Bitch, We Are All Mykonians
Imagine a guy like me half naked in Mykonos town, in the middle of the afternoon, quite obviously being supergay – in between dozens of Christian churches, surrounded by tiny white houses of tradition, authenticity, and strong values. I’m tattooed all over – star of David, the Muslim’s moon and star, the Tibetan “Ommmm”, topped with a Little Prince quote on my back: “You only see clear, if you look with your heart”.
One must wonder how do the people of Mykonos town deal with such multinational, cosmopolitan way of looking at spirituality and sexuality. Surprise-surprise: in this tiny island of world peace, no one gives a damn – the old Greek, clearly Christian man passing by gave a warm and kind “Shalom” to me.
How did this paradise come to life while the rest of the world is slaughtering everything what’s unfamiliar? Through conversation – traditional Mykonians remained open to changes, and the open minded, liberal, free thinking tourists understood that they are all welcomed here. During one of the many parties at Jackie O’ Beach I ran into a rather sexy, bearded prince, and after a quick conversation I learnt he is from Cairo, Egypt. As I told him I live in Tel Aviv he hugged and kissed me, and introduced me to his Italian friends, explaining them why never to judge someone by being an Arab or a Jew. In Mykonos Libanees boys and Israeli guys are best playmates – thanks to having a greater desire to love, than to justify and declare our differences. Why can’t our governments do the same?
Here’s something what I learnt from the inspiring story of Mykonos: never undervalue a person who you think is “not on your level”. We should all appreciate challenging conversations, because they are poking our brains to get more stimulated, inspired, and give us desperate desire to experience the real exciting stuff. And by the end of this hopefully both the conventional and the rebel understands that reality is never one sided. As Mariano Gallo aka Priscilla Drag often says after his performances: “Here we are happy for the gay bitches, we are very happy to welcome straight boys and girls, and we are especially happy when we see families arriving with children.” And if the Queen of Mykonos says so, who are we to veto?
The reason my husband and I will return to Mykonos next year – apart from the fabulous parties and cocktails, the outrageously beautiful men, the pumping music, the never-ending sweet sunshine, caressing wind, crystal clear see – is that on this “La Isla Bonita” every side of the truth is accepted. Oh, and because within 48 hours spent on the island we heard 24 Madonna songs played at clubs – including my personal summer anthem, Bitch, I’ Madonna.
And now, enough of the foreplay, let’s get deep into, and high on Mykonos – as our pilot said right before landing – “The Island of Enjoyment”.
The man, who knows it all
No matter if you need a ride to the airport, wish to visit a spa, go for a wine tasting tour, sail around the island, or rent your own private helicopter, Pako Summer is the guy for you. Founder and soul of www.Mykonia.com, a unique “insider” site offers accommodation, and Mykonian experiences one can only get from a local.
Italian-born Pako spent all his recent summers on the Island – his genuine curiosity and professionalism turned him into the greatest expert of Mykonos. My personal tip? Take a romantic road trip with his cool vintage cabriolet called “Boo Boo”, and ride the wind around the wildest, less touristic coasts of the island of joy.
How to get around?
Mykonos is a tiny little Island – taking a road trip around the shores takes about half a day, occasional dipping in the hidden beaches included. Even as someone who is only planning to party and not to hit the road, you do need a vehicle to get around. Scooters can be rented for about 20 Euros per day, and if you wanna go fancy, you can get awesome Vespas, Jeeps, and funny looking kwads. There’s also a boat leaving from Ornos beach taking travellers trough the most popular shores of the Island.
There are of course taxis on Mykonos, but rumor has it there are only about two dozens, and you don’t want to be late from Priscilla’s performance by the sunset on Jackie O’ Beach, just because you’ve been waiting for your ride. Good news: most hotels and privately rented apartments are happy to give you a ride after landing on Mykonos, or (in a deep depression over the end of the holiday) leaving to the airport.
Our favorite beach – surprisingly – was not the flamboyant gay beach of Elia (the the most playful ones are behind the cliffs, so they say…), or the city beach of Megali Ammos, but the family-friendly, cozy, yet exclusive and posh Ornos beach. Our apartment, Casa Mare was just between Mykonos Town and Ornos village, yet we always found ourselves driving down to our favorite spot.
