Saturday, April 29, 2023

Mykonos, Here I Come!


Tuesday, I return to Greece where I shall remain until returning to the US in late summer for Bouchercon in San Diego.

I can't wait to be back on Mykonos. I understand a lot has changed on the island over the winter, much of it being widely reported in news stories of the sort you'd think only a wild-eyed crime fiction writer might conjure up. If you're interested in such juicy details, just hit "Mykonos" on your browser to see what's been drawing so much attention to its reputation as the World's Mediterranean playground for the rich and would like to be famous. 

I've already written a book exploring my thoughts on that subject--make that two books ("Mykonos After Midnight" and "The Mykonos Mob")--and am done addressing that topic (for now).  Besides, I'm having great fun mysterifying oh so many other glorious places in Greece. 

Instead, I decided to reminisce a bit by rerunning a post I put up some half-dozen years ago on the eve of another return home to the Island of the Winds.  So here goes...

Mykonos today is very different from even a decade ago, and as  different as night is to day from its hard times, make that very hard times.  The island once was among Greece’s most impoverished places.  Mykonians literally starved to death during World War II.  Then came the Greek Civil War.

Once I'm back on Mykonos I promise to share with you as much as good taste will allow of present day life on that international jet set summer destination.  But how did it came to pass that a community still guided by centuries-old church traditions and deeply held family values so effortlessly coexists amid the unstructured, freewheeling lifestyle of visiting summer hedonists?

I think the simplest way of telling the story of that transition is out of the archives of Dimitris Koutsoukos--which includes some photographs taken by the extraordinary photographer and honorary Greek citizen, Robert A. McCabe.  Dimitri is a native Mykonian who has amassed a fascinating collection of photographs capturing the essence of the island, many of which are posted to music on YouTube videos available through this link.

Dimitris Koutsoukos amid the old and the new.

Dimitri, the photographs please…

These were the days that set the island’s modern day roots, when all Mykonians had was each other.  It was the turn of the 20th Century.

Naturally, many lived off the sea and learned their skills from childhood.

Others survived as farmers.

Some depended on both.

Then came regular boat service linking the island to the mainland.

And with that tourists looking to experience traditional island life.

But one day a very famous visitor stepped ashore and forever changed the image of Mykonos.

International celebrity Petros the Pelican arrives with friend.

And glitz began to flock there.

Turning fishermen into guides.

Bringing energy to quiet beaches.

And, of course, making nice with the locals.

In the process each learned much from other.

Tourists how to dance...

...locals how to dress.

And they became friends.

It is a life to which I long to return.
Mykonians tolerating tourists
And for a musical understanding of the draw of Greece, check out this YouTube Video.


  1. Safe travels, Jeff and Barbara! What amazing photographs. Are they displayed anywhere in Mykonos, or is this a private collection? They're wonderful.

  2. Thanks, Zoë, that means a lot coming from a professional photographer of your skill and reputation. There is a fabulous book of photographs by Robert McCabe, titled "Mykonos: Portrait of a Vanished Era," containing photos taken by him between 1955-57, many for National Geographic. Dimitri Koutsoukos displays on-line a huge collection of photos he's gathered from different sources, including his own photos.

  3. Having missed this original post, I am so glad to see the replay and expansion. These photos are extremely fab. Safe, easy travels back, Jeff and Barbara, and looking forward to words from the front. x

    1. My pleasure to do a redux for you, Wendall! I, too, and up for words to come from the front!

  4. Safe travels to you both! I look forward to the posts

  5. Have a safe trip and with any luck, perhaps I'll visit this beautiful place. If that happens, I'll look you up. Bon Voyage!

  6. Very very nice 👍