santorini: Blue Domes, Beach Cats And The Famous Oia Sunset

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Fira town (St. John the Baptist Cathedral in the background)

I went to Greece to reunite with my high school friends and what an epic reunion it was! Our first stop in the Greek Islands was Santorini, and we were blessed with blue skies and beautiful weather for the duration of our short stay.

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The classic blue domed churches of Greece

My friends from high school in New Zealand were all doing their individual trips around Europe for different lengths of time and we all managed to plan ahead and meet up in Santorini on the same day. We stayed in an awesome AirBnb house (more like mansion!) in Fira, which was the main town located more or less in the centre of the island.

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Barren landscape of parts of the island

On the taxi drive from the tiny one-room airport to Fira town, I was surprised at how barren and deserted some parts of the island were. With sporadically placed houses and not much green vegetation in sight, it was a far cry from the endless online photos of sprawling white stone towns. But in reality this was to be expected, as Santorini itself is an old volcano and volcanic rock and soil is not the best foundation for plants to grow – it was a landscape that reminded me a lot of Rangitoto Island in New Zealand.

The price tag for the 15 minute drive from the airport to Fira was also a surprise at 28 Euros, since my friends told me that theirs was 20!

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Cocktail smoothies at Koloumpos Beach

Although it was technically autumn in northern parts of Europe, we would have called the balmy island temperatures there positively summery. The locals told us it was too windy to hit the beaches, but we were determined to go sunbathing, so our taxi driver dropped us off at Koloumpos Beach.

It wasn’t the prettiest beach of the island with its stony sand, but we were perfectly happy to chill there for a few hours waiting until it was near sunset.

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Beach Kitty

Another sight we weren’t expecting to see were the number of stray dogs and cats, with kittens even roaming around on the beach. They all looked quite healthy though, not skinny and mangy with matted fur like you might expect. I hoped that somebody was feeding them regularly.

After the beach we were stranded on the side of the road for a while, waiting for a bus that our taxi driver had insisted would come every half hour – but we soon found out that he was talking about peak season, not this time of the year where there were only one or two buses daily.

We subsequently tried to wave down cars or tour buses that passed by, but to no avail. We were losing hope until a friendly Frenchman pulled over and offered us a ride, exclaiming: “Don’t worry, I’m gay!”, as we all gratefully piled into his car.

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Doorways of Oia

The lovely Frenchman dropped us off at Oia, which is the picture perfect town you see in almost all Santorini photos on the internet. With white washed houses, winding alleys full of boutiques and the gorgeous view onto the Aegean sea, this was what we had come for.

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Classic Santorini view

This was also the town where all of the island tourists flocked to. The narrow streets were bustling with people shopping, taking photos and heading towards the tip of the island like we were.

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Church bells over the Aegean

Since we were there after peak season, we had gotten used to not seeing other tourists around as much, but being in Oia was like getting a taste of what it must be like in midsummer.

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Pretty shop fronts of Oia

 The Santorini towns were built on points high above the sea, like Oia which was built more than 100 metres above sea level. A lot of the houses were built into the sheer cliff face, with the magnificent view of the Aegean and caldera spreading out below them.

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Waiting for the sun to set…

Around 6.30pm we headed towards the very tip of Oia along with every other tourist on the island to witness the famous sunset. Tourists were crowding along the streets, rooftops and rocks to secure a good view, with some even in boats on the water below.

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Along with every other tourist on the island!

At 6.45 the blazing golden sun dipped slowly below the horizon, and in a matter of minutes it was gone but the moments leading up to it were pure magic. I can’t remember the last time I watched a sunset, let alone a sunset as spectacular as that!

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The golden sunset of Oia

In our quest to find authentic Santorini souvenirs (not just the tacky ones mass produced and sold in every island shop) we hit up a lot of the local places looking for something unique. We eventually stumbled upon a gem of a shop at the very point where we went to watch the sunset.

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Beautiful Oia hotel

This shop was full of hand made jewellery, paintings and these stunning turquoise and blue bowls. We all fell in love with these bowls and bought a few each, with one of my friends even caving in to buy a magnificent plate on the wall of the same design.

The shop owner told us that her grandfather made these by hand on the island, and no bowl or plate of his had the same design. It was a perfect Santorini souvenir!

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Hand made bowls from Oia

The next morning it was time for us to leave on the ferry to our next island adventure, but we all agreed that we would have liked to have spent more time here, or in Oia at least.

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Super fruit bowl at Pelican

One of our favourite places to eat in Santorini was a place called Pelican, which served huge fluffy breakfast waffles and amazing fruit bowls drizzled in island honey. The tables outside were under grape vines and the atmosphere was just lovely – we ended up going there more than once!

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Our AirBnb porch

So our time in Santorini and our first taste of Greek island life was coming to an end, but we were also looking forward to the next one and what we would find there. We were going to miss our AirBnb mansion, but little did we know that the best was yet to come…

 


So, did you like the look of Santorini? Would you go there?

Click the button below for our next Greek Island hopping adventure in Mykonos!


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