The North beaches are less touristic, and more windy – local families, adventurous nature boys and girls, and surfers favorites. Super Paradise is the “party beach” – expect dancing on the table by 4 PM, and Jackie O’ Beach is the “must” place for every early evening, as The Gay Pool Pary is happening right here every day throughout the season.
Where’s the party?
First of all, everywhere. As you lay down on the beach, still recovering from last night, cool and chilled deep house beats are played, putting you right in the mood to have your first cocktail – who cares if it’s not even noon yet. Betch, you are in Mykonos!
The real party starts at Jackie O’ Beach, where they serve killer cocktails – try the passion fruit daiquiri for 14 Euros, or the local favorite beer, Mythos for 7, so easy and smooth to drink, I’m missing it every day ever since we came back home. At 6 the one and only Priscilla and her stage sister, Lenn are performing an absolutely flawless drag show. Well known club hits, rarities from Julie Andrews and Marilyn Monroe, unexpected theatrical performances (Take Me To Church by Mariano Gallo took our breath), and stand-up-comedy-level interactions with the audience – this is what the duo offers to the crowd.
The leader of the gang is with no doubt Priscilla, AKA Mariano Gallo – the Italian drag phenomenon recently generated hell a lot of international buzz, pushing a bitch in the swimming pool as the girl dared to cross hesr stage while performing. RuPaul’s Facebook page re-posted the event, so by now the whole world knows: no one messes with Queen Priscilla. Follow her on Instagram as @Priscilla_Mykonos
After the pool party ends, you better go home, take a shower, eat something light, and go to bed – because the city does not wake up until 2 AM. Of course restaurants and bars are open, but the real party starts at 2, and goes on until 8 AM – seriously, at 6.30 the energy is still super-high. Jackie O’ Bar is the place where everyone goes. Put on your Grindr, have a vodka tonic, and hop on the table as the DJ plays Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Britney, Avicii, Diplo, Beyoncé, Kylie, and of course loads of Madonna. Priscilla and Lenn take stage around 2 – with a whole different costume and set list as earlier on the beach. Right next to the building another cool club invites you to dance to progressive grooves: Babylon plays more electronic music, and has more space on the dance floor. There’s nothing like you on an almost empty dance floor doing “Who Run The World? – Girls!” at 6 AM, right? For a local gay bar experience visit Porta, where the DJ is super sweet and will play your favorite song.
And for all the non-gays, just by walking around Mykonos town it’s impossible not wanting to go into every single bar and club dancing a bit. Here’s “Macarena”, there’s Aretha Franklin is screamin’, elsewhere Greek hits are played. Just follow the white brick road where your dancing shoes are taking ya.
There are tons of cocktail bars in Mykonos, but if you wanna do the real thing, you don’t want to miss out on the most authentic, fantastic and surprising bar in town. Montparnasse – The Piano Bar is housed here for over 3 decades, putting on a little cabaret show every single night, even throughout the winter.
Incredible singer and entertaining show hostess Kathy “Babe” Robinson has worked half her life entertaining audiences from Manhattan, Boston, Key West, St. Thomas, to Mykonos, Greece with her signature mix of standards, jazz, soulful ballads and high energy performances of everything from rock to contemporary. It’s a real joy to listen to her rough, yet clear voice, and she always have a surprising, funny line to sneak into the well known lyrics.
All this while we enjoyed a swell drink with Mykonos’s famous windmills behind as she gave an epic new meaning to Eurivison “bearded lady”, Conchita Wurst’s major hit, Rise Like A Phoenix.
A vegan in Mykonos
I’m not gonna lie, Mykonos is not vegan paradise just yet – especially for someone coming from Tel Aviv, the most rapidly developing vegan metropolis on the face of Earth. Yet it’s not difficult to eat clean, and healthy food: the supermarkets are flooded with fresh, perfectly ripe avocados, tomatoes which actually taste and smell like good old tomatoes, and not like water.
Try AB Supermarket in Ornos – they even have tahini, vegan cheese, and a wide range of delicious antipasti, like cooked beetroot, grilled peppers and sundried tomatoes. Here’s your local bar as well: if you want to save for shopping, mix your cocktails at home. We got ouzo, vodka, Malibu rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, tonic, a bunch or beers, Chardonnay – a cheap yet satisfying Greek one -, and a Merlot for the pasta dinner we were planning ahead. We created burgers, stews, “meat” balls, grilled veggie platters, and incredible vegan breakfasts on this tiny stow, overlooking Megali Ammos beach and the breathtaking sunset.
Yet if you wish to go out as a vegan, you do have the option: Niko’s Place, a typical and magical Greel taverna is sitting right on Megali Ammos beach, and they serve hummus, antipasti, greek giant beans in tomato sauce, salads, and more. The pest pizza in town is at Casa Di Gorgio, where they bake crispy Roman pizzas – we had one packed with perfectly grilled veggies and fresh basil. Marechiaro by the “Starbucks roundabout” is The Naples Place – with “DaMichelle style” pizza. Go for it on drunken nights – will soak up all the buzz so you’ll get ready for having dessert in bed.
Get sum culture, betch
Sometimes we felt a bit useless partying, cooking, beaching and sleeping – so we eased our guilt with a culture trip to Delos, an insane archaeological sight, dedicated to the ancient Greek Gods. Walking between the walls of the once fancy houses of the rich and religious, seeing the beheaded statues – ruined by the Brits in the 1600s – I was thinking how history is always repeating itself, because we, humans have a very short memory…
We also found out that Delos housed the first ever synagogue in Europe, yet the building is not even highlighted on the map the visitors get by the entrance. However, it absolutely worth two times 24 Euros – 19 each on the boat getting us there, and 5 each for entering the sight. The landscape is incredible, climbing the hill you can see the sea and the surrounding island in 360 degrees, and you feel very tiny, yet very powerful.
Beautiful killer, I’ll dress you up with my love
After all the cocktails and party nights a boy’s got to go to rehab – I went for a beauty treatment at Sea of Spa, my husband got a killer “top knot'” slash “punk” haircut at Aveda, the most professional Italian salon in Mykonos town (ask for Fabrizio), and of course we went shopping. Mykonos town is full of exciting and interesting stores, selling Italian designer sunglasses, sexy underpants, surprisingly awesome and really expensive clothing by Greek designers, and so much more.
The best thing to do is just go in zig-zags and discover all the small streets – the center of the town is tiny, and 2 walks in the city covers all the shops in the commercial area. It’s refreshing that the stores are open until 3AM, and although they sell everything from Prada to Tezenis and Benetton, the authenticity of the old city didn’t get ruined by westernisation. Personal tip: check out 55 men’s wear. Mostly underwear. Sexy ones. Very sexy ones.
Road trip time! – Romantic village, lovely family, delish wine
One day we decided to take a day and getaway from – imagine me saying this in a dramatic, complaining tone – all the noise of the parties and non-stop beeping of Grindr messages. Only for a few hours of course. We visited the Vioma Family Farm – put on your GPS or Waze, otherwise you’ll never find it. The tiny vinery and organic family farm is a romantic dream come true.
Expect classical music played for the grapes, a cute donkey who’s happy to finish your bread if u don’t want it anymore, a doggie being obsessed with gently biting your nose, a rosy-cheeked Greek girl telling fun stories about the farm and the family, and her “Papa”, who’s serving delicious dishes and incredibly rich wines. Flavorful and fruity white, deep-yet-playful red, and a dessert wine which if I had it in my house, would be locked up in a safe box, it’s so sinfully tasty. And now to the Instagram pics – follow me as @WhitecityBoy to find out more details about each Insta photo, taken by my Microsoft Lumia camera.
Thank you for everyone who made our Mykonian holiday unforgettable – mostly for Pako Summer from www.Mykonia.com, and to Mariano Gallo who is one of the major inspirations for us to return to the island every summer. Thank you to everyone who danced with us, who we laughed so much with, who we shared moments lasting forever with.
I can honestly say, every time I leave Mykonos, a part of me says: “Hey, why don’t you guys open up a vegan restaurant for the whole summer?” And then I tell myself…