5 Blissful Days in Greece (I’m in love)

It’s been a few days since the return from paradise. Back in London, back at work. But, rather than allowing myself to mope around with the post holiday blues, I’m channelling all of my refreshed energy and outlook into being super productive – let’s hope it lasts!  I wanted to document this trip, not just with photos but anecdotes of what I did there, what I ate, who I met…a happy memory for me to look back on in years to come 🙂

The Trip

Last Thursday I left bright and very early (5am) to catch a plane from Gatwick to what seemed to be the holiday destination of summer 18 – MYKONOS! After a shaky start to the year, I knew I needed to get away for some sun, sea and relaxation at some point, and, whilst mulling over places to choose from, Mykonos kept appearing as a good option as it had everything I was after – good beaches, good food, sunshine and somewhere that would allow me to totally disconnect from regular day to day life. However, I was a little wary, Mykonos is known as the Ibiza of Greece, and the thought of a 24 hour party island didn’t really correlate with what I had planned for this trip, i.e. uber relaxation. Anyway, I went ahead and booked it, and was immediately chuffed with my decision.

The trip was scheduled over my 32nd birthday. Anyone who knows me will know I refuse to work on my birthday – I always take the day off, even if I don’t have anything big planned. But, when possible, I like to get away as I celebrate (*cough* commiserate *cough*) being another year older.

The Grecian adventure was to last five days in total, and the only thing I planned in advance was a reservation for a day bed at a super cool beach club on two separate days, with the remaining time left free for discovery…

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A blissful day spent reading and sipping iced lattes and Aperol Spritz…

The Island

Mykonos is quite small, therefore very easy to get around.  There are buses that run every half hour that will take you to most places on the island, and really cheap too at €1.80 a journey (unlike food and drink which was quite expensive). However, when in a new place, I like to explore by foot, as I’m one of those annoying people who likes to stop and stare at things for a bit whilst walking by. So imagine my happiness on discovering, as luck would have it, I managed to book accommodation that was bang in the middle of Mykonos Town (Chora), so most of what there is to see on the island was quite literally, a one minute walk from where I was staying (yasssss! That wasn’t planned, I booked the place based on the solid ratings it received for cleaniness rather than it’s proximity to where the funs was at).  So, much time was spent walking the short distance into Town, making my way through the maze-like cobbled streets and sampling as much cuisine as possible that had the words ‘Greek’ or ‘Mykonian’ in the name.  Which leads me to…

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One of many maze-like streets in the town of Chora.  I did mange to get lost once or twice – how did people live before Google maps?!
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I want the front of my house to look like this please.

The Food

Delectable.  Mouth watering.  Heavenly.  There will never be enough words to describe just how unreal every meal I had during my time there was.  From traditional Greek food to pasta with fresh seafood caught off the coast that morning, every dish was consumed to the last crumb, and, if dining etiquette allowed, I’d have happily licked the plate on more than one occasion.  As quickly mentioned above, when on holiday I like to eat only cuisine local to where I am, because as you’d imagine, they’d be the ones to do those specific dishes best!  (This isn’t to say however, that I haven’t found myself in a McD’s on holiday once or twice, but that was more than likely due to having more alcohol than blood in my body and I needed to sober up).  Anyway, I tried all the Greek food I could find – moussaka, spanakopita, dolmades, souvlaki, tiropita and octopus (not Greek but they have been eating it there for centuries), as well as the usual suspects of yoghurt with honey (the Greek yoghurt we get in the UK has nothing on the authentic stuff), pitta, feta, olives and tzatziki.  Food was on the expensive side, obviously depending on where and what you had to eat, and alcohol was the same.  Given how the exchange rate was so crap at the time, getting essentially one euro to the pound – a bowl of seafood pasta and Corona set the wallet back around €31 (basically £31, give or take a few cents), but it was money well spent. And who cares about paying more for food when on holiday anyway?  Not me I tell ya!  The winning dish of the trip was linguine with seafood (mussels and the fattest, juiciest, meatiest prawns I’ve ever had), a meal that makes me salivate when I recount the memory.  Naturally, I had to have a photoshoot for every plate that managed to make its way to me…

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This meal was everything.
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Breakfast one morning – the Greek yoghurt and honey…divine.
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A Mykonian sausage and xinotyro (sour cheese local to Greece) savoury crepe with tomato, peppers, feta and some delicious spicy sauce…
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A Mykonian sausage pizza – delish
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Traditional Greek moussaka
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Greek mezze platter – olives, octopus, dolmades, tomato, pitta, feta and lima beans

The Beaches

As you’d expect, beaches are in abundance. I managed to visit 3 in total during my five day trip, Agios Ioannis, Ornos & Paradise. The first beach (Agios Ioannis) was home to my absolute favourite hangout, Hippie Fish. I managed to spend two full days lounging on a beachside couch, under an umbrella, reading the latest InStyle and finishing off my book – ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, (yes, I’m late to the party but highly recommend) and I remember thinking to myself at the time how I couldn’t remember when I had last felt that relaxed. The place has such a chilled out vibe, the staff were amazing and the cocktails were better. It was complete, unadulterated bliss. Also, this beach was the location for the movie ‘Shirley Valentine’, which of course I found out after I got home when someone told me…

Ornos beach is lovely, very family friendly and relaxed.  A couple of the nearby beachside restaurants have tables on the actual beach, so it’s nice to sit there, watching the world go by whilst stuffing your face with pizza.

Paradise Beach was, well, a bit of a surprise…  I’d gone there to meet a friend who was on a sailing trip and her boat had docked there for the day.  I rocked up with my new shiny metallic swimsuit on and quite quickly noticed a number of naked gentlemen…the penny dropped immediately.  This was definitely a nudist beach.  Thankfully, there were more people wearing swimming attire than not, so it wasn’t too bad, I didn’t feel like I was the boring spoil sport in the corner not joining in on the fun.  And it’s not even that I’d be embarrassed, more that I will never take the risk of getting sunburnt in places where you should just never get sunburn.  And, given how my pale Irish skin refuses to turn any colour other than red in the sun, I’m not sure I even trust my good ol’ SPF50 enough with that part of me…  The overall vibe however, was really cool, people were so pleasant and there’s Paradise Club right on the beach offering 2 for 1 cocktails and music, so that helps create some atmosphere and gets people chatting.  I’d defo recommend a visit.

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The most perfect sunset on Agios Ioannis beach
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The view from Ornos beach
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In the interests of decency, I didn’t take any photos on Paradise beach, but here’s a cute, intriguing sign that welcomes guests at the entrance 😉

The People

One thing that struck me right away was just how friendly and helpful the locals were.  In restaurants, shops, hotels or bars, the staff and the customer service they provided was just excellent.  They were always happy, cheerful, chatty, as well as very attentive without harassing you every five minutes.  I fell in love with them just as much as I did with the island!

Coming Home…

Was a sad day,  I didn’t want to leave.  Unsurprisingly, I didn’t tire of magical sunsets, delicious food or beautiful sunshine, but everyone has to come back to reality at some point, eh? On reflection, my pre – holiday dreams of rejuvenation and relaxation were more than fulfilled by this little island of beauty, where chilling out is effortless and happiness is perpetual.

L.x

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