Petros the Mykonos pelican struck this pose for Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography on May 14
He’s still there! The Mediterranean’s most famous bird, Petros the pelican, is alive and well and braced for the onslaught of tourist paparazzi that will flock to Mykonos during the next six months.
Since last year, several people have emailed me to ask if Petros, the unofficial mascot of Mykonos, is truly still alive, because they didn’t see the long-beaked bird while visiting the island. I fielded numerous requests to recommend places where people would have the best chance to get their pictures taken with the big pink pelican.
One woman told me she was convinced the pelican had died because she and her young children had unsuccessfully scoured the streets of Mykonos Town for days in desperate search of Petros, with whom the kids were keen to pose for pictures. The youngsters were tremendously disappointed, as were a few adults who wrote to me wondering if the bird had flown to another island or was being deliberately kept out of sight.
But Petros is still strolling the cobblestone streets of Mykonos Town to the amusement and delight of travellers from around the world.
From my experience, you can usually find the pelican on the Mykonos Town waterfront, near the Paraportiani Church, or at Niko’s Taverna, which keeps him well fed with fresh fish treats.
A big thanks to Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography for sending me these photos he shot of Petros on May 14.
Petros sits for another portrait by photographer Antoine Nikolopoulos
Musician Andreas Tsironis plays the bouzouki while one of the island’s famous pelicans preens on the wall behind him in the Kastro area of Mykonos Town
Tunes for tourists: Cruise ship passengers who headed for the Kastro area of Mykonos Town in hopes of seeing one of the famous Mykonos pelicans, as well as the iconic Paraportiani Church, got a triple treat while visiting the island recently.
They not only got to see both the church and one of the popular birds in the same place, but they also got to enjoy some live musical entertainment at the same time, courtesy of a local bouzouki busker.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
All quiet on the northern front: Even though it was a gorgeous morning, very few people were out and about when I walked past the Remezzo area of Mykonos Town at 10 a.m.
[Editor’s Note: This is the latest instalment in a series of reports on my 2012 vacation. Those of you who have already read Part 1 and Part 2 may want to go back and take another look through those posts — I have added several videoclips to each part.]
Thursday May 17
Sounds of silence: My fourth day on Mykonos started off with brilliant sunshine and plenty of peace and quiet.
The breakfast room at Hotel Tagoo was almost empty, with just a handful of guests showing up during the time I was there. It seemed like most people were sleeping in to recover from either a late night on the town or too much fun at the beaches the day before. Two guests who did make it down for breakfast told me that a friend of theirs from Mykonos would be taking them on an early afternoon driving tour around part of the island. They had room for a fourth person, and invited me to tag along. They planned to visit some beaches I had not seen in a few years, plus at least one I had never been to before, so I jumped at the opportunity to join them.
Since I had a few hours to fill before the island drive about, but didn’t feel like laying in the sun by the pool, I took a walk into town. The streets were surprisingly quiet and empty with practically no vehicular traffic and pedestrians. It was incredibly serene — and almost surreal — hearing only birdsong and sound of my shoes on the pavement. I didn’t expect that, at 10 a.m., I would have most of the Tagoo area and much of Mykonos Town all to myself. A cruise ship was docked at Tourlos, so I fully expected to run into groups of tourists wandering around, but the parking area next to the Old Port (where the cruise ship shuttle buses drop passengers off) was eerily quiet. I passed fewer than a dozen people during my 10-minute walk between the port and Taxi Square.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Air Transat logo on a winglet of the Airbus jet that flew me from Toronto to Athens
My Mykonos, Paros and Attica/Glyfada trip report
What follows is an edited and significantly expanded version of a trip report I posted on TripAdvisor.com shortly after returning from my holiday in Greece this past spring. I have added more extensive details to the text, and have included dozens of photographs to illustrate the report.
Sunday May 13: Flight from Toronto to Athens
I flew Air Transat, the Canadian charter airline I have flown on all of my trips to Greece. The flight was about two-thirds full when it left Toronto just past lunchtime on Sunday May 13. It stopped in Montreal for 90 minutes to collect more passengers and load the food and beverage carts for our 9-hour overnight flight to Athens. During the stopover, a flight attendant told a passenger sitting behind me that, with the additional passengers from Montreal, the flight was nearly full. (On all of my previous flights to Greece, except one, we flew direct to Athens; this year, Air Transat’s May flights stopped in Montreal because fewer people were travelling to Greece at the time and there wasn’t enough passenger demand to justify direct flights from both cities.)
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2