Saturday, April 9, 2011

Welcome to Mykonos!

There are some who say the essence of Mykonos cannot be captured in words.  Of course, I’m not one of them.

Dimitris Koutsoukos (left) in National Geographic, many years ago
But in the spirit of equal time, permit me to introduce you to samples from the Internet’s most highly treasured photographic archives of that bewitching Aegean Greek island. They are the compilation of Dimitris Koutsoukos, a tireless advocate for the history and charms of his place of birth.

I’m presenting this without a bit of adorning prose, for this is not about words but about their inspiration.  Word conjuring for this day I leave to the pen of your imagination.

For those wanting to see more of Dimitri’s fascinating work paying tribute to our island, here is a link to his dozens of YouTube videos setting still photographs to music. 









  1. You are the indispensable defender of your homeland GREECE MYKONOS especially dear to your heart ...!!! Thank you for all the work done to make us discover Mykonos MYKONOS of yesteryear to today. We notice a lot of changes .... Not always to the advantage of Mykonos and Mykoniates .... it lacks the little donkeys ... Too many highways now that distorts the landscape .... Where are the donkey gone ????? ...
    Nevertheless it remains the authenticity of Myconiates, their hospitality and kindness is indisputable ... Their taste for partying ... Thanks Mr. Dimitris ... respect ... And we continue to dream of all these small and beautiful phots videos ... "Bravo l'Artiste ".
    NB: During my last visit to Mykonos, it seems, during the election campaign that a candidate had announced the return of the donkeys on the island to restore its authenticity ....!!!! Y Does this project really ?????? In case I always vote for ...!!! Too many cars in town .

  2. Some beautiful photos of a beautiful place very close to my heart. And each photo stirs a memory of the beauty of an island and its people. Bravo Jeff, and kudos to Dimitris Koutsoukos for collecting and publishing this huge, great collection of memories!

  3. Is the last picture in "Around the Island" really a monastery? How could anything be built on a place so stark, a place that is truly ancient? I am not going to ask if those are really octopuses (a really silly word) or octopods (a very pretentious word) hanging from the line?

    The sea is magnificently beautiful, the colors so stunning. And then there is the picture of the surf pounding at the sea wall. After the tragedy in Japan, it is a reminder that those who live by the sea are at the mercy of the strongest of the natural forces.


  4. Isabelle, I consider your words a starred review! Thank you, it's exceptionally welcome praise coming from someone obviously familiar with the ways of the Mykoniates. As for the donkeys, there are still a few hardy old souls who ride theirs into town each day and you'll find some in the farm areas around the inland, more rural town of Ano Mera, but by and large, it seems that as everywhere else in the world donkeys have been largely replaced by motorized vehicles. As for the effect of recent Mykonos elections on donkeys, some would say yes, they've been restored to power.

    Anonymous, thank you, too, whoever you may be. Yes, Dimitri has been doing this sort of work with a passion for years. He keeps finding and adding new images and I wanted to share some of them, because they offer the opportunity for telling many different stories of the island. I had a terrific time going through about a 1000 photos to come up with just these twenty and that process actually took more time than writing a straight prose piece for the blog, but I loved it. I might even try to tell a tale in noir here someday just using Dimitri's images. We'll see.

    And, Beth, how can I ever thank you enough! Your imagination is what kept me from putting captions on the photos. I figured whatever you said would trump mine anyway. Yes, they are octopi, what else could they possibly resemble, he said mischievously.

    As for the "monastery," no it is not. What that is, is a particularly unique angle and lighting on the most photographed church in the Cylcladic islands, the Fifteenth Century Paraporitiani. It stands between the bays of Tourlos and Korfos on the outer edge of a jut of land at the southernmost side of the old town of Mykonos. It's really five churches—-four below and one above—with roots tracing back to service as part of a gate to a thirteenth--century protecting castle, Think of it as a huge mound of marshmallows topped by a jumbo white cherry.

