Ancient Greek philosophers in the era of Plato, Aristotle and other timeless scholars have used the term “agape” to depict a deep emotion of genuine love, endearing affection, and warmth towards another. As expressed centuries ago, I am compelled to feel the same admiration for Mykonos, the unique scenery and the charismatic inhabitants of this island.
Stepping onto this picturesque island you are entranced at first sight and a sense of tranquility washes over you. The warmth and hospitality of the people, their genuine smiles, the cobble-stoned narrow side streets and the vast deep blue Aegean liberates you and draws you into this sleepy, ancient town. According to legendary Greek mythology, the island of Mykonos was named suitably for the heroic icon Mykonos – grandson of Apollo.
At daybreak the rays of the coral sun shines on the island and radiates a spectrum of colors onto the buildings, churches, tavernas and of course, windmills. Windmill Hill, located in Chora near Alefkantra, is quite magnificent from any angle. Situated on a pinnacle cliff side they stand guard over the island behind and seem as though they are waving in the approaching ferries and seamen. Once having over twenty windmills on the island used for grinding grain they are now a noble part of Mykonos’ historical splendor though only about six remain.
Watching the town of Mykonos awaken around you is captivating. The shutters on the blue chipped windows slowly open and a curious face peers out. Animals stir and stretch. The aroma of coffee travels on the wind. The sound of children echoes through the streets. Widows dress in black and kiss the churches. The sea laps against the shoreline. Fisherman prepare their nets and the Gods yawn, for it is time to start another day.
Many Greeks begin their day with a visit to the local church to pay homage to the gods and the deceased. There are so many churches on Mykonos that scores of them are not even noted on most maps and there are approximately sixty in the Town of Chora alone.
There is an immense sadness but profound respect when you observe the residents gently kissing the churches, kneeling down, always covering their legs and arms to avoid offense.
The general lifestyle of the locals is calm, laid-back and easygoing. They always recognize the importance of family, social circles, gatherings and festivals. With the onslaught of tourists, technology and commercial advances, the people of Mykonos still reflect deeply on the past and the importance of traditions and religious beliefs.