It was certainly a bit of a Thelma and Louise moment. It was probably the pink helmets that did it.
Three days in to their spring break in Mykonos, it became clear that the only way to reach the tiny unspoilt bay on the other side of the island, was to hire some wheels. Whilst a car was the sensible option for two ladies of a certain age, quad bikes looked infinitely more exciting. And so it was that they edged their way out into the morning traffic, with nothing but a rudimentary map and a vague sense of direction to guide their way.
They had happened upon Mykonos purely because the right travel deal came up at the right time. Its reputation as a party island preceded it. Party girls they were not … but pictures of the unassuming family-run hotel just outside Mykonos town, low-rise, white-washed and draped in vibrant bougainvillea, lured them to this tiny dot of a Greek island.
Mykonos turned out to be a surprise in every way.
The town itself was a short boat taxi ride across the bay … what a way to arrive! Chugging into the mooring, they got their first glimpse of the iconic paving that winds its way through the narrow streets of the Old Town, inviting them in to explore it’s maze of quirky local bars and high end fashion retailers … this tiny island certainly attracts the money. Shopping is more about Armani than trashy souvenirs. Standing proud on the ridge, the time-worn windmills watch the to-ings and fro-ings of this busy harbour, like they have done for centuries past.
The famous party beaches weren’t for them, but the rest of the island remained surprisingly untouched by mass tourism, and the notion of the romantic Greek island idle that Shirley Valentine gave us in the 80s, can still be found in its barren hills, dotted with white-washed rural hamlets and tiny chapels peeping out at every turn.
Giggling with delight at the absurdity of how they must have looked to the locals, two English woman on a quad bike, pink helmets, old enough to know better, they jolted their way along the dusty tracks across the island to Fokos, recommended by a friend for its not-to-be-missed taverna. Just as they arrived, the locals started to spill in, bearing gifts for the staff on this the first day of opening for the summer season. They felt they were intruding on a secret party, but were welcomed like long lost friends and beckoned onto the veranda to enjoy their meal lazily sitting in the dappled shade overlooking what can only be described as an island paradise. For the people, for the food, for the place …. it was one of those “do you remember” meals. Total bliss.
Mykonos … one of those places that where time passes so slowly, but a holiday is over so soon. A definite must-go-back-one-day ….