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My big, fat Greek islands party > I June 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.

Mykonos > Our first port of call is Mykonos, a dreamy location that thumps with European dance music.

At our resort, guests swan around the pool like they’ve just discovered nirvana. They indulge in slow and gracious movements in and around the pool, and strike poses not dissimilar to those from the brochure that initially enticed us here. Each beach on Mykonos has its own personality. Although we are closer to Platis Yialos we find ourselves spending time on nearby Psarou, the island’s most fashionable beach.

On a morning reconnaissance mission to stake out a sun lounge and umbrella, before the crowds arrive, we see a brazen bronzed couple in their 50s strip off. But before we can avert our gaze, an elderly Greek fisherman approaches and chastises them: “This is not Paradise Beach.”

Which means we’d better head to Paradise Beach to check it out. We can either catch the beach boat from Platis Yialos or leg it along the coastal goat track. After a 20-minute walk we finally round the bend to Paradise Beach. Music with a heavy bass line blares from the beach bar, filtering through the crowd of mixed age, size and sex. In all manner of undress they bask in the sun. Some have tops on, some don’t. Some have bottoms on and some don’t. But they all cram in side by side sharing the same libertine attitudes.

At night we go to tavernas, eat moussaka, booze on and madly clap along to bouzouki solos, while enthusiasts of the Shirley Valentine movie hang from the rafters.

While shopping I pay way too much for a crumpled long-sleeve white linen shirt, which I insist on wearing to the bars of Mykonos town, which is a public bus ride away. Too impatient to wait, we stop by a convenience store and buy a flask of ouzo.

We crowd into cave bars along Little Venice, and then squeeze into bars deeper into town, which spill beautiful people on to the maze of cobblestone alleyways. Much later in the evening we find ourselves lost, repeatedly covering our tracks over and over again. The myriad lanes purposely designed to confuse pirates, works equally well for drunk holiday-makers. Mykonos is amazing. And it ends all too quickly. Next stop Paros.

Paros > A high-speed ferry away, Paros lacks the glamour of nearby Mykonos. But this isn’t a detraction; it just has a completely different feel and has other things going for it. It also looks different too, more Andalusian.

Our family-run accommodation looks over the bay at Krios Beach, 2km from the main town, Parikia, which is a taxi or boat ride away. From our balcony we watch the activities at the small wharf where people are regularly shuttled between the town and our beach village.

When the boat has ferried the last of the daytrippers back to town, the beach is perfect for romantic strolls and skinny-dips. The water is fresh; we float on our backs and take in the twinkling lights of the distant town. Bliss.

The next morning we shuttle into town on the small boat then transfer to a larger ferry for the charming island of Antiparos. We hire sun lounges, drag them to the shoreline and dangle our feet in the calm waters. The island pace is so relaxed that the siesta gets in the way of our planned lunch.

When we return to Paros, I have an epiphany. So far we have done a good job at shedding some of our inhibitions but I need to do more. So as a liberation of sorts I get my head shaved. It feels wonderful. My friend even suggests that it suits me, but perhaps he is being delicate with me.

Naxos > Naxos is the fourth island of our itinerary. Time for some body adornment, not a tattoo or thick gold chain to swing around my neck, but a friendship bracelet, of the type that all the children are wearing. Not dissimilar to the ones we plan to take home as presents for our friends.

We stop by a dodgy newsagent where I pick up one for only a few euro. Cool. From the Beach Cafe at St Georges we hire bikes for the day. It’s a hot day so we keep to the coastal road, so we can cool down in the Mediterranean when we need to.

Our first stop is Agios Prokopios, a beautiful beach 5km away. We swim in the clear waters then move on towards Mikri Vigla Bay, making occasional stops along the way. We don’t quite make it to the village of Mikri Vigla but we do find solace in the bay around Orkos. Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cyclades Islands. It is divine.

Santorini > When we arrive at our last island destination, my transformation is complete. It’s not often that my beard is longer than my hair. The mysterious and dramatic landscapes of Santorini are a perfect complement. Our hotel is breathtakingly perched on the cliff’s edge in the beautiful settlement of Oia, hundreds of metres above the Aegean Sea.

I should be feeling wonderful, but when we explore the village I am confronted by high-end exclusivity. My tatty, already frayed friendship bracelet looks cheap, so I stop by a jewellery store and upgrade to a funky silver and black rubber version.

We walk the hundreds of steps down to the water’s edge at Ammoudi where pretty waterside tavernas offer fresh seafood. And just around the corner the volcanic rocky outcrop beckons us for a refreshing swim. We can hardly pass up the alluring emerald invitation.

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