Wednesday Wander – Mykonos, Greece

The Greek island of Mykonos, also known as The Island Of Winds, is part of the Cyclades, a group of islands set in Homer’s wine dark Aegean sea.

According to Greek legend, Mykonos got its name from its first ruler, Mykons, said to be a direct descendent of Apollo. Zeus and the Titans were supposed to have had a great battle on Mykonos, and it’s where Hercules killed the invincible giants of Mount Olympus, having lured them to the island. Also, and I love this, because I guess I have a weird sense of humour, the large boulders scattered around the island are reputed to be the fossilised testicles of those same giants, and this legend is the source of the slang term ‘stones’!

Mykonos has a long history dating back to at least the 11th century BC, and has been under Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman rule. However, since 1831, it has been part of Greece, following the revolution in which Manto Mavrogenous, one of the island’s noted inhabitants, played a part. Manto, a wealthy, educated aristocrat, sacrificed her family’s fortune to help the Greeks and became a national heroine – a statue to her honour stands in the main town square.

The island is well known for its vibrant nightlife and nude beaches (sorry, no photos), and also for its famous windmills. Built by Venetians in the 16th century, they were originally used to mill flour – nowadays most have been restored as homes or storage facilities. There are also several fine museums, including one of the oldest archaeological museums in Greece. I’m somewhat ashamed to say I visited none of them, however, quite unusual for me. But Mykonos was a stop on a longer trip and I suppose I just chose to relax, instead. Ah well, I guess I need to go back.

It’s been quite a few years since I visited, but I still have plenty of memories – of meeting Petros the Pelican, the island’s mascot, of tangy feta and fresh bread, of my washing being done and coming back smelling of sunshine and herbs, of an old woman kissing my cheeks and offering me sweets after I bought one of her hand knitted jumpers (which I still have). There was nightlife, of course, dancing and drinking, the streets vibrant all through the night. But my overwhelming memory is one of sunshine and warmth, of brilliant white and deep blue, and through it all, the sound of the sea.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me! See you next time.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 29 – One Hundred Years

The misty hills of Ireland, home to James Joyce

The misty hills of Ireland, home to James Joyce

It’s day twenty-nine of the 30 Day Writing Challenge, and today’s prompt is: One Hundred Years.

It’s also the second day I’ve been in bed with a rotten head cold, which is kind of a bummer. Streaming eyes and a stuffed up head are not that conducive to writing, or much else for that matter. However, onwards and upwards!

So, for the prompt, I decided to look back one hundred years to see if anything of note happened on December 29, 1916. It was a different world then – there was still a Tsar in Russia, the First World War was raging, and women throughout most of the world still did not have the right to vote, or do much of anything else for that matter.

On this day one hundred years ago, James Joyce’s first novel, A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, was published. Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, and is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, his most famous work being Ulysses.

The other event of note that happened on this day one hundred years ago was the assassination of Rasputin, the ‘Mad Monk’ who, many say, contributed to the downfall and eventual murder of the Russian Imperial Family by Bolsheviks. Rasputin was a favourite of the Family, particularly the Empress, because of his strange ability to ease the suffering of the young Tsarevitch, who suffered from haemophilia. However, his reported behaviour, often exaggerated in the press, added to the feelings of distrust and anger against the Imperial family, and so a small group of nobles decided they needed to do away with him, in the hope of saving the monarchy.

On the evening of December 29th, Rasputin was invited to the St Petersburg home of Prince Felix Yusupov. He was fed poisoned cakes and wine, yet suffered no seeming ill-effects. He was then shot, but still refused to die. Eventually, he was thrown into the Neva, where his frozen body was found the following morning – apparently still alive when he went into the water.

The murder ended up being to no avail – the following year the Bolsheviks took power, and the Imperial Family were sent into exile and, eventually, executed. Oddly enough, Rasputin was said to have predicted his death would be followed by their downfall – a prophecy that came true.

Quite a dark note to end on, I suppose, but it has been a very odd year. Right, I’m off to bed, in the hopes I can knock this cold on the head and actually enjoy what’s left of the holidays. See you all tomorrow for the final day of the Challenge.

If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.