One of the places I insisted upon going to this time was the sacred isle of Delos. This barren island was once the center of the Cycladic Greek islands, geographically and otherwise. Going here determined that we would indeed go to Naxos, seeing as boats leave from there to Delos. These boats as it turns out, go to Mykonos as well. Which is how we ended up going to one of the most known and touristy islands, against all desire to do so. The day as it turned out, was a really long one. The boat ride to Delos was peaceful and being on the water is a favorite of mine. Delos holds history and artifacts, but unfortunately the magic was stifled due to the hordes upon hordes of people. I had this fantasy of exploring the island quietly, slowly. But the schedule is firm and only as we ventured farther and farther out did I feel any peace. But we "discovered" ancient wells and mosaics along with temples and homes. My visit to the Lion terrace was heartbreaking. One of my truly guilty pleasure films is the movie, Summer Lovers, and I had the deluded fantasy that I could walk right up to the lion (replicas) just as Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah did. Just like most sites, it was blocked off and I had to admire at a distance, feeling very disconnected to this ancient place. I accepted this and moved on, thinking I could at least sketch the real deal in the museum, but naturally it was blocked off too.
After Delos, the boat took us to Mykonos and we had no plan, no intention other than to not get sucked into mindless shopping while we were there. First things first, we wandered aimlessly along the edge of the port town, through beautiful Little Venice, finally ending up at the windmills. Once the obligatory photos were taken was when the fun really began. We sat upon a high rock, overlooking the coast, marveling that we were truly here again. At last. We walked and wandered to tiny, quiet beaches moving further and further from the crowds. After more wandering through town, and a necessary gelatto stop, we headed back to the Church of Panagia Paraportiani. We stumbled upon this church earlier and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I realize that thousands of tourists "discover" this church in the same way, but it felt like it was there just for me, heaven on Earth. So we sat and looked and sketched. While tours passed by and gave it a quick glance, we stayed and basked in it's simple lines and beauty. Like the adobe churches of New Mexico, the lines were both crisp an organic, standing out against and disappearing into the blue white sky. Who knows where you will find your own sacred spots. When you have no expectations, even no desire, the most magical things can appear. The day was long and hot, windy and draining, but there is something to the trick of being alone in the crowds, and finding the undiscovered among the endlessly explored.