The warm waters of the Mediterranean coast into the Aegean Sea separating some six thousand islands between Greece and Turkey. Each island is vastly different from the next. Some offering sun and fun escapes, others a place of peace and quiet. In a single weekend I managed to spend a day on three incredibly contrasting islands; Mykonos, Rhodes, and Patmos.
Sunset over Mykonos
A warm breeze rolls across the waters and weaves its way through the streets of Chora. Passing shopkeepers packing up their wears in wooden baskets into their iconic two-story Venetian style homes. The white exterior flowing from the walls, between the cracks of the stepping stones, up staircases, tracing the path that slowly makes its way up a hill towards Kato Mili.
A once quiet island of barren land unable to grow even an olive branch it wasn’t until the modern times that the little Cyclades island began to thrive.
From Roman to Byzantine to the Ottoman Empires, the island made nor a dent on history. Wealthy families made their mark through the simple architecture but it was not until the Greek revolution that Mykonos became a household name in the Mediterranean. Manto Mavrogenous became something of a local heroine when she gave her family fortune to the cause.
The opening of the Corinth Canal at the turn of the twentieth century made trade routes easier, but lead to a decline to utilize islands, such as Mykonos, as ports. The follow-up of both world wars only added to the economic slump. Following the end of the second world war, Europeans turned to the Greek islands as a hot spot for Vacationing. Mykonos became the up and coming place to both party and relax. As word got out, soon America followed suite.
Today it is hard to imagine this little island ever struggling. From the shores of Little Venice the village is thriving. Tourists glowing from a day basking in the sunlight and browsing the markets head towards town for a night of clubbing. Travelers exit the famous Panagia Paraportiani (The Church of Our Lady) under it’s iconic blue dome. The locals are as warm and friendly as the sunlight, and as calm as the wind that drifts through the famous Venetian flour mills.
As dusk falls the town lights up under a soothing purple haze. You could not ask for a more picturesque setting as our ship departs from Chora’s harbour.