Through the cool night enveloping the Aegean Sea, a full moon cast a silver hue across calm seas through which our ferry’s bow cut.
The first glimpse of the Greek, Cycladic islands was their silhouette spread against the star-studded horizon.
I was en route from Athens to the horseshoe shaped island of Milos where we docked late at night. I poured out of the ferry’s yawning hold with a motley crew of whining mo-peds and sputtering compacts and followed them onto the main street of Adamas, the port city of Milos.
My first impressions of the island would have to wait until night melted away under the hot summer sun.
Stepping onto my balcony the next morning I was mesmerized by the stunning panorama before me: Under a cloudless sky, a maze of white washed square houses with deep blue painted shutters and doors stretched before me, their property shaded by the broad branches of knotted olive trees. Adamas’ amiable inhabitants strolled down the city’s steep inclination disappearing beneath the cerulean dome of a Greek orthodox church. Many of them were heading to the city’s center for the morning market.
From a distance, I could hear the shrill sales pitches of the market’s vendors reverberating within the hills surrounding Adamas’ sapphire bay. Upon the bay’s placid surface floated a fleet of colorful fishing vessels.
To soak up the natural beauty of Milos, I spent several days cruising the countryside by mo-ped.
I drove by dry earth supporting a patchwork of vegetation. From the Northern flatlands where Adamas is located, I wound my way through valleys squeezed between immense mountains coated in black rock forged from fiery lava that flowed millions of years ago.
The valleys succumbed to cliffs circling most of the Southern coast of Milos. The hues of these cliffs were awe striking: brick red splashed with sulfur yellow that ran into a thick streak of white.
I skirted Milos’ coastline that is made up of varied types of beaches; some were of white sand, others of minute pebbles blanketing serene grottoes. The sea even differed by each shore. Although crystal clear at every beach, the water was either a light blue or green tint. Below, a flourishing marine life could be observed.
To see the sparkling depths of the Milos coast for myself, I took a snorkeling trip through pillars of stone rooted into the white, sandy bottom. A diverse array of coral grew from the pallid sands. From the corals’ crevices lurked squid and octopus flailing their arms in the gentle current. Fish wearing almost every color of the spectrum, and fat-shelled turtles gracefully swam around the stones.
In the evening, I took a trip to the small city of Plaka, which crowns one of the highest mountains on the island.
As my mo-ped sped through the countryside, I passed the ruins of a 5,000-year-old city, an amphitheater built in Roman times, and the spot where the famed Venus de Milo was found.
In Plaka, the alluring scent of roasting lamb and goat cheese forced me to stop in a rustic restaurant along a meandering cobblestone alley.
After dinner, I stood atop a viewpoint and watched the golden sun set behind the mountains of Milos’ neighboring islands.
The next day, I set sail for Athens with a heavy heart seeing I fell in love with this diverse island that is – in my eyes – one of Earth’s most marvelous and untouched paradises.
There are two main ways to visit Milos. The first and cheapest is by ferry, which leaves from the port of Athens. The second mode of transportation is by a charter plane departing from Athens.
The flight is pricier than a ferry ticket, but worth the extra money if vacation time is short and a speedier transport to the island is needed.
About Milos — “The Island of Colors”
•MILOS is the most western island of the Cyclades. The Cyclades are the group of about 220 islands that can be found off mainland Greece in the Aegean Sea.
•MILOS is a volcanic island formed by the subduction of the African Plate under the minor Aegean Plate.
•THE ISLAND has about 5,500 inhabitants, spread over seven small towns.
•MILOS has a total surface of 151 square kilometers and more than 70 beaches.
Information courtesy of www.milostravel.com/, www.encyclopedia.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclades.