Sunday, 20 September 2015

Day Five - Skopolos, Mamma Mia, 20th September

The next day, we were to take the 'Mamma Mia' boat trip to a nearby island, Skopelos. The Abba video was shot here and on Skiathos, and we just felt we HAD to go and see the sights. Besides, it was the perfect day for it! Sunrise from our balcony was spectacular, and set us up for an early start for a great day ahead. 

First, we had to catch the sardine express again - "room for one more", said the conductor!!!
Well, we DID manage to squeeze on, but it was tight!

At Skiathos old harbour, we boarded our boat for the trip, the Poseidon.
It was surprisingly full, not overfull, it's just at this back end of the season we were used to places being sparsely populated, like Aselinos beach, but they were a good-looking and happy bunch.

Anyway, after a shaky start (a half hour delay due to the anchor getting tangled up) we were off! With the music from Mamma Mia playing over the sound system, the bar open, and the sun beating down, what could be better?

Looking back as we passed the Bourtzi cafe on the harbour promontory.

The sea was calm, the breeze warm, and conditions perfect as we enjoyed the trip
 The skipper constantly pointed out points of interest and little beach gems tucked away here and there.

Beautiful white cliffs reflected the sun as we continued towards Skopelos island. Our first stop though, was a beach on Skiathos that is quite unreachable, except by boat. I'm amazed they haven't put a road of some sort to it, as it's so popular.

There's nothing on the beach - not even a beach bar, only the odd mermaid, one of which I got a shot of, sitting on a rock.

She even let me join her, so long as I didn't do anything 'fishy'!

All these people were dropped off by various boats. Again, we're not used to this level of populous, but it was such a perfect place, we 'put up with it' ;-)

We donned our snorkels, and set off for the arch. Legend has it (we were told by the skipper), if you swim under the archway once, you get good luck. Do it twice (females only) it brought pregnancy, do it three times, and you would get eternal life!!

We thought we'd risk it once!
Click HERE for underwater footage.

All too soon, it was time to go. One look back as we made for Skopelos.

Everyone was relaxed and enjoying the trip.

The harbour was just beyond this outcrop.

 Sue got me, getting the shot.

Was that the famous church???

You can see a video of coming into Skopelos harbour HERE

Take note of how serene and benign it looks today.

The skipper reversed into the harbour and we disembarked to explore, but first, a snack and a beer.

We looked out on a very peaceful scene.

Again, the food was faultless. In places like this, they could just serve trash, and probably get away with it. But I know from experience, you get FAR more pleasure out of giving customers a treat, rather than not. 
It's a pride thing.

The larger Helenic ferry had it's own dock on the other side of the harbour.
Even in this heat, we just had to climb the many steps to the top of the town, and the small church that was up there (if only for the views).

Lots of cats, as always.
This one looked decidedly comfortable in the sun.

As expected, the views opened up the more we climbed.

Even up here, beautiful plants, shrubs and trees grew, lovingly tended by the inhabitants.

Sue poses, almost at the top.

A quick look back at the harbour.

a 'well done, darling' selfie at the top.

We decided to make our way back down through the maze of back streets. Navigation wasn't hard - just keep going downhill.

Lots of little things made these houses special. A balustrade here, a balcony there, the simple but lovely way the floor was done, the paint scheme, flowers - all attractive to the eye.

We left this quiet, laid back, chilled-out harbour to continue our journey.
Little did we know what disaster was awaiting the place later that night. These steep, smooth streets would play a big part.

 When we got back to the hotel, we were informed that tomorrow's showing of Mamma Mia in the outdoor cinema had been cancelled, due to an incoming storm. We found out the next morning just how vicious that storm was, and how it affected poor Skopelos.

Watch a very short video of the incredible force of water, complete with cars being washed into the harbour, click HERE

And a longer one of the aftermath, click HERE

Everyone was stunned at the damage, incredible to think we were sitting in such a calm environment only HOURS before!

Anyway, back to the present. It was time to see the famous Agios Ionnis chapel on top of a steep lump of rock. This is where the Mamma Mia wedding was set, but they didn't actually film the wedding inside the little church - it was FAR too small to get all the people in the video in there!

Again, the boat disgorged us, and backed out to sea a little way to let other boats drop people off.
The biggest problem on this beach was wasps - THOUSANDS of them!

Here we were - 'unstung heroes' on our way to heaven (by way of the small church).

We were lucky enough to witness the end of a proper wedding. This place has become HUGELY popular for weddings since the Mamma Mia thing. Only stipulation is, you must be Greek orthodox.
Here she is, the blushing bride.

But HOW she got up all these steep steps in her high heels, I'll never know. This wasn't the only steep set of steps either, there were lots more to climb - 202 altogether!.

I noticed this strange rock formation on the way up.

Almost there...

Looking down on our boat (and the wasps).

Inside the chapel, it's very obvious that this wasn't used in the video. So what? I'd been to Ireland and visited a pub in a TV drama, THAT interior wasn't used - so what?. I'd been to Yorkshire to a pub used in a drama, THAT interior wasn't used - so what?
 To me, it wasn't important, but to some, it was a MASSIVE disappointment. 
Read about the other side of the coin HERE

In the small churchyard at the top.

It's also a 'must do' to ring the bell.
Sue hasn't QUITE got the gist of it, but she's learning!
Click HERE to see her trying :-)

Time to make our way (carefully) back down.
This must be an absolute NIGHTMARE in the height of the season, with all the hoards who come here!

Today - tranquility and peace.

The boat returned, we left the wasps and headed out to sea for our return to Skiathos.
One great aspect of the long day was that we got to see this beautiful sunset on our way back. A terrific end to a terrific day.

Although the wind was picking up slightly, who could have guessed what was coming to Skopelos that night by way of the weather?

A steady stroll up Papadiamati street, a quick nightcap, then off to bed.
Perchance to sleep? Not for long!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I guess I want to go there. Such beautiful views.