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THE JOYS OF MYKONOS AND DELOS

 

Dan is loving the sleigh ride to Mykonos

Dan is loving the sleigh ride to Mykonos

After an exhilarating sail from Ermoupolis on the island of Syros to Mykonos in 25 kt. winds on the beam, we arrived in the Mykonos Marina just ahead of a charter boat flotilla that pretty much filled the already full harbor to over flowing. 

Mykonos Marina is packed

Mykonos Marina is packed

Boats were rafted so deep into the harbor, that we joked with our friends on Glass Slipper that they could walk boat to boat to come for cocktails.  When a Celebrity cruise ship arrived with a couple thousand people on board, the marina and town were jumping. 

As in every port ferries are everywhere, and here there are cruise ships too!

As in every port ferries are everywhere, and here there are cruise ships too!

No visit to Mykonos would be complete without seeing the ancient ruins on the island of Delos about a 30 minute boat ride from the Old Town of Mykonos.  We had visited Delos for the first time while in Greece for Kent’s 60th birthday and were looking forward to returning.  Like the Acropolis, we are fascinated with the remnants of this ancient civilization.  One can’t help but wonder what, if anything, will remain of our civilization thousands of years from now to warrant such awe. 

Delos is Magical

Delos is Magical

Delos is an ancient religious site and was home to 30,000 inhabitants in the thousand years before Christ was born.   Nearly everything that still exists on this barren island was transported from the mainland.  

Remnants of an ancient civilazation

Remnants of an ancient civilization

No marble is indigenous to the island and yet the remains include marble columns (reportedly floated to the island suspended between ships) and mosaic floors made up of tiles so tiny that they appear to be painted. 

Temple Columns

Temple Columns

Famous Dolphin Mosaic

Famous Dolphin Mosaic

Some mosaics have tiles so tiny they look like paintings

Some mosaics have tiles so tiny they look like paintings

From the higher points on the island you can see the other islands that protect Delos, making it the center of the Cyclades.  Spreading out in all directions are the remains of walls of the city and entire facades of Temples to the various gods that were worshiped by the inhabitants. 

Ancient ruins as far as you can see

Ancient ruins as far as you can see

The House of  Hermes is a classic example and one of the most complete of a typical home of the era.  There was an open courtyard on the first level held up by marble columns and a second set of columns that supported the second floor. 

Maison Hermes from a distance

Maison Hermes from a distance

First floor courtyard of Maison Hermes

First floor courtyard of Maison Hermes

Original paint on interior walls of Maison Hermes

Original paint on interior walls of Maison Hermes

Set on the side of a hill, the views from the second floor are spectacular.  We could only imagine what it was like to live in this exquisite villa during ancient times. 

Kent relaxes on marble bench at Maison Hermes

Kent relaxes on marble bench at Maison Hermes

View into courtyard from second floor

View into courtyard from second floor

The view is incredible!

The view is incredible!

Happily, we realized after the fact that the reason the path to this house was so overgrown was that it was no longer one of the permitted sites to visit as it had been when we were here several years ago.   As it turned out, it was one of the highlights of our return visit as we had the place to ourselves.

There is also a wonderful museum that houses many of the more perishable antiquities, such as the original Lions of Delos which stood guard over the man-made lake that once existed but is no more. 

Delos Lions now repose in the museum

Delos Lions now repose in the museum

The lions were removed from their original location to the museum and replaced with reproductions to save them from the affect of the predominant north wind and other destructive forces. 

Reproductions stand where the original lions once did guarding the sacred lake

Reproductions stand where the original lions once did guarding the sacred lake

Once back to Mykonos, which is truly the St. Tropez of Greece in its cosmopolitan feel, we remarked on the contrast between the classic Greek vacation town and the splendor that was Delos, including ubiqituos sidewalk cafes.

Grilled octopus for lunch--yum!

Grilled octopus for lunch--yum!

Mykonos does have its share of attractions, including 365 churches–one for each day of the year–and old windmills that provide character.

Mykonos is White Chapels. . .

Mykonos is White Chapels. . .

and windmills!

and windmills!

Mykonos is very special but Delos is magical in its ability to draw you back to a time when mythical gods ruled the universe and man could fashion marble into forms that transcended time.

Simple elegance

The simple elegance of Delos transcends time

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