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Delos Island location in the Aegean Sea

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Delos is one of my most favorite places on the planet and this September I had the opportunity to visit again. Aboard a traditional wooden yacht, we sailed the Aegean Sea, visiting many of its fantastic Islands. Mykonos, Santoni, Siphnos and Paros, to name a few.

Delos Island, view from mt Cynthos

Being on the board, you have the special experience of seeing and feeling your skin in nature. The saltiness of the sea, the air, the sounds of the waves and of the seagulls and the colors of the sunset are unique. It’s something that I’ve done several times, but the feeling is exactly the same as when we hear a song we like. Every time is like the first time. You never get bored.

We departed from Mykon\os where we overnight early in the morning, and we stopped right in the middle of the strait between Delos to Rheneia Island. I wore my trekking shoes, took my camera, a backpack, hat, glasses and some sun protection cream.

Walking uphill

I placed the camera inside a plastic bag in case we got wet on board the zodiak. And there I was. Ready to rediscover Delos Island. The crew lifted down the dinghy and after two or three routes all passengers were disembarked at the ancient and sacred island.

Ancient mosaic in Delos Island

Listening to the engine of the boat fading away and gazing at the ruins of the ancient city, I felt a beautiful feeling. No “civilization”, no more houses, cars, bustle, traffic lights. What an incredible pleasure for the mind!

I took the gravel road that leads to the temple of Aphrodite and slowly climbed the steep path. The view as you proceed becomes even more exciting. I shot several photos on the route and I was glad for the extra memory card and battery that I had taken with me.

I continued the steep stone path in order to reach the highest point of the island, the top of Mount Cynthos, from where the view is nothing less than terrific. Arriving there, I realized three things. The first was that the view was breathtaking. I had the whole Aegean Sea at my feet.

I saw Mykonos and Rheneia Island, the azure-blue sea, the ancient buildings down, far away, the wooden yacht between the two close Islands as an old pirate hull that awaited us.

The other two things I realized were that I needed to lose some weight and exercise more often. My extra pounds weren’t helping at all walking this – not so steep to be hones- cobble uphill road.

God Apollo and his sister Artemis

Looking down at Delos from above, I thought about the rich history of the island. According to mythology, the twin’s god Apollo and goddess Artemis were born here. In antiquity the island became a great cultural, commercial and religious center and gained major attention in the ancient world as its influence and power were great.

The Athenians founded the Athenian League after the Persian wars, with its center on Delos. It is said that 30,000 people once lived on this small island!

Many centuries later, when the island lost its glory and power, it was ruined. I seem that history always repeats itself. People from the surrounding islands came and took the marble to build their houses or to make lime. The result was catastrophic for this great center of the past.

On my descent from the mountain, I passed by the House of the dolphins, the House of Dionysus, the ancient theatre, and many more amazing historical locations, but I’ll spare you all the details. I walked through the alleys between the ancient houses.

The House of the Dolphins, Delos Island

The tall stone walls and the surrounding area create a strong evocative effect. You have the impression that you’ve made a time jump through a time gate caused by some unknown Quantic power, and you’ve been beamed into the past, 2,500 years ago.

If you plan to visit the Cyclades, do not miss the unique chance to see Delos -which is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can take a half-day guided excursion from Mykonos.

If your budget and your mood seek something different, I strongly suggest you get on board a yacht heading to the Cyclades. Greece is a peninsula with 14,000 km of coastline and 6,000 islands and islets. What better way to explore it if not on a yacht?

 

? Paco

 

 

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Herodion Theatre, entrance