It’s been an atypical May in Italy this year with abundant and steady rains and unpredictable Northern skies. We decide to escape it and get on a direct flight from Milan to Mykonos. We land on a Thursday afternoon. There’s a pale sun in the sky and a light wind is blowing. At the end of our week on the island, we will have got to know this wind very well. To understand the direction and the strength of it is something you learn fast and that creates complicity between you and the island. If there’s a strong Meltemi, a dry wind from the North that arrives from Russia and warms up on the way, we will have to avoid the beaches on the north: Agios Sostis and Fokos. They’re our gems: wild, no beach umbrellas and chairs and no bar, just an isolated tavern where to gather for a meal. Marinated octopus, grilled calamari, spinach with sunflower seeds and Manouri (a Greek cheese similar to feta but more creamy, fresh and sweet), lentils salad and homemade almond ice cream. At first sight Mykonos appears like a plain, spacious land, as wide as a butterfly with open wings. It’s a low horizon of dry rugged hills with common wild flowers, dotted with bright white houses and churches. The roofs are either blue or burgundy. You can spot Catholic and Orthodox crosses and skinny animals as dry as the landscape. Yet, when you land on the island, you discover steep climbs and descents and views over a dazzling turquoise sea. The locals often tell you that Italians and Greeks are very similar. There’s a mix of irony and sweetness in their eyes when they say it, the same you could see in the eyes of a wife looking at her husband after a life together. Because of the proximity between the two lands, here you find the same Mediterranean smells. Yet, they reach a new emotional intensity. Just like kids, we keep brushing our fingers against the grass and then bringing them close to the nose to smell them. We want to find out what is it that makes the air that we breathe here so special. Mykonos is like an agricultural dictionary, where to re-learn the names of the plants and the animals of your childhood. Poppy. Chicken. Sheep. Wild carrot. Donkey. Dandelion.
Words and pictures Meraviglia Paper.