The next morning, we rose to the sight of Mykonos across the harbor, and via tender we soon stood among its über-hip islanders popping offselfies by the dozen. But here was something different: Gay men (and some lesbians) populated the scenery so ubiquitously it felt like we’d been teleported to an upscale fusion of Provincetown, the Fire Island Pines, and Palm Springs. We were giddy at the sudden queerness of it all, until we were struck by the sheer volume of people everywhere.
Desperate to restore our newfound Greek tranquility, we escaped from the main drag, heading up the hill along Mykonos’s iconic white-painted walkways to wander and browse away from the throngs. We broke for afternoon cocktails at the edge of “Little Venice,” a row of colorful houses built precariously over the sea, acrossfrom the island’siconic Windmills of Kato Mili. Along that bay, cute gay-centric restaurants offer views and bites, like The Piano Bar (24 Ag. Anargyron. Tel: 30-2289-02-3719. www.thepianobar.com), Rhapsody (22 Ag. Anargiron), and Galleraki Bar (Little Venice. Tel: 30-2289-02-7188. www.galleraki.com).
Mykonos has an undeniable party vibe, with cocktails generally going for luxury-club prices (north of 15 euros each). By contrast, shops around town sell reasonably priced, often handcrafted textiles, jewelry, housewares, and souvenirs. And it’s surprisingly easy to eat affordably at counter-order cafés like delicious Sakis Grill House (7 Kalogera 7. Tel: 30-22-8902-4848. sakisgrillhouse.yolasite.com) and Jimmy’s Gyros (Iakka Street. Tel: 30-22-8902-8745.).
It was fun to experience the more cosmopolitan vibe of Mykonos, and while Paradise Beach nightclub (Paradise Beach. Tel: 30-69-4946-8227. www.paradiseclubmykonos.com) and other destination/resort clubs there promised memorable party time, we opted for a more low-key experience. We settled in for super-fresh seafood at family-owned, LGBTQ friendly Katarina’s (8 Mikonou, Agii Anargiri. Tel: 30-2289-02-3084. www.katerinaslittlevenicemykonos.com), accompanied by a romantic sunset over the sea.
Our sailing cruise was winding down, so there was a tinge of sadness as we last docked at the port of Monemvasia. The tiny town marks the far southeastern point of Peloponnese, Greece’s southern peninsula. Along with a historic fortress and chapels, and a handful of small touristic businesses, Monemvasia is home to a long, curved beach lined with casual open-air restaurants.
Joined by some Star Flyer buddies, Denise and I floated in the crystal-clear water. We savored our final hours on our sailing adventure, wishing we could somehow capture the beauty. And in a way we did, because we’ll always harbor memories of the wondrous Aegean Sea, our clipper gliding across it, and a newfound love for Greece.