|We literally wended our way through the labyrinthine alley ways of Mykonos, from our hotel to the harbour, where we purchased 20 Euro tickets for the half hour boat ride to the Island of Delos. There were only 12 of us tourists in this off season, so we had plenty of room and enjoyed the 21 degree sunshine from the top deck.
Delos is supposedly the birthplace of Apollo, and was once the economic and power centre of the Mediterranean.
It is dated to the Bronze Age. The only inhabitants are the government contracted archeological staff who stay for 7 months at a time, then are unemployed for the next year, so others can have work. I was told by one 34 year old staff woman who was finishing her contract in three days and looking forward to returning to Athens, that they receive a 5 month pension, then have to "survive" the next 7 months before they can apply to work in another archeological site. The economy is not great and they have to share jobs. This was a woman who could speak several languages, was educated, had spent three years in the Israelli army in 'special forces', and who taught boxing. She would run around the five mile circumference of the island, to keep in shape, every day, after the tourists left.
The island is 85 square kilometres, and usually gets strong winds from Africa blowing over it. There are sheep, goats, rabbits, lots of big snails, and tons of ruins. What strikes you upon arriving at the dock are the thousands of broken pillars, huge marble slabs, rock walls, and still standing Ionic columns from one side of your visual perspective to the other. We wandered for the 2 1/2 hours allotted to us among the acres of historical ruins. We strolled 'the sacred way', sat on enormous marble benches, wondered about life in ancient slave days, and checked out the carved lions and the ancient wine vessels. The others explored the theatre area while I stayed in the shade talking with the staff, before leisurely strolling down the avenues alone, back towards the pier. I think if we had come during the summer season, it would have been much more irritating dealing with thousands of tourists everywhere.