Up this morning and off to Delos. After a bit of confusion with how to get to our tour (no thanks to Goway Travels, who we by no means recommend after our experience here in Mykonos), we finally made it to the ferry and over to the island. This island is considered a holy island and is the center of the Cycladic islands. As I said yesterday, the ancient people believed that Apollo and Artemis were born on this island. The island was so holy that no one was allowed to die or be born on the island. Death meant darkness, and no one else could claim to be born the same place as the half-gods. If you were getting ready to keel over or going into labor, they ferried you over to a small island across a bay that had the graveyard and maternity ward. Can you imagine?
From the 4th through the 2nd century BC, Delos was a very important center for trade and business. The most wealthy business people of the region lived on Delos; at the height, there were 30,000 people living on the island. To give you some perspective of that, there are currently 30,000 people living on Mykonos, and Delos is one-fourth the size of Mykonos. The homes on Delos were extravagant, decked out with marble and beautiful mosaics. Many of these mansions were three stories tall, and occupied large portions of the expensive real estate. Sometime in the 2nd century BC, a waring king came and burned Delos to the ground and killed 20,000 people, taking most of the remainder as slaves. After that, Delos became something of a wasteland, and really, until the mid-1800s, was a port for pirates. Though much of Delos was looted, so much still remains that it is considered the largest archaeological site in all of Europe. Some of the mosaics and buildings are so well preserved that people have called it the Pompeii of the Aegean. There was really so much to see that we could have probably stayed there for most of the day and not covered all the ground. However, Delos is, according to meteorologists, one of the sunniest places in the whole world. It sees more days of sun than almost anywhere in the world. So, considering that there is ONE palm tree on the whole island, you can imagine the heat and what a whole day there would mean. Fortunately for us, there was a bit of a breeze today. The tour guide said that visitors yesterday were not so fortunate!
After the tour, we landed at Mykonos port and had another gelato lunch. 😉
As we hiked back to our hotel with our bellies full of sweets, I started thinking about how difficult getting around would be if you had bad knees or were totally out of shape. My calves are tight by the end of the day, and I feel like I’ve had a workout once we get from one place to the other (which I hope is totally true with all this gelato!). I really wonder what people do who don’t have some level of fitness in some of the places we’ve been, like Delphi, Hydra, and now here. I feel like many have to be taken by surprise at some of the “trekking” that has to be done.
Back at the hotel, we spent a couple hours around the pool to cool off. While today was not as hot as yesterday, and the breeze was really nice, it was still hot! The view from the pool is really terrific: the whole of Mykonos town, Little Venice, the blue-domed churches, and the windmills were on full view from our sunbed. 🙂
We made one last trip into Mykonos town tonight for dinner. Neither of us brought anything with us to capture pictures, so alas! we don’t have any photographic evidence of the wonderful view we had at dinner of the windmills and the setting sun over the neighboring islands. We wandered around the shops a bit before heading back to the hotel. For the first time, and on our final night, we navigated directly back to the hotel without getting lost for 20 or 30 minutes in the maze of streets. We have both marveled at how much more difficult navigating is at night than during the day. Everything looks so different, and the alleys filled with shops are so tight and crowded once the sun goes down.
Tim and I agreed that the last week has gone by slowly, which is so rare for a vacation. We already feel like we’ve been on vacation for a month because we’ve packed so much in. Athens feels like weeks ago, not mere days ago. It’s hard to believe we have eleven more days! We’re feeling pretty spoiled with all the time we’ve gotten to spend with each other and all the exploring we’ve gotten to do!
It’s so long to Mykonos bright and early tomorrow, and off to Santorini. We have been most looking forward to this part of the trip. It will be the grand finale to a great time in Greece, we hope!