All the nieces and nephews on my side of the family — Nico, Ava, Lydia, Leigh, Jasmine, Jamal, and Molly
Summer in New York gets hot and muggy. So it was nice that we had planned a 3-week summer “vacation” in Greece nearly a year ago. We planned the trip around a week-long family get together for my immediate family — my parents, their four kids, their spouses, and all seven grandchildren. Jim and I added a week onto each end on our own.
For many years we’ve said that our favorite country to travel in is Italy. But during this sojourn in Greece, we seriously discussed whether Greece has overtaken Italy as our favorite. Greek islands are about as close to heaven as it gets. Who needs anything more than a perfect taverna on a bright blue stretch of Mediterranean beach?
And every Greek island has its own personality. We made it to four islands in the Cyclades on this trip, and we loved every one of them.
Our first stop was the island of Paros, where we stayed in the lovely town of Naoussa at the northern tip of the island. The town just reeked with charm. We’d easily get lost in the narrow streets full of great restaurants, elegant outdoor bars, and appealing shops.
One of many amazing bars in the charming town of Naoussa
From Naoussa, you could hop a water taxi to a handful of beaches across the bay
Arriving at a beach by water taxi. Oh that water!
Did I mention the water?
I am very happy in Greece
Approaching the town again by water ferry after a morning at the beach
A seaside lunch spot on Naoussa town
Mykonos (and Santorini) are different from the other Cycladic islands. Each is incredible in its own way, but they are both considerably more touristy, crowded, and expensive than all the other islands. But it was a good choice for our family get together for a few reasons.
First, it’s hard to find a really nice rental house that can accommodate 17 people without anybody being stuck in a crappy room. I scored by finding a pair of houses with common outdoor spaces and two beautiful pools in a very nice part of Mykonos. Second, Mykonos is relatively easy to get to, with direct flights coming from various parts of Europe. And finally, there are so many beaches to visit for all flavors of tourists. Nobody is going to be bored here.
The place worked out well, and I’m confident everyone had a great week here. It’s the second year in a row that we got all 17 of us together (Tuscany last summer). And I consider myself quite fortunate because I really like every one of these wonderful people. I know that Jim and I had a great time this week, and I’m pretty confident we all did.
Me and the glorious views from our villa
There was lots of fun to be had on the day we discovered that you could sip Metaxa in the pool.
With my fabulous sisters-in-law, Jenny and Alma
Lunch with my parents at a taverna on a beautiful beach in a remote corner of Mykonos
With my sister Jeanne
The Ann Arbor Sullivans — Molly, Jenny, Pat, and Lydia
One day most of us drove to a beach a half hour away. But Jim and Jenny decided to hike there. It was apparently somewhat treacherous.
Nico and I and our very Greeky shirts
Dinner at the villa was a fine affair every evening
Our chef displays the evening’s catch
Leigh and I trying to lure a sweet little kitten onto our patio
Lydia at an elegant lunch spot over the beach close to our villa
The San Francisco Sullivans — Nico, Jasmine, John, Alma, and Ava
A hug from my mother!
A short ferry hop from Mykonos took us to the island of Tinos. Here we stayed at hotel up in the mountains near a tiny little town called Triantaros. The town only had a couple restaurants, but they were truly gems. During the day, we hiked about an hour to get from the town down to a beach. It was a really beautiful hike, if you can overlook the part where Jim got stung by a wasp.
At a charming, but unassuming little restaurant in little Triantaros village…
…where we were amazed by the quality of the food.
And this was my seat mate at that place!
The view from the restaurant out toward the sea
Oh. My. God.
Yet another short ferry ride took us to the glorious island of Syros. Here we stayed in the main port town called Ermoupoli. This elegant town serves as the capital of the Cyclades, and perhaps for that reason seemed less touristy and more like a real city than most Greek island cities.
On our first full day here we decided to take a taxi to a particular beach a half hour away. We rode out of town and up, up, up a mountain, with beautiful views, and then descended down, down, down to a tiny beach town. The beach was calm and lovely. And nearby was a restaurant with great reviews — though some reviewers criticized the place as awfully expensive. With some reluctance we decided to try it anyway.
We love Greek food in general, but the food here was extraordinary — way beyond what you expect at a seaside taverna in a little town. And not that expensive really — cheaper than anything in Mykonos!
What did we do on days two, three, four, and five here in Syros? Made the same drive over the mountain, to the same postcard-perfect little beach, and ate at the same incredible restaurant. When you find perfection, why mess with it?
For some reason we have very few photos from Syros, but this shot of a calamari dish we ordered at our lunch spot pretty well sums it up
And let’s close out with one more shot of that kitten from Tinos