I recently went on the dreamiest trip for my baby moon. My fiancé, Paul, let me choose the destination: Greece. It was a place I was eager to check off my bucket list, and I will certainly go back. Next time, hopefully not pregnant.
MEMORIES IN Mykonos
Everything is perfectly picturesque; white stucco homes with blue doors, punctuated with hanging flower pots and magenta bougainvillea bushes growing wild up the sides. The windy roads in the city center known as Chora were intended to ward of thieves that locals exaggerate to tourists as pirates. It’s a beautiful sight to see and easy to get lost in this labrynth. While on this trip I learned that every year before high season, the Greeks repaint their stucco homes to keep a finished clean look. Every few years they have to peel off all the layers before they repeat the process.
My clean white hotel room at the Cavo Tagoo
For this trip, I packed loosely fitting dresses and skirts. I was obsessed with the idea of bringing a bunch of linens to wear; it’s Greece! Truthfully, I wish I held back on bringing all the linens I own since I could have had more room in my suitcase to bring more home of finer quality from the local boutiques. Linens are cool to touch, smooth and get softer with repeated washing. They require a lot of attention to weave into cloth without breaking threads which is why they were originally only attainable by the upper class in ancient times. The fibers do not stretch, and the longer and softer these fibers are, the higher the quality. I learned that the length confirms that the flax were hand-harvested. When shopping, be careful and read the tag to make sure that it was actually made in Greece, as there are also touristy traps of mass-produced mercantile. The first written evidence of a linen comes from clay tablets of Pylos, Greece
At the moment, I have been trying to get away with sizing up rather than purchasing maternity clothes, but I am quickly learning that, as the end approaches, this is no longer going to work. Many people have been asking how the hell I still wear the heels, and to be honest I look for comfort but prefer the height — without them I feel like a meatball because of my baby bump. Pregnancy causes your feet to swell so I have been going up a full size to allow room for comfort especially in warm climates. Mack told me I had to ditch the stiletto and she is right. Pregnancy makes you more prone to injury because of lack of balance and your body over-compensating, so I am sticking to a wedge or block heel for the remainder of my pregnancy. (Editors note: Melissa is insane, I will be wearing Birkenstocks – Mack)
Special thank you to my patient/amazing fiancé Paul for taking a zillion pics of me in order to find my flattering angles and hiding my love handles (the best we could). However don’t be fooled, he can be as much of a diva and has a better selfie game than anyone else. Many enjoy following his snapchat and insta stories that have a 30+ second count with shameless commentary. You hate to love watching. Also, yes he is wearing two patterns of camo #zerofucks
The native Greeks had a worldly, boho hora. I met a cool old woman in her late 80’s that lives in a cave on a mountainside in Kalua Beach. She is apparently a local legend with a fun, kindred spirit, an amazing head of hair, and story told, a better sex life than my single friends at home (you go girl!) Another local I met was a yoga teacher that had bruises all over from jujitsu that she does on the side of her yoga practice. She was super cool, so friendly, and unfiltered — untouched by the conformed US influences of mass media, and full of positive energies instead. Just fearless and pure human being. The beach clubs are hott international scenes spinning deep house. The beach opportunities are endless on the infinite coastline of the Greek isles, some beaches turning up parties harder than others. My fave relaxing day spot of the places I went was Principote on Panormos Beach (see the photos below). Only thing I regret was missing out on the cabana foot massage. If the nice woman made her rounds again, I was going to go for it!
My favorite spot by far for sunset parties, along with everyone else I am sure, was the holistic yet luxuries Scorpios featuring famous world DJs (like Burning Man’s own Behrouz). Santanna is the newest epicenter but was not opened yet when we were there and supposedly has a similar Global line-up.
Principote | Panormos Beach
The service everywhere was impeccable and we learned the people work in Mykonos and Santorini for the summer high-season, but mainly live in Athens. Paul and I went a week or two before high-season goes into full effect. We were there on the early side because this was the latest possible time my doctor recommended I am allowed to jetset. As a preggo person, I was relieved to know we wouldn’t have the overwhelming crowds but I was not aware how hard of a reminder it would be that I couldn’t drink. I think I killed nojitos for myself by the end of this trip.. just not the same.
Scorpios | Mykonos June 2017
One thing I learned about Greek culture is their conservation of water. All of the restrooms have sensored vanity sinks and the communal bathrooms, a button on the floor to step on for the needed use of your handwash. Many signs mark on the soap to “turn water off while you use me”. All of the communal bathrooms exit to a shared wash area for men and women to wash together. Totally judging those who don’t wash btw. You know who you are.
EATING FOR 2
We hit up Nikolas Taverna twice it was so good
If you didn’t know already, Mack and I are cousins from a big restaurant family. Our grandparents started a 50-year running breakfast restaurant that began with coffee in custom mugs and my grandmother’s homemade muffins and lives on now with a menu that doesn’t stop at breakfast. So when I heard about Nikolas Taverna being a three-generation run local taverna (since 1967), I just had to go. Nicolas Dahtilidis and his wife Katarina passed down the business to their daughter Anna and now her son Nicolas. Nicholas offered us a one-of-a-kind experience and showed us utmost hospitality. However, it was his wife’s baking that really stole my heart. I had to reach out to her in an email to try and steal her strawberry cheesecake recipe. I’d say the baklava we had, came in a close second. Let’s just say, being pregnant on ‘holiday’ is the best thing ever. I did not worry about what my waistline was going to look like after demolishing a 3-course meal with multiple desserts. No shame.
