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Monday, July 21, 2008

Mamma Mia and the Greek Mediterranean

The weekend had me in eager anticipation to go to the movies. The object of my theatrical affection was Mamma Mia! the movie. What's not to love? Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth are two of my favorite leading men and the movie takes place on Skopelos, a Greek Island.

Having lived in Greece I was looking forward to the scenery as much as the movie itself. This is the sweet church "Agios Ioannis" where scenes from the movie were filmed. It is now on my "must see" list. 

My family and I lived on the island of Crete (Κρήτη), the largest of the Aegean islands, in 1998~1999. It was an amazing experience to be a totally spoiled American and discover there was no Wal Mart, McDonalds or Target. What???

Our home (σπίτι~ pronounced "speetee") was a simple stucco structure. The roof was left unfinished as it provided the owners a tax break for being "uncompleted". It featured no A/C, and intermittent running water and electricity. Sounds fun right? 

See the stairs on the side of the house? Wild packs of goats would gather on the roof ALL the time. I would hear them and have to grab a broom and shoo them away. 

We would often go up on the roof in the evenings. There was a beautiful view of Stavros beach and Zorba's mountain which was featured in the film "Zorba the Greek".

This was the view of our backyard in the spring. Wild poppies grew everywhere.

To the left of our home was a very smelly chicken coop which I never photographed. But did you know that chickens love watermelon? :)
To the right of the house was an old barn and an olive tree which our goat "Goatie Goat" was often tied to. I still miss seeing our sweet Nanny's face.

Our neighbors included Russo, Sophia and Russo's sister. They were all in their 80's and it was all Greek, all the time. Their home had no indoor plumbing~ they had an outhouse. Sophia washed their clothes over a hot cauldron outside on a weekly basis. Yet, they were the happiest and most giving people I have ever met. Yes, even with the language barrier. 

Ruins were in fantastic abundance everywhere on the island. I home schooled the Fashionista and we explored many of the structures as a form of geographical and archaeological study. This photo was taken shortly after her 9th birthday. 

The most famous ruin on Crete is the the Palace of Knossos (Κνωσός ) . It was an ancient Minoan civilization that was mentioned in Homer's "Odyssey", as well as the suspected location of an elaborate labyrinth that housed the mythical Minotaur (half man~half bull.)

This horrendous self portrait is in front of the North Entrance of the Palace. The Mr's. family had come to visit us from Pirbright, England.

Bette and I in front of a fresco that portrays a prince. It was brutally hot that day and everday.

Yet one could always cool off in the blissfully blue clear waters of the Mediterranean. 

We lived in the small village of Horafakia. The closest town was Chania (Χανιά). It had a lovely harbor. A Greek friend of mine that I took cooking lessons from let me borrow her family's traditional clothing.

It was commonplace to see people traveling on donkey's.

I rode a donkey once to get from the port of Santorini up to our hotel. This was a shot taken while I was looking back.

Santorini was an absolutely beautiful island. We loved wandering all of the side streets.

The town of Ia is famous for it's traditional windmills and beautiful sunsets.

Ελπίζω ότι απολαύσατε το γύρο (I hope you enjoyed the tour.)

All photos are my own. Please request permission before use.


Couture de Papier said...

OMG! Beautiful Treasures!
Thank You Denise Nantasket Beach,Mass.

Shimmy Mom said...

How Beautiful! What a blessing to have been able to live in such a place. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

Jennifer Paganelli said...

what a wonderful to learn about you..Jennifer

Lisa said...

What a beautiful locale! The pictures are stunning.

Roxanne said...

I was just remembering the view of Stavros mountain from your kitchen window. It sure was fun living there. I am glad we were able to meet in such a fantastic place and remain friends back here in the U.S.

The Berry Patch said...

The pictures are beautiful! I have that song stuck in my head now-Momma Mia. lol

Brandee :-)

Kim said...

I just love your posts! I love the photos (just breathtaking) with bits of information & history.

Halo Hill said...

Oh my goodness! What a place to spend a year of your time. Absolutely breath taking!

perilloparodies said...

Thanks for sharing one of your many wonderful adventures with us. How beautiful. I would love to go to Greece and a few other places someday, but a bit difficult right now.. :-) for now i will enjoy what you and others have to show me. have a great day.

KARIN said...

The turquoise blue color of the water is just breath taking. What a great adventure it must have been to live there, intermittent water/ electricity and all. I always tell my husband that I want to live in a place that people travel to see. Not just the generic 'burbs we're stuck in now :( Lucky you. I really enjoyed this!

paintinpatti said...

I am having a marvelous time perusing your pages. You have a beautiful way of drawing me into your stories. Thank you for sharing. What a blessing to live in such fascinating places.

Cote de Texas said...

HOW GORGEOUS! My favorite picture is the one with your fil? swimming in the water! It looks devine! I would love to hear how you came to stay there a year!!

movie buff said...

awesome pics... this is one of the few plays i've actually seen, which ended up being great... it's funny to think of ol' Pierce taking a stab at singing though, yeeesh

Sylvie said...

Beautiful history. Beautiful images!

Meredith said...

MANY years ago my husband was on a ship which ended up in Piraeus for an extended period so I went and found a little hotel/apt 2 blocks from the sea. It was an experience of a lifetime. I wish it could have been years instead of months.