Here we are in the Cyclades, back again two years after our last visit. The Cyclades consist of about 20 major islands in the Aegean Sea southeast of mainland Greece. While today the most famous Cycladic islands are Santorini and Mykonos, the sacred island of Delos – birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis – was historically the most important of the islands. In fact the name of the island group derives from the fact that collectively they form a circle (Cyclades can be translated as “circular islands) around Delos. As for Milos, it sits on the southeastern corner of the Cyclades.
Now you may think you’ve never heard of Milos but you have. Think “Venus de Milo.” Yup, Venus of Milos, perhaps the greatest – certainly the most famous – work of art from the ancient era was discovered on Milos. Dating from around 100 BC and depicting the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite (the Romans called her Venus, so today she’s kind of misnamed), it was discovered by a local peasant just out poking around some ancient ruins in 1820. He ended up selling it to the French ambassador for a pittance and thus today resides in the Louvre.
Back to the current era. Mark and I really loved our last visit to Greece and to some extent were concerned that this trip couldn’t possibly live up to how much we loved Rhodes in particular. Perhaps we shouldn’t have worried; Milos was fantastic. Part of that was our hotel. We stayed at Tania, a little boutique place on the northeastern tip of the island run, presumably not coincidentally, by a woman named Tania. It has some of the best TripAdvisor reviews we’ve ever seen and for good cause.
The location was really something – perched out on the edge of the island with incredible views and just a 10-minute walk from the delightful little town of Pollonia. Tania’s mother Mary would make these delightful breakfasts – Mark insisted that a chocolate cake she would make was the single best thing he’d ever eaten in your life – and then you could sit for hours in the chairs facing the sea and read and sleep and tan. Until it was time to go into town for lunch where we found some really wonderful restaurants along the waterfront.
But we did more than just eat and rest. One day we took an all-day (and I mean all-day, as in nine hours long) boat trip around the island so we could see and swim in some of the more remote part of the island. While a bit too long for our taste it was a great way to see the island and the 20-or-so other people on the boat were a lot of fun. Sometimes on a tour like that you can find too many boring people but this was a fun crowd. Except for the guy from Massachusetts who was a Trump voter, but I didn’t talk to him for very long after I learned that little tidbit.
Another day we took a hike, a 12-kilometer loop from Pollonia and back. Part of the hike was nice but oddly much of the route was around and essentially through some big strip mines (bentonite, if you’re wondering). Now, spending part of my youth around the iron ore mining on the Iron Range I don’t find strip mines that interesting. And we really didn’t like the constant stream of huge trucks whizzing past us for much of the hike. Except for that, though, it was fine if not particularly noteworthy.
Bottom line? Great hotel, really good restaurants, beautiful scenery, fun boat trip. Our plan is to go to four more Cycladic islands, but so far we’re off to a damned fine start.