The island of Mykonos is a jewel (a sapphire perhaps) in the central Aegean Sea. A four hours ferry ride away from the Greek mainland or a three hours direct flight from the heart of Europe, Mykonos seems like a „walk-in“ painting in white and blue. The windmills above the old port have become icons of easy-going life, Greek style. But the wind alone can’t do the job anymore, the space below the mills has changed to a parking lot that creates more cash than the windmills ever could.
First came the hippies, then the jet-set. Today, the old town with its labyrinth of narrow pathways between the white walls and the blue doors and stairs is filled with designer boutiques and exclusive brand-shops. Chinese and Indian groups walk next to German retirees and young couples from the U.S. or France. And then there is the gay life: not just rainbow flags and calendars of „Greek love“ in souvenir shops indicate that Mykonos has become a preferred destination for the LGBT community – adding to the image of savoir vivre. The mix of young and old(er), of East and West, of beach and hills has created a near mystical image.
But there are trade-offs: the cost of living for the locals and charges for hotels and villas are high, the once small settlement (today’s old town) has splattered across the island, roads that were made for donkey carts can’t cope with the hair-raising driving style. And refugees from Asia occasionally lining the streets, though Mykonos was never as much affected as the islands just off the Turkish coast. So global politics and the limits of an island ecology have left Mykonos not untouched. However, it seems hard to destroy the myth of an island in blue and white.