Hester and Ann pictured with their new friends post the XLSior Gay Festival in Mykonos.
Hester and Ann pictured with their new friends post the XLSior Gay Festival in Mykonos. Contributed

Travel: Rainbow coloured glitter and glam of Mykonos

OUR Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull looked like he was enjoying himself at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras last week.

Good for him. And Bill Shorten. And Ian Thorpe.

Mardi Gras is on my travel bucket list - all those feathers, glitter and scanty costumes. I'd also like to attend the XLSior Gay Festival in Mykonos, where 30,000 people from all over the world descend on the small Greek Island to find connection in the universal language of music.

I visit Mykonos every year in June or July for the guaranteed sun, the clear cool water and for the smell of fresh chargrilled fish that seems to hover in the warm air all over the island in the summer. Hot bright days linger into balmy evenings and the party atmosphere is evident on every beach.

There is enough going on all over the island from April through to October to satisfy even the hardest party person - and that's without even venturing into the town to find the restaurants, clubs and bars in the maze of labyrinthine alleys and streets.

Over the years I've watched some of the beaches go through various stages of trend and style. All of them have had their high and low times when it comes to being on-trend, something very important on a hedonistic Greek island.

When I first discovered the restaurant and bar on a crest at Super Paradise Beach it was the place to be seen, buzzing with energy and colour and fun. The following year it was so out of fashion it was empty of a single person. It all depended on the different owners and various name changes and management styles.

It is now called Jackie O Beach Club and Restaurant and has become the big buzz once again. It serves super-cool cocktails (best caipirinha I've had) from a large circular bar overlooking an infinity pool which dips into the blue ocean.

The food is modern Greek/Mediterranean and you eat al fresco, sitting in your damp swimsuits at tables on many tiered levels overlooking the bar, pool, ocean and beach. It is quite marvellous.

On our 2015 visit, my friend Hester and I made our annual pilgrimage to Super Paradise Beach from our villa at Psarou Beach not far away. (Psarou Beach itself has gone through many transformations from family-friendly, to playground for billionaires and their yachts.)

Imagine our surprise and delight last year to arrive at Jackie O's to find the entire restaurant and bar taken over by swarms of gay men in skimpy swimsuits. They had gathered on the island for the XLSior Gay Festival and were chilling out after a big party the night before.

Never before had Hester and I - two ladies of certain 'maturity' - been surrounded by so many toned, taut and tanned bodies. But we had come at the end of the XLSior Gay Festival, much to our disappointment.

So now two colourful events are on the bucket list - Sydney Mardi Gras and Mykonos XLSior Gay Festival.

We like a lot of feathers and glitter - but we won't be spending our every spare hour in the gym. The XLSior Gay Festival happens between August 17 and 21 this year.

Jackie O Beach Club and Restaurant: http://www.jackieobeach.com

XLSior Gay Festival 2016: http://www.xlsior.com


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