TRAVEL

Myks and match… In Mykonos and Santorini

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Santorini

TV legend Cilla Black must have matched hundreds of hopeless loners such as me while presenting Blind Date.

Classrooms up and down the country are probably filled with little Cillas and Grahams named after the famous matchmaker and her witty voiceover man by grateful parents.

And as finding love in the sun with a stranger still seems to work well on the telly, I figured I would give it a try.

 Amy and I had only been on two dates when she agreed to come to Greece with me for our third. I suspect she was a little bit tipsy.

So, like a pair of optimistic oddballs from TV’s Take Me Out, we jetted off to the island of Fernando’s, I mean Mykonos.

British Airways launched new flights to Mykonos last summer and I was on to a good thing with the step-up from the usual low-cost experience.

And our hotel for the next few days was also a sure-fire winner.

His previous job was as Gaddafi’s head chef

The boutique 4* Petinos, in the small bay of Platis Gialos a few miles from Mykonos town, oozed Greek charm with acres of whitewashed walls and pastel shuttered windows.

We had a balcony with sea views, a beachfront pool and a posh room with a window looking from the bedroom to shower — providing plenty of chances for bathroom awkwardness.

Sunset ... over Mykonos town
Sunset … over Mykonos town Getty Images

 

Mykonos town does not have a third-date vibe, it is more honeymoon-level romantic. There is even an area called Little Venice.

We strolled around the maze of flat-roof bars, designer shops and vine-covered courtyards, eventually sharing a delicious bowl of mussels at Taverna Nikos.

But we were not there long before I was dragging Amy up and down winding alleyways in search of a bar showing the “big match” — by which, of course, I mean the Eurovision Song Contest.

The only place to have it on the big screen was gay bar Porta, where we had a great night.

“It’s your third date and you’re already in a gay bar? I’d be worried if I were you,” the barman joked to Amy as he poured another round of tequila.

After nursing our hangovers by the hotel pool the following day, we jumped back on the bus to Mykonos town for our next dose of Greek hospitality.

At Leto Hotel we had a delicious Greek fusion dinner designed by chef George Koumpouris. It is no wonder the grub was so good as George has cooked for some tough customers.

His previous job was as Gaddafi’s head chef before he was evacuated on a Portuguese military flight as the regime of the Libyan dictator known as Mad Dog collapsed around him.

“Poor guy,” George said pondering his old boss’s grizzly death. “He was always nice to us foreigners.”

The next day we had a light lunch by the sea at Salparo.

Tender, sun-dried octopus and fava bean paste, washed down with Ouzo, was a delicious way to gobble up the normally chewy sea creatures.

I regretted stuffing my face as soon as we boarded the ferry to the island of Santorini. Luckily, Amy fell asleep for the entire two-hour trip, so she will never know how close I came to throwing up.

We stayed on Kamari beach at Santorini Kastelli Resort, where we were ideally placed to explore the island on the cheap tourist buses.

Fun ... the pair in Santorini
Fun … the pair in Santorini Not known

 

The three-star resort is a slightly more budget option. It might not ooze charm but it is clean, right on the beach and close to plenty of great bars and restaurants.

The nearby town of Fira is perched on cliffs so massive not even the most outlandish Game of Thrones episode would think to include them.

How could Peckham compete with romance of Greece?

Thanks to a cable car there is no need to use a donkey to climb the treacherous 800ft cobbled path from the port below — but tourists insist on doing it anyway.

My donkey did not speak English and gave up halfway, while Amy’s trotted on at a terrifying pace, guessing by the sound of her fading screams.

All the ass kicking in the world would not get my stubborn donkey going, until his Shrek-like owner appeared to scare the poor animal all the way to the top.

Twenty minutes’ drive north at the tip of the island is Eos, with its blue-domed chapels and flat, white houses overlooking the Mediterranean.

If Mykonos’s views are worthy of a honeymoon, then the sunsets on the cliffs of Santorini are a down-on-one-knee-and- pop-the-question affair.

Back in London, Amy and I never made it past date number four — how could Peckham hope to compete with the romance of Greece?

Watching Cilla Black send strangers on holiday is TV gold, but it might not be a smart way to find love.

I am going to resort to online dating apps and I am betting my future child will not be the only one in the class named Tinder.

 

 

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