The tour began with a shuttle to the Vioma Organic Winery where I was greeted by a host of playful animals. I met the family donkey, chickens, goats and held one of the friendly kittens while waiting for other riders to arrive.
During my wait, the family kindly presented me with an espresso to drink while I wondered through their small garden and olive grove.
Once fitted for a helmet, given a bike and a bottle of water we were off! This moderate to difficult ride took the group across old donkey paths between dry fields, along the famous white and blue homes and private family churches.
Our guide, Dimitria opened one of the private family churches for us to take a peak. The simple white and blue facade made for an extreme contrast to the ornately framed images of Saints inside.
Fun Fact: Mykonos is famous for its tiny private white churches and, if counted, they would total well over 450.
Next stop: a refreshment break in a small square in a very charming Greek village overlooking the arid landscapes with views of a Byzantine castle. For 1 euro I peaked inside the 16th-century Cloister & Panagia Touliani Church, for a view of more oil paintings of Greek Orthodox Saints whose heads were ornately covered in precious metals.
Also, found in the village of Ano Mera: the BEST grilled Octopus I’ve ever eaten in Greece and melt-in-your-mouth creamy saganaki. Served with olive oil and lemon, this beautiful tentacle cost a mere 12 euros at Odos Araxame taverna.
Next, we made our way to the deserted but beautiful Fokos Beach. On the ride we spotted, tourists on horseback, donkeys, and goats with one hind and one front leg tied together with twine to keep them from climbing the hillsides – which I assume makes it easier for them to be corralled by the farmers for milking. The roads were nicely paved and made for an easy access to a long, bumpy dirt road leading down to the beach front. It was too cold for a dip but I did wade in the waters, follow goat kids up the rocky hills and soaked up the cool, strong breeze that would make any sailor smile.
We then made the steep climb up the hillside we used to descend to the pebbly beach, rolled past donkeys grazing in their pastures and dodged the frantic Greek drivers racing home to their wine and olive oil. (insert giggle)
Once we returned to Vaimo, I relaxed with a glass of beautifully oaked red wine called ΠΑΡΑΠΟΡΤΙΑΝΟ while munching on some beautiful olives from the family’s grove.
Truly an experienced not to be missed and one I would certainly re-live!