Our last day before returning home (April 9th)
gave us another opportunity to sleep in this morning
we did not come out of our cabin until it was time for lunch.
The ship pulled in to the harbor of Mykonos just as we finished
dessert at 2 p.m. A 10 minute tender to the main port, then
the old Hera ferry took us to Delos.
Delos means "that which appears" and according to
mythology it arose from the waves to allow Leto to give birth
to Apollo and Artemis. Before that, it was called Ortygis and
had been inhabited since 3000 BC. The Ionians settled here in
the 10th century BC and it became a major shipping
and trade center by the 3rd century BC and had sparkling
white marble signs at the port welcoming strangers. The Delians
encouraged others to build temples to their own gods so there
is a wide variety of worship that was carried on. Stories tell
that no human was ever born or died here this is not
exactly true. The dead were dug up and moved to a neighboring
island to purify Delos and from then on births and deaths took
place off shore.
We arrived as the last regularly scheduled ferry returned to
port so our small group had the island to ourselves. There have
been some improvements since our last visit more columns
are organized or erected, more archaeologists housing
is set up but it is as beautiful as ever. The granite
streets glitter with gold and silver at our feet, eye-dazzling
white Naxian marble, a vast variety
and profusion of wildflowers and sunshine peeking in and out
of the fluffy white clouds greeted us. This is a very special
place that still vibrates with life.
The main road leads past the Apollo Temple
to the Sacred Lake. For a long time, the only tree on the island
was the palm tree in the middle of the lake (Leto leaned on
it while giving birth). Five marble lions
gaze eastward across the lake as its guardians. The site extends
into the low hills and contains a theater district, a stadium,
an agora, fountains, an aqueduct, and a large number of homes.
Some of these have been restored to demonstrate the high style
and luxurious living the residents enjoyed. These several story
homes have fine marble columns and were often adorned with extremely
detailed decorative mosaics. All had running water from the
The ferry took us back to Mykonos harbor as the sun began its descent. Mykonos
is perhaps the best known of the Cyclades and is a very popular
tourist stop during the summer. Any other time of year, it is
picture perfect, exceedingly beautiful and diverse, with a relaxed
lifestyle that makes is a comfortable home away from home. Now
that there is faster boat service from Athens, it will be an
easier place to visit. Its covered with white cuboid houses,
blue, red, green and ocher shutters, blue church domes, and
it has some gorgeous beaches.
Since this was our last day out, we did not want to go back
to the ship until we had to sail. Virginia and Harvey were with
us and we all played follow the leader by ducking down whatever
alleyway looked appealing to whomever was in the lead. This
is always a nice way to explore a small port town. Our general
destination was Little Venice, and we drifted by whim up one
street and down the another until we found it.There, at the
Sunset Taverna, the host pulled a table to the edge of the sea.
We watched the sun slowly sinking, drank a bottle of the local
retsina, and shared a fine meal of tzaziki, salad, grilled octopus,
and fried calamaris. We could not have asked for a more perfect
end to our vacation.