We had just finished up Birthright in Israel and were now headed to Athens. The Birthright trip allows you to extend your stay for up to 3 months. The only catch is that you must fly back out of Tel Aviv.
When we landed there were actually a bunch of Birthright kids who were extending on our same flight. This is probably because Tel Aviv to Athens is such a cheap flight. It is always great to meet new people and travel with them.
I learned quickly that you only need a day to do Athens. Luckily we had a flight the next day to Mykonos. Once you see all the sights, then it is just a regular city.
First we went to Acropolis. Of course, every site costs a lot of Euros, but you are willing to pay because when in Greece. Acropolis was the most worth it. An acropolis is a settlement that is built on elevated ground, used for defense. The most famous acropolis is the Acropolis of Athens because of its historical associations and the famous buildings atop it, such as the Parthenon.
The hike up to Acropolis is actually quite long and hard, but it is so worth it to get a view of Athens. From the top, you can see a bunch of other ruins through out the city. It reminded me of Rome.
Later, we strolled around the city and had the chance to see other ruins such as the Temple of Zeus and the Olympic Stadium.
Our flight to Mykonos was at 6:00am, meaning we had to be up at 3:00am to take the bus to the airport and check in for our flight. Our friends from the Tel Aviv airport that also flew to Tel Aviv were also on our flight to Mykonos. It is a small world!
Although Mykonos is not Santorini, I felt like I was in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. All the buildings are white and blue, cast upon the hills overlooking the crystal clear waters. I have never seen such clear water in my life. Our hostel was in Mykonos City on an adorable tiny cobble stone street.
Since the island is so small, you can easily rent some kind of motor vehicle and explore. We decided to rent an ATV and drive it to the only vineyard in Mykonos for a wine tasting. Soon, we realized as two young looking girls, that the world is still sexist. We wanted to compare rental prices and went into at least 6 different ATV rental places. First they asked for our ages, but then asked if we knew how to drive. If I were in that store with a man, even if he was younger than me, I would not have been asked 20 questions. Luckily, the old men allowed us to rent an ATV.
Since most of the streets on the island are unmarked, we got a bit lost. The streets look like the ones on the Aran Islands, lined with stone walls, and mostly dirt roads. Also, our ATV was the cheapest on the lot, meaning it could not make it up hills. It’s like Mia’s mustang in the Princess Diaries. There was a brief couple minutes where we physically pushed the ATV, but it’s the price you pay when you are trying to find the only winery on the island.
The winery was called ΜΥΚΟΝΟΥ ΒΙΩΜΑ, or the Mykonos Vioma Organic Farm & Vineyard. The first thing that stood out to me were the short vines. The owner of the vineyard and the waitress told us this is due to the wind. Mykonos is known as the windy island, therefore the vines have to be short so that the wind doesn’t knock them over.
As I have said earlier, this is the only vineyard in Mykonos and is only 15 years old. The roses that you can see throughout the vineyard also serve a purpose. The roses are an indicator of how the vines are doing. They act as an early warning sign for any threats that the vines might face. Also, they are beautiful!
The vineyard also places classical music all day. This is because a famous scientist (I am not sure of the name) found that sound can positively effect the growth of the vines. First of all I want to know how I get assigned to research this. Listening to music all day while sipping wines for research sounds like a dream come true.
The next day we decided to rent a car and go to some of the beaches. Of course we faced the same sexist problem in every car rental place. They were weary of the fact that either of us had the ability to drive then asked 20 questions. Again, I have seen guys, probably our age walk in, and get handed the keys no questions asked. Even when we returned the car in one piece, the manager was in shock. He kept asking where our men were to drive us. Anyways before I go on a rant, I’ll get back to the more interesting part, the beaches!
Mykonos has numerous beaches all around the coast. Mykonos town, where our hostel was is the tourist center, where it is more like a pier, not a beach. There is also Paradise Island, but it more of a spring breakers type of feel. At this point it traveling we wanted to relax. From suggestions, we went to two beaches, which were more private. I forget which order we went in, but the two beaches were Ag. Sostis and Kalafatis. The water was crystal clear and the background included views of other islands in the distance. This is what paradise must look like. No worries, these waters did not have any jellyfish.
That night we decided to get a nice dinner on the pier before another day of traveling back to Israel.
The real backpacker experience happened on our way to the Mykonos airport. We had made an itinerary on Google Docs that had all our information including flights. Sometimes when you are copying and pasting, the numbers of times (military times) get mixed up. We had missed our flight, which had taken off an hour before we arrived. $500 later, the mistake was fixed and we were set to leave on the next flight. Shit happens right?
I’ll go into detail about our last days in Israel in my next post.
Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the adorable dog at our wine tasting…