After a morning on the wind-swept, sun-drenched Island of Delos, Maria’s Traditional Restaurant on Mykonos was a fortuitous choice for a refreshing lunch. Delos has no restaurants, and Mykonos is where our Royal Caribbean cruise ship was docked anyway, so Maria’s on Mykonos it was. But before I tell you about lunch at Maria’s, I have to tell you about that morning.
One of the things that make cruises great is how you can have a great experience in an incomparable destination and then a day or two later, you arrive at another uniquely amazing destination. Thus, just three days after spending an extraordinary day in Kusadasi, Turkey visiting the ruins of Ephesus, we found ourselves getting on a boat early in the morning to take us to the Island of Delos. The water was rough, but thankfully not too rough for us to make the trip, and the water was shades of blue I’ve never seen before.
Experiencing Delos, probably one of the most extraordinary places on our planet, I found myself thinking back to Ephesus, as well as Ancient Corinth, which we visited the day before Ephesus, and feeling like Delos outshines those two sites by a wide margin. If they were candy, Corinth would be a Snickers bar, Ephesus a giant Hershey’s with Almonds, and Delos a shelf filled with family-sized bags of Peanut M&Ms. As I was walked through Delos and saw its many treasures – the Terrace of the Lions, Mount Cynthus, the gorgeous mosaics, the sculptures kept in Delos’ Museum, and so on – I was aware that I was having an experience that will not be equaled by many in my lifetime. When the morning was over and we headed back to Mykonos, we were tired, but also elated.
And so on to lunch. Back on Mykonos, all we needed to make the day complete was a great restaurant. Therese and I had left it to Eileen to pick the place, and we walked around a bit before we passed Maria’s Traditional Restaurant and Eileen said, “this is it!”
When we got to the restaurant, I was a little tired. I know that is the time when I am most vulnerable, when I am most apt to not pay too much attention, and could end up eating something with dairy, like a sauce that has a little yogurt in it, or some bread that has been spread with butter.
I was planning on ordering a chicken kebab with a side order of fries, which should be perfectly safe, but you never know – the one time you don’t ask might be the time that a creative chef is brushing the chicken kebab with cream sauce. So as tired as I was, and just wanting to eat whatever was put in front of me, I dug out the sheet of dairy free phrases Therese had made for me, and showed the waiter the Greek version (παρακαλώ, δεν βούτυρο / δεν γάλα / δεν γιαούρτι (“please, no milk, no butter, no yogurt”)). Sure enough, the waiter confirmed that I was safe with the kebab and fries.
That out of the way, I settled in to enjoy lunch, and enjoy it I did. The kebab was good, the beer I washed it down with was cold and wet, the atmosphere was refreshingly cool and shady, and Eileen got to feed and play with some local stray cats, which was a bonus. The perfect lunch to seal another perfect day of our summer Mediterranean cruise!