Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mykonos meander

Greek Trip, Day 13, Thursday 30 September, Mykonos

This morning as a break from serious stuff, I decided to continue the story of our Greek adventure from Greek trip days 11-12 - Mykonos.P1010635

Thursday morning, our last full day on Mykonos, again dawned hot and bright. Denise and Judith had decided that another ceremonial dip in the Mediterranean was required. I decided to go for a walk  and left them to their plans.

This day I decided to go in new directions. The photo shows part of the view from our hotel, looking over a small children's playground to a basketball court and the town beyond. You can just see one of the cruise ships in the background. All the ships that had been following us around since Santorini were now in port.

That morning I was curious about the green trees on the left of the photo. I like trees, and there aren't a lot of them in the Greek Islands. I was also curious about the noise of the children that drifted up from quite early in the morning. So I decided to work my way down to the basketball court and then do a left into the trees.P1010729

  At the end of the basketball court I found - gum trees, again!

This was a working street, somewhat nondescript and a bit untidy, part of non-tourist Mykonos. It also proved to be a very useful street, a short cut to other parts of town.

I was walking at random, just exploring. At the end of the street I turned right towards the old town, then left, left and right.

As I plunged through the rabbit warren streets I did get a bit worried that I might get lost. Still, I now knew the layout of the town reasonably well, so should always be able to get back to a known point. Finally, I found myself on higher ground overlooking the town.

Like other parts of the Cyclades as well as Crete, something that I have written on before, Mykonos was once controlled by the Venetians. This photo shows the Venetian part of Mykonos.P1010679

The styles are unmistakable.

With Denise and Judith going swimming, I knew that Dee's computer would be free. This meant that I should be able to check emails and blog posts. I therefore turned back towards the hotel.

Just as well I did. By random chance, I found the pair trying to find the bus station! Now familiar with this part of town, I took them up the hill though the backpacker quarter towards the station. It is always useful to know where backpackers go, since you will normally find things like internet cafes there.

  Now back to the hotel via my little street for some peaceful internet work. On the way I again passed the local school, and paused to watch.

It has become extremely difficult to photograph children without coming under suspicion of foul intent. This was one time I really wanted to take a photograph because it was such an interesting scene.

This photo taken the next day shows tP1010730he school gate. Note the cord locking the gate.

It seems clear that access to the school is tightly controlled. This morning the gate was crowded with parents talking to their children through the bars.

At a smaller gate just down the road, a busy trade in contraband sweets and other goodies was going on, with children passing money through the bars to local store keepers in return for goods. You can see why I found it a fascinating scene, one that I would love to have photographed.

Great frustration back at the hotel. Dee had been practicing Greek and had the computer set to Greek script. I couldn't work out how to alter this. Damn! I really needed to check bank balances among other things, so decided to go back up my little street and theP1010680n to the backpacker area to find an internet cafe.

This area of town is not especially attractive. However, it does bring you to the windmills overlooking the town.

The windmills have become the iconic image of Mykonos. Curious, I searched for some information, but it's actually somewhat fragmentary.

Construction began in the 16th century under, yes you guessed it, the Venetians! The older windmills therefore link directly to the Venetian section of Mykonos town. While best known on Mykonos, they were also built on other islands in the Cyclades. They ground grain, primarily wheat, that was then exported. Again, notice the importance of the sea and trade.

While the majority of windmills were built in Venetian times, construction and use continued into the middle of the twentieth century. Now they are somewhat decrepit signs of the past.

Internet work completed, I returned to the hotel and then, once everybody had showed, out to dinner. My diary notes simply record: "didn't eat much: a bit sick of Greek food". 


Anonymous said...

Sounds like there might be one or two volumes of interest for you Jim in the following:

A self published effort as well.


Jim Belshaw said...

Wow, David. Nigel McGilchrist sure puts my meagre efforts in the shade!

Anonymous said...