I recently visited Mykonos arriving by plane from Athens, a short effortless flight which went by so quickly I hadn’t realised that we had already arrived. Meeting us at the airport was the driver from the hotel, the Apollonia Hotel & Villas. The short drive to the hotel takes you through the village of Ornos which has a great beach, well worth spending the day here drinking in the atmosphere. After Ornos the road winds up a hill dropping down the other side into the sparkling blue bay of Agios Giannis, better known for its ‘Shirley Valentine’ beach as the film was set here in the 80’s. Having checked into our room which had fantastic views over the bay we decided to hire a car, the weather being typically ‘un-Mykonian’ with grey skies and brooding, laden clouds.
We decided to look for somewhere to have lunch and ended up in Ornos, the village we had passed earlier. Driving to the central square I started looking for somewhere to park and was just about to leave when the driver of a parked car beckoned to me that he was leaving. Thus we parked right outside the Trattoria Farina, an atmospheric Italian styled restaurant which looked more like a deli. We had pasta and a salad which was very tasty, very Italian and very reasonable. After lunch we decided to explore the island and ended up by the airport. Taking a couple of forks randomly, the narrow single lane followed the perimeter of the airport with dry stone walls marking out the fields and properties. We passed a couple of cows in a field and couldn’t understand why their heads and legs had been tethered together. We backed up to take a closer look and deduced that the animals could hardly move, almost as if the farmer was afraid they might escape, a weird and cruel practice not seen elsewhere. Pushing on we eventually found the main road leading to Ano Mera by sheer luck, sign posting not being a Greek forte it seems.
Ano Mera didn’t look that appealing so we drove through without stopping, taking a right just outside the town and following a sign to Kalo Livadi beach and the Pietra e Mare Hotel. The bay is sandwiched between two headlands which offer some protection from the winds. Despite the cloudy weather and cool breeze the water looked inviting and we were sorely tempted to take a dip. Behind the wide sandy beach, decked with sun loungers and umbrellas, there are three excellent restaurant-bars; had we not already eaten this would have been a great place for lunch. Instead we explored a steep narrow road leading up the side of the cliff to the left taking you to the Pietra e Mare Hotel, a smart ‘couple’s only’ boutique hotel. The views of the bay from here are magical so it might be well worth considering this hotel if you’re looking for a beach-side location. However, with the weather drawing in still further and the first signs of an imminent shower we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel.