wk 21 – skopelopedos, mamma mia & fetta

In between taking photos of various Greek cats, we made our way around the other islands on the Sporades; Skopelos and Skiathos…

amongst other things, we met a more than half decent Kiwi couple, who finally got the antipodean Loc humour. We were both on tiny tables perched across from each other on steep cobbled steps in the old town of Skopelos, eating a latish dinner of mousaka with much house red…leading to the newly christened ‘Skopelopedos’ island…the next day we tipped up literally at their feet, walking along a pebble beach, I looked up and they were on a table at the taverna; another red wine lunch, freshly caught prawns, and many laughs later, hope to keep the trend going at some point at a Waihiki winery (depending on this weekend’s rugby world cup result)!

And so to the post MM explanation from the last blog…when landing on small Greek islands off season, you are met by at least one to five people with rooms for rent…on Skopelos we were met by ‘Capitain’ who led us to his house, whilst finding it difficult to understand that a) we did not know that most of the film was filmed on Skopelos b) we did not know what the film was c) we did not know the musical had been made into a film…my first guess was something sound of music related given the goat connections…

 I think we were indeed a rare sight on an island a little fanatical about Mamma Mia, showing it twice a night, every night in the Skopelos outdoor cinema, offering boat trips to all the scenes of the movie and generally revelling in new found Abba glory…

I regret that we clearly were not suitably impressed and had merely travelled to the Sporades for the beaches, scenery and tavernas…to add insult to injury after a night at el Capitain, and an attempt the next day to find something (ANYTHING!) open near a beach,we had to concede and ended up back in the port, staying in, you guessed it, the place the entire cast and crew slept at whilst filming Mamma Mia…gratuituos views of old town from double balcony:

needless to say it was stunning, and in true five star flashpacking style we managed to get a suite for about a sixth of usual price:

…including full kitchen, breakfast, complimentary bottle of wine, welcome drinks on day two and some rather nice toiletries, that may just have been taken by wombat, and be coming along on the rest of the trip with us…the attempt to fit in the entire sofa into Loc’s bag was thwarted by the throw cushion hanging out the side…and the 10kg allowance on Ryan Air. (ps have now watched MM, think it was hysterical fun, probably even more so for the cast making it, and sort of understand why it’s popular, still on the fence with Abba though…apparently they did a version of Mamma Mia in Trevignano with dialect…brilliant!!)

Favourite cafe moment would have to be discovered when climbing up a few steps to see a church and spotting a couple drinking a little further up, it had a huge view across the sea, a lovely girl running it, and classical music played through little speakers, surreal…the cafe itself was perched on a steep cliff and was about 1m by 1m, just enough for a juicer and a coffee machine…perfect!

The studio room we found in Skiathos was a people-watching dream:

you could see all the ferries coming in and out and we had a small fishing trawler that parked right in front of our balcony every evening around an hour before sunset…we knew when it was due, because the black and white fisherman’s cat was waiting for it:

we knew it was a fisherman’s cat as everyday it was fed by the boat, and it was about the size of a puskas so clearly doing rather well for itself…

…the boat had a number of lives, the obvious delivery of large crates of fish straight to the fishmonger, the smaller caught in the nets fish released after lifting up each section of the net, and sold to the locals gathering round at dusk, the small forgetten fish stolen by the unofficial fishermen cats who sneaked on when the fisherman and black and white cat were distracted, and finally the other fishermen who fished late at night from the boat trying to catch their own dinners…hub of port life, right in front of us…the other being the ferry arrival and departure, we should have realised when the net loss from the island onto the car ferry Sunday was about 237 that perhaps it was ‘the’ day to get off the island…

Our last swim on the islands was about 2 hours before the major storm set in, in a bay that we had utterly to ourselves, and the flattest sea you’ve seen, it is true about the calm before…and the island really was becoming a bit of a ghost town, huge hundred room hotels deserted, a long walk to a bay having forgotten water, rescued by as always a friendly lovely Greek who gave us a whole bottle of water and refused to let us pay…

Departing from the Sporades was a little less straight forward than arriving, although heaps more exciting…it started with the suspension of the ferries, which clearly the majority of the island knew about…(see photo above!)

followed by over 24 hours of solid rain and then a small ambulance boat, the taxi boat driver used to get us and a Dutch couple, through what turned out to be rather large swells across to the Southern part of the mainland:

…then we were picked up by a taxi driver’s father, called by the boat driver whilst one-handedly guiding us through the waves, who made sure the Dutch couple made their plane by taking us to meet his son half way to Volos airport; there are only 3 drivers in this remote part of the mainlan, and there were only 2 planes that day, so we had a few hours in a deserted airport, made friends with the cleaner, shopkeeper and weighed up the effect of wombat’s big fat Greek diet failure…on the equally deserted Ryan Air counter, he was only just under their 10kg hand luggage limit…oh and the security guard loved the 3D kangaroo on the new Aus passport (think it might be the reason why I got all that delicious Greek honey through as ‘not quite liquid’ for my mum!)

…without a lot of lovely Greeks helping us out, we would all have missed our flights, and despite what is clearly a terribly tough economic situation for so many at the moment, the pulling together just seems to work, so I am leaving once again with a longing to return to beaches, tavernas, kittens and above all that big fat warmth of the Greeks themselves…


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