    As for the raging power of the sea, Mykonians are well used to winds--it's called the Island of the Winds--but that sort of surge is thankfully rare. As a matter of fact, the island doesn't even have to contend with tides.


  5. Oh, my God, Jeffrey, you broke my heart.

    When I was 20, I found myself in Athens. I had the Robert Fitzgerald translation of The Odyssey, and I thought, why not? So I went down to Piraeus, from whence Agamemnon departed, and headed out into the Aegean. The Wine-Dark Sea indeed.

    Reading Homer, getting off and exploring islands, getting on another boat -- for about three weeks I was in an almost delirious haze of beauty, both in image and in word. And then I got to Mykonos, and thought, Why go further? And stayed for the better part of a month.

    It didn't hurt that the island was absolutely swarming with Danish high-school girls and college students, all feeling adventurous, and there I was, an adventure with a book in its hand. (Remember, folks, it was a different time and I was barely twenty, so please spare me the outraged morality.) That month was the high point of my personal hedonism survey for another fifteen years, until the day I found myself in Bali.

    Beautiful photos, beautifully chosen.

  6. Many heartfelt thanks to Dimitri for allowing us to revisit the Mykonos that once was and will never be again. My children will never know the joy of sitting and visiting with old friends, and seeing the sun set on a beautiful place.No one knows the feeling that goes through your body and touches your soul unless you stand on your property on asmall hill in Ano Mera and feel the wind bloww. Only then do you realize where your heart really belongs.

  7. This is so beautiful, and to sound trite-oh, the light! For an armchair traveler, a very nice gift, indeed. Thank you.

  8. Tim, thank you, and I see you fell under the "I think I'll stay just a little longer" spell of Mykonos. On the subject of Siren Danish girls, let me just say that a few years back things were getting so out of whack in that regard that as a public service I began culling the flock in "Murder in Mykonos." By the way, Mykonians seem to like spending their holidays in Bali or Thailand so you were ahead of the curve!

    Yes, Anonymous, I know the feeling. But I think you'd agree there is a magic to the place that captivates first timers much the same it did us in our virgin days. I NEVER tell new visitors about "the old days" and almost all fall in love with the island for what it now is. The more things change...

    Lil, my pleasure, and with the overwhelming response this post has received I have no doubt I'll be playing photo editor to Dimitri's collection again soon.


  9. Fabulous Jeff.

    When can we come and stay?


  10. Anytime, Dan, the door to the hotel is always open!


  11. For those of you wanting to see a terrific recent video featuring Mykonos and its nearby holy neighbor of Delos, check out

    The video link is at the bottom of the piece so you can skip to it and avoid my boring "Scene of the Crime" interview comparing the wild sex and nightlife of Mykonos to my native days in Pittsburgh.


  12. Really now ... seven supposedly published writers stoop to plagiarizing photos on the web ... you set a very poor example.

    The photo of the Mykonos chapel by the bay at sunset - Solitary Sunset - is a copyrighted photograph owned by me!

    href="">Solitary Sunset

    You stole my pic (which you can distinctly see my watermark just off-center) from my photo archive on RedGage - href="">My photo on RedGage

    You need to contact me about compensation.

  13. Goodness I also recognize Mr Bills Photo from Redgage how dare you make it seem like yours! I sincerely hope you compensate him for stealing his work!

  14. Thank you chstress for calling my attention to MrBill's earlier comment, which I'd missed. And, MrBill, I apologize for not catching your note for if I had I would have responded immediately.

    As I said in the piece, I'd drawn the photographs from the compilations of Dimitris Koustoukous. And though I never claimed that any of the photos were my my own, had I known that yours was not an authorized part of his compilation I never would have included it. I apologize to you on that score as well.

  15. Apologizing is nice, but you need to either remove Mr. Bill's picture from your blog...or pay him.

  16. Have you removed MrBill's the photo?