Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Island of Delos by Margot Justes

I wanted to be the first one to visit Europe with my grandchildren. Sydney will be twelve by the time we leave, and Anthony will be nine. Right now he’s more interested in the fact that the cruise ship will have a basketball court, and a swimming pool, and the gelato bar won’t hurt either.  He’ll go along with anything that is selected. So it’s up to Sydney to select the excursions, and pick what she wants to see.

Both kiddies are avid readers, but Sydney gets to choose. I loaned her a few of my travel books. One of our stops this summer will be Mykonos, Greece. For Valentine’s day I bought them a journal so that they could write about their  experiences. Anthony was excited, and actually picked his own journal.

I asked Sydney what she wanted to see in Mykonos. She looked through the guide book, and said ‘I’d like to see Delos.’ I explained that it is a live dig, not a touristy place, and that the only thing she’ll see were  ruins. Unbelievable ruins, but still ruins. I wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be disappointed.  Her reply was simple, ‘I like ruins

I’m looking forward to seeing it through their eyes. Delos is by no means a touristy visit. Below is a 
blog I wrote right after my first visit there three years ago.

I included pictures of Mykonos as well, it is a lively and lovely island.

About a thirty minute ferry ride from Mykonos is the island of Delos. And what an island  it is. There are approximately 25 people there, all either archeologists or security personnel.

The island is bare, there are no snack shops, no hotels, no restaurants, the only bathroom is on the museum, and the wind can whip up in a quick frenzy. The island is in fact quite desolate.  And absolutely stunning. 

There is a museum, that is the only modern accommodation for the tourist. Books and other Delos souvenirs can be bought there, but that is the extent of the touristy trade. The rest of the island is in ruins. Magnificent ruins. It is an immense site and one not easily forgotten.

Delos is said to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Archeological traces indicate the island was inhabited as early as 3000 B.C. Some of the ruins are so well preserved that you can actually imagine what the structures looked like and how they were utilized.

From the Doric Temple of Isis to the Archaic Lions to the mosaic floors that are to this day in great shape. Truly inspiring, when you think about the age of those mosaics and remnants of ancient buildings.

Off the beaten path, I observed an archeologist crouched on a low portable chair, a pad and pencil in hand as he meticulously measured something on the ground and then put it on paper. I snuck up on him and watched as he quietly continued his research. Time stood still and the serenity on the island was disturbed only by the fierce whipping wind.

If you ever find yourself in Mykonos, do take the time to visit Delos. I promise, you will not be disappointed, you will in fact be enthralled. The terrain is rough, wear comfortable shoes, you will be walking in worn and uneven footsteps that are three thousand years old . It doesn't get better than that.
Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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