Mama Mia Church

Tuesday, in the early afternoon, we left Skopelos Town for Alonnisos and the port of Patiriri. But first we had to make a detour by heading up the rugged northern windward coast of Skopelos island so we could see the Church of the Virgin Mary made famous in the film Mama Mia.

It was a bit cloudy and foggy out. We had pretty rough seas with a strong northerly blowing in. The previous night we had quite a wild wind and considerable lightning in the distance. Zeus and Poseidon apparently not pleased with a gaggle of Americans and ex-pat Brits from Dubai invading their waters.

As we approached the church it was more majestic precariously perched high on a seaward rock than it appeared in the movie. We found a few ABBA songs on our iPhone and played Dancing Queen as we approached the rock.

The seas were quite rough but we dropped anchor in the heavy seas and Tawny, Clara, and I braved the swell, boarded the dingy, and navigated the jagged rocks for the nearest shore.




Its was either 199 or 200 steps to the top (in the sweltering heat we lost count). The steps were treacherous but clearly a railing had been added in recent years to cope with the influx of tourists that visit the church.




The church was considerably smaller inside than the movie would make it seem. So small, it was difficult to take a photograph inside the dark and confined space. But it did contain a lot of religious art and artifacts.


Outside the church upon the grounds were a few weathered and ancient olive trees vibrating with the sound of cicadas in their branches.



And an outhouse perched on the edge of the cliff. This one put the long in the term commonly used for outhouses – long drop. No, I didn’t use it.


The heat was nearly unbearable and so we headed down and back to the boat to make our way to Alonnisos. The swell on the way had us all pretty nauseated. But as we rounded the south cape of the island the swell subsided and we could see the ancient city upon the hill.


On the way into Alonnisos we had a dolphin swim right up along our port side. “Dolphin