I slept a good nine hours. So wonderful! I’d been having trouble, waking up in the early hours (5am or so) and not being able to get back to sleep. Last night was a welcome reprieve.
It’s a day at sea, as I mentioned. Lazy,hazy–and we have an invite to a cocktail party, due to our travel status on NCL (this being our third cruise with them). I haven’t poked my head outside since our first venture out this morning–it’s so humid that I was gasping for air in just the short time it took to get across the pool area to the buffet room, a very short distance.
However, soon I will be getting out there to walk as many times around the promenade deck as I can. Today was supposed to be the day I took some time to launder our clothes, but I couldn’t figure out how I’d wash them in a small bathroom sink–especially since the plug didn’t work. Instead, I took advantage of the ship’s “Bag of Laundry Cleaned for Only $20.00” offer–and believe me, that is a drastic rate cut from their usual prices. It was getting desperate–my jeans were developing a life of their own.
For now, I am off to do some editing, then I’ll do the exercise thing.
Twenty laps of the Promenade Deck, which means I walked seven miles. A good stretch of the legs. Yes, it got boring, but it beat sitting – one of my least favorite things to do.
After watching part of “Cinderella” – in German – on our room’s TV, we went to our dinner reservation in “La Trattoria”, one of the more upscale restaurants on board.
Once we finally found it, that is. It isn’t on the ship’s diagrams; that’s because it wasn’t in the ship’s original designs, we’re told.Every evening they simply partition this area off and make it into a separate restaurant. Seems downright weird.
While I walked today, I got more ideas for my current manuscript, plus a few more on another book that I may write in the future.
Tomorrow–Mykonos and an early start to the day. I hope we can find a church; more than likely we will be attending a Greek Orthodox service. If not, there isn’t much we can do, since there aren’t any church services of any kind on the ship (I checked).
Another good night’s sleep, although we had to get up early. The boat was to dock at 7am (still dark out) and leave at 3pm, so we wanted to start our day as soon as possible.
After a fairly light breakfast and a half-hearted picture-taking session up top, we headed off the ship. With no tour scheduled, we hopped a seabus which took us to the port of the Old Town area. On the way, we perused a map–I was heartened to see both a church and a “Hard Rock Cafe” outlet (I collect the shirts).
This little town, simply called Mykonos Town, was another jaw-dropping experience–and my favorite of all the places we visited on this cruise. I’d never been in such a place before; it didn’t seem real. All the buildings are white-washed, and they are cobbled together in such a way as to create tiny, maze-like streets. I read that the idea behind the labyrinth was to confuse pirates. Well, now they’re merely a delightful maze for tourists.
Some of these passages are no bigger than three feet wide, while most are closer to five at the most. Tiny, bop-your-head overhangs open up at surprising times to small plazas filled with eucalyptus, cedar, and bougainvillea.
There are tiny markets everywhere, that come directly onto the (also whitewashed) streets. Talk about your zero lot lines!
Obviously, no cars were allowed on those smaller streets, but motorbikes ran up and down them frequently.
It was fantastic being some of the first tourists there that morning. The port is small, but it looks like it can hold several decent-sized cruise ships. The town filled up quickly as the hours went by.
The first building of interest that we saw was Paraportiani Church, for which there was no information. It was gorgeous–at least from the outside. We didn’t go inside.
The Church of Panagia Paraportiani (Greek: Εκκλησία της Παναγίας της Παραπορτιανής) is situated in the neighborhood of Kastro, in the town of Chora, on the Greek island of Mykonos. Its name literally means “Our Lady of the Side Gate” in Greek, as its entrance was found in the side gate of the entrance to the Kastro area.
Construction of this church started in 1425 and was not completed until the 17th century. This impressive, whitewashed church actually consists of five separate churches which are joined: the four churches (dedicated to Saint Eustathios, Saint Sozon, Saints Anargyroi and Saint Anastasia) are at ground level and constitute the base of the fifth church that has been built above them.
I think we took a picture of every square inch of the place–I’ll spare you all of those. I think this one picture is enough; it was the best, in my opinion. When the sun hit the building just right, it was absolutely stunning.
Another thing we noticed was the great number and variety of cats. They were everywhere. The mellow atmosphere must have gotten to them–they were pretty easy-going and not freaked out about the strangers in their midst. This is a far cry from our own feline, who runs at the first sign of danger–like someone hiccupping. Really.
In our meanderings through the maze of streets, we finally came upon the Catholic church. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a Greek Orthodox church in this town–which is good–but Catholic churches are few and far between. Paul read that Mass was at 11am, so we had a couple of hours to kill before that time. We rambled off again, and came upon one of the biggest landmarks of Mykonos: the windmills.
According to Wikipedia (since English-language info was not to be found):
The Mykonos windmills are iconic feature of the Greek island of the Mykonos. The island is one of the Cyclades islands, which neighbour Delos in the Aegean Sea. The windmills can be seen from every point of the village of Mykonos, the island’s principal village, which is frequently called the Chora (which translates to “Country” in Greek, but refers to an island’s “Town”) on Greek islands. The windmills are the first thing seen when coming into theharbour of Alefkandra, as they stand on a hill overlooking the area. Most windmills face towards the North where the island’s climate sources its strongest winds over the largest part of the year. There are currently 16 windmills on Mykonos of which seven are positioned on the famous landmark hill in Chora. Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century, but construction continued into the early 20th century. They were primarily used tomill wheat. They were an important source of income for the inhabitants. Their use gradually declined until they ceased production in the middle of the 20th century. Their architecture is similar. They all have a round shape, white colour and a pointed roof and very small windows. Such windmills are found in almost all Cyclades islands. One of these windmills has been transformed into a museum. The whole village of Chora and part of the harbour are visible from this point.
After that, we found the Hard Rock Cafe outlet, so I did my shopping there–a T-shirt (score!), a deck of cards (another thing I collect), and some other things.
There was still time before church, so we revisited some of the areas around that area. We picked our way along the beach and back
then sat on a stone wall by the church to wait for 11am to get here.
The church’s front door is about five feet from a busy, open-air restaurant. I kid you not–you could stand up from eating, turn and take four steps, and you’re inside the church.
We went inside at about 10:55am, and waited.
Twenty minutes went by, people came and went. Finally, we decided to take another look at that schedule. Hmmm…Mass at 11am…next Sunday.
Well, fine. Two Sundays in a row missing out on church. Not liking it–but at least we tried.
There was nothing else to do then but to get lunch. We decided on a waterfront cafe, where we watched people go by as we had some lovely food.
Paul had a gyro and I had souvlaki salad. We both had the local beer (light-tasting, but okay) and a glass of ouzo–another first.
It was a lot like absinthe–both use anise seed as an ingredient, so no surprise there–except that ouzo is much mellower. Maybe that’s what keeps the cats in line–ha ha.
After that, we got back on the shuttle to the boat, and we are now doing our usual afternoon thing. At least I am–in my favorite place, the library.
All would be perfect, except for someone Skyping in the computer room next door–she’s very loud, and her comments are not a lot of fun to listen to. Everything is a complaint–she even found fault with the things she actually liked. I hope she goes away soon.
“Hercules” on the telly that night, and another towel critter:
It’s either a bunny dog or a puppy rabbit. You decide.
Tomorrow: A whole different world–Istanbul