This evening we are on Mykonos, the end of 2 days in the Greek Islands. Yesterday we walked our legs off on Santorini, climbing, climbing, climbing some more, and taking pictures of the fabulous buildings clinging to the cliffs all the way up the mountainsides. We felt, at times, as if we were viewing the world from a small airplane, as the great cruise ship down in the harbor looked like a toy when we finally reached the top of the mountain. Greece is a feast for the eyes, with spectacular new views around every bend. The ancient rocks covered with fresh white paint are so dramatic, and lovely. We ate a fantastic lunch of Greek salad, tzatsiki, and moussaka, then kept on walking for many more hours. To get to the top of the island, where the town is, we had taken a "finicula", kind of like a ski-lift car, up to the top - totally terrifying. We decided to walk down, as that was the only other choice offered besides riding donkeys down the 1000 foot zig-zagging stairway. Those poor donkeys must do that trip all day and all night, carrying lazy tourists up and down the mountain. They must be made of steel, as the stairway is steep and unrelenting. Anyway, our walk down the mountain was quite hilarious, as we had to constantly jump to the side to avoid the mules and donkeys racing either up or down with their passengers. The steps were also covered in donkey manure, kind of slippery, but meanwhile we were enjoying such a spectacular view. A terrific day, followed by sleep as if in a coma!
This morning we awoke in Mykonos and were docked right at the pier, so that we can just walk off the ship into town. We spent the morning getting lost in the winding and narrow little streets of the village, and gazing at all the little shops, views of the sea, etc. This village is at sea level, very different from yesterday. In the afternoon we got onto a local boat and took a 1/2 hour trip to the island of ancient Delos through extremely windy and choppy seas, rocking and rolling across the waves. Delos was the home of approximately 40,000 people in the 5th, 4th, 3rd centuries BC, and has been extensively excavated by the French. The city site covers a large portion of the uninhabited island, and is well worth the visit. We had an excellent guide who told us the history of the island, explained all the ruins, and threw in a lot of mythology to boot.
The ride back on the small ship was even rougher, but we met a delightful woman and had a great chat all the way back, so it was not a problem. She told us a wonderful story. She and a group of friends have traveled together for years. They were all friends since early childhood. One of them, a wealthy single woman, recently died. She left money for them to take a trip together. They carried a life-sized photo of her face, and had themselves photographed with it at every opportunity, draping her in a tasteful shawl. And every evening they eat chocolate and drink wine in her honor, as that is what she loved to do! Beautiful!
We will find some dinner and then wander back to the ship. Tonight we do not sail until midnight, tomorrow morning we are in Athens and Cape Sounion. Unbelievable!