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Greece, sunset at Oia.

Capturing the Wonders of Greece
By Meeta Gajjar Parker
Photography by Francis and Meeta Parker

Stepping foot onto Delos, arriving by boat, our tour guide quickly rounds up his group.  Spellbound by his dramatic homage to the gods, arms thrown up in the air, he suddenly drops down onto one knee for the conclusion.  He is asking the gods for permission to enter this sacred land.  We applaud.  He talks about the history of Delos, that it is uninhabited, and is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. 

There are no hotels or resorts here.  Access is by boat, mostly from Mykonos.  He tells us that it is illegal to give birth or die on this island and that no one stays overnight.  Continuing on, he tells us that the island is a religious sanctuary and literally hundreds of ruins are to be found here.  The most famous one is the house of Apollo and terrace of the lions.

Greek ruins at Delos

Afterwards, out of deep curiosity, I investigated this forbidden Mediterranean island to find out if anyone claimed to have stayed overnight in Delos. I discovered that at least two people made claims that they had. One was an author named Lawrence Durrell who wrote that he accomplished this with a slight deception on the men guarding the island and the enchanting night he and his wife spent there. Another man claimed to have booked a room with a family who ran the museum snack bar. He said he did it through the tourist police in Mykonos harbor. He stated that it was a great deal, and that he had the entire island to himself after all the tourists left that night and in the morning. There were no other claims.

Mykonos beach

During our three nights in Mykonos, which is part of the Cyclade islands, we learn that the isle is mostly composed of granite. Arriving at night, in the dark, we can only see the road by the headlights of our bus. The small hotel we are staying in is full of tourists, who are eager to explore this Greek isle. After breakfast on the terrace, with a mysterious looking black cat staring up at us with intense green eyes, in case we want to share, we head down to the pier to see the turquoise blue Aegean Sea. Learning that cats are special to the people of Mykonos, we discover them everywhere. Touring the island, we find parts of it dry with dark brown soil and a volcanic feel. Other areas are covered in emerald grass. The Touros harbor is very nice. We walk on a white sand beach next to a waterfront bar and feel the exoticness of the Greek décor along the pier. The view from here is spectacular. Arriving at the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani, we notice the 18th century marble bell tower with intricate folk carvings. Passing a monk sitting on a bench, in his traditional long black robe and hat, we say, “Hello.” Taking a close look at the altar screen which was made in 1775 by Florentine artists, we notice the small icons placed in the wooden structure.

Continue: page 2, Capturing the Wonders of Greece - more info on Mykonos.


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