If you visit here, do yourself a favor and order some fresh fish caught by hand, and don’t miss out on the moussaka and pastitsio (heavenly meat pie). We are talking real authentic home-cooked Greek food, and all for an affordable price. Their meats are from their own farm, and veggies & fresh ingredients are from their family fields. You don’t want to miss this one that is often overlooked since its off the beaten path from the city center. Stop by around the time you plan to hit up Scorpios.
A tender picked us up for an upscale lunch at Spilia inside a cave with the most incredible view.
Get the scallops! Also the seafood paella. And although I couldn’t quite stomach to try, my group raved about the sea urchin.
Mastika | Native Mediterranean liquor.
(Often follows dinner as a digestif but commonly abused to get shitfaced because it’s delicious. It has a sweet smell and flavor similar to a sugary licorice.)
^ By far the most delicious ice cream I have ever had in my life and made in-house (of course!). I made everyone join me for the ride. I could get away with demanding this because after all I was the pregnant one. My cravings were satisfied and everyone else ended up having one too after I insisted so I didn’t feel so bad. N’Ice Cream also offered fresh bakery treats and vegan sorbet flavors that even non-vegans would enjoy — chocolate and apple pie omg mouth watering talking about it.
Sunsets in Mykonos | June 2017
At the special hour of sunset, everyone crowds around to share the beautiful sight. Paul and I made a point not to miss a single one. I made a hormonal comment mentioning Greece is not the best place for pregnant women (with all the hills and stairs to climb) and Paul’s response was hilarious and pretty accurate: “I have a feeling no where is”. Oh well, I made it!! This was so worth it. We drank it all in, being our last moments as we knew it of “alone time”.
We would like to especially thank our super cool friends George Filos and Melina Jacobson for being our VIP hosts extraordinaire.
Oia, Santorini: Pronounced [ˈee.ya]
Although Mykonos stole my heart, Santorini was the true fairytale. We are talking a steep caldera offering a first class view no matter where you are surrounded by the blue sea. We wanted to end our trip here to enjoy our last few days away. We actually shut our phones off (for a bit) to disconnect and recharge but I was sure to bring my camera.
Sleeping In Oia
My fiancé was overly impressed with the private airbnb I found for the relaxing end to our trip. This is saying a lot as I used to be an assistant at his firm so he should know my young millennial skills by now on the web. I guess I would have to agree with him that this one was by far the biggest steal I’ve been able to weasel. To be honest, I was nervous up until we got there that the place was too good to be true. For under €300 a night, I was able to find us a private patio, bedroom surrounded by windows with 180 ° water views with out own mini cave pool. Waking up to the sound of the aegean waves and not being bothered by the crowds on the caldera was well worth having to walk to town to get into the scene. Plus, those rooms trumped at 1K a night for similar amenities such as a deck or a private pool. For the purpose of a romantic getaway, we couldn’t have picked a better area away from all the hustle and bustle and (big bonus) right where the sun sets. I would suggest when you look for places to stay, read the hotel reviews and make sure you will not have to walk down the whole caldera to get to your hotel room and that other hotel guests are not right on top of you. I could not risk being up all night any more than usual with the baby stirring. Even more importantly, get yourself a pool– their aren’t as many beach options as there were in Mykonos. If you can’t though, don’t sweat it– you will find the cool breeze to be constant 🙂
THE REEL CATCH IS Oia
Our oasis at the top of the hill was right above the old fisherman’s port; so of course you would be crazy not to order fish. We would walk down for dinner and after stuffing our faces with as much lobster spaghetti, and striper/the catch-of-the-day as we could, we’d then hitch a shared ride to the top of the hill. Our cast-away date nights were spent at Sunset Taverna in Ammoudi Bay which we were told was the first restaurant to come to the Bay. The locals refer to the taverna as Paraskevas’ (the famous local fisherman that owns the place). We saw pics of Oprah and other celebs hanging on one wall and a trio of octopus hung for show on another. Book a rezzy early so you can get a spot right on the water and make sure to google the time of sunset.
I was telling Paul that this was the exact place I pictured when Greece originally came to mind. This was because I had seen this area filled with the same little dingy boats on Mama Mia! and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Paul, being older than me and not into watching movies hadn’t seen either of these so I forced him to watch that night streamed off our wifi in our airbnb until he fell asleep not even 20 minutes in. (BTW side note his only request wherever we go when I am booking is to ensure a strong internet connection. He has anxiety being away from his emails too long. It was really nice to get him to spend mindless downtime and also that he was able to sleep in every morning with me due to the time change!! )
Another perk to the place we were staying: we were a two minute walk from Katharos Lounge. Get the spicy grilled shrimp, the fried feta, and the lamb skewers. Also if you dare, hike down the rocks to a little tiny beach. You may be lucky enough to have the beach to yourselves.
Have a favorite spot in Greece you want our readers to know about? Comment below.