Day 11, evening, and Day 12, morning
Mykonos was amazing – a beautiful little city of white plaster and blue paint (occasionally green and red, but mostly blue). We had nothing specific to do, and just wandered around for the day taking pictures (where “we” is Cheryl, Paul, and me). The pictures are really required to understand the beauty of Mykonos, so I won’t bother trying to describe it much.
One of the main draws is apparently beautiful sunsets. We had dinner at a pizza/pasta place in the Little Venice area of the town, and then went looking for a place to photograph the sunset from. Dan, our tour guide, recommended the windmills and Little Venice as two areas of the town that have nice views, so naturally these areas were packed solid with tourists. We ended up in a little nondescript area closer to the place where the shuttle bus would pick us up to take us to the boat. There was room to wander around and some great views over the sea, so we stayed there for sunset. The sunset was underwhelming, though. It was partly ruined by some clouds right at the very end, but I suspect that the people that gush over the beauty simply live in places that don’t have good sunsets.
The day ended with a dance party on the pool deck, which was fun, but I went to bed “early” (around midnight) to get ready for the early start this morning: up at 6:00, off the boat at 7:30. We’re docked in Patmos right now, and this morning we hiked up the island/hill to the grotto where it is claimed John dictated the book of Revelation. Of course, a church has been built smack on top of the cave, so it’s hard to tell that there’s actually a cave there at all, and the whole thing had very little impact on me. I’m unclear on what exactly is believed about the place, but it seems that a lot of people consider it to be quite a sacred location. When doing the introduction, our tour guide gave an interesting description of John and the beginnings of Christianity that seemed to be informed half by a secular viewpoint and half by catholic/orthodox tradition, and bore very little resemblance to anything I believe.
After the grotto, we hiked the rest of the way up the hill to visit the monastery, but there wasn’t much there. It was worth it more for the view of the island and harbour than anything else.
The entire island of Patmos apparently runs on the tourist trade now, and a lot of those tourists come to Patmos for faith-related reasons, so there are all sorts of icons and paintings and crucifixes and what-have-you that you can buy. Unsurprisingly, everything has a bit of a Greek Orthodox flavour to it. A lot of the stuff around Greece and Turkey reminds me of the Ukrainian churches that I’ve been to for funerals and weddings.
We’re back on board now – it’s 10:00, and I think the boat is scheduled to leave Patmos at 10:30 (might be 11:30 though; I’m not sure). This afternoon, we’ll be in Ephesus, for the second church history excursion. It’s a beautiful day, and I’m feeling a little better today, so it should be a nice trip. I think Cheryl is feeling a little better too; regardless, we both bought bottles of ouzo from a liquor store in Patmos; we’ve discovered it has wonderful healing properties.