Category: Quirks & curiosities in Greece

Only on Mykonos! A bizarre ‘table dancing’ performance from a 1960s travel film


 This excerpt from a travel promotion shows scenes from Mykonos Town from sometime in the early 1960s


I love seeing old photos and films from Athens and the various Greek Islands we have visited so far — especially if they show places like Mykonos before traditional island life gave way to the glitz and glamour of high-end hotels, shops and restaurants aimed at affluent international tourists.

So it was fun to find this black and white tourism promotion film with scenes of Mykonos Town in the early 1960s before it was drastically transformed by extensive tourism-related development.

But besides views of the town’s iconic cube-shaped white buildings, its maze of cobblestone streets, and the island’s famous pelican mascot, Petros, the film includes an odd table dancing demonstration performed for the entertainment of tourists at a taverna.

Footage of what the film narrator describes as “a very strange performance” starts around the 2:10 mark of the video.

It shows “a very special talent by an enterprising young man,” the narrator says.

You’ll have to see it for yourself to believe it. It’s nothing like the Zorba the Greek dance that tourists might get to see while visiting Greece nowadays!


Quirks & Curiosities: On Samos, you don’t even have to pull off the street to gas up your car!


a gas station in Vathi on Samos

This Eko gas station occupies the ground level of a building on a commercial and residential street in the town of Vathi, on Samos. The fuel pumps sit on the edge of the road, smack up against the front of the building. 


Sidewalk station: While we were walking around the main town of Vathi shortly after arriving on Samos in May 2010, we were surprised to see a pair of fuel pumps standing beside a building midway up a residential and commercial street, just a short stroll from the waterfront. Only a few feet away sat a sign advertising prices for unleaded (€1.596) and “super” (€1.603), while a “no smoking” decal was pasted to the windows between the two pumps. At first we thought the pumps might be just an attention-getting part of a modern art installation outside a contemporary gallery, but then we noticed the Eko sign sticking out from a corner on the building’s second floor. It really was a gas station.

I can’t recall ever seeing a service station with fuel pumps positioned literally on the edge of a road, let alone mere inches from the side of a building. And I had never seen one operating from the ground level of a building in the middle of a street full of shops and apartments, either. I’m fairly certain that, in North America, putting gas pumps so close to a building or a roadway would probably contravene fire codes, safety laws and myriad other regulations.

The station was closed, so we didn’t get to watch anybody stop for a fill-up. But imagine the convenience of not having to pull your car off the road and into a service station to get gas!


a street in Vathi on Samos

The red, white and blue sign for the Eko gas station is visible above the cars parked halfway up the block on the left side of the street


a gas station in Vathi on Samos

Another view of the Eko station, from a different angle


Quirks & curiosities: Our windowless cave-style Santorini hotel room with its low ‘hobbit’ door


Cliffside Suites Santorini Room 119

Room 119 at Grotto Villas/Cliff Side Suites in Firostefani had no window …


Grotto Villas Cliffside Suites Suite 119

… and the door was only 5 feet 5 inches tall. Don’t forget to duck!


Head knocker: Santorini is world-renowned for spectacular scenery, and its magnificent caldera views drew us back to the island three consecutive years in a row. We just couldn’t get enough of the breathtaking landscape, colourful clifftop villages and endless views of the gorgeous blue Aegean Sea. So imagine our reaction when we arrived at the Grotto Villas/Cliff Side Suites hotel in Firostefani to discover that our assigned room — #119 — didn’t even have a window!


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Quirks & curiosities: Castle-sized room key in Naxos


Naxos Beach II hotel room key

Our biggest hotel room key — ever — had to be the one that opened our studio at the Naxos Beach II hotel on a hillside in the Stelida district of Naxos.


Naxos Beach II hotel room key

The key was’t just big, but it was heavy, too. It nearly poked a hole in my shorts pocket, so we turned it in to reception every time we left the hotel.


Naxos Beach II hotel room key

 Here I am wielding the big key after opening our studio’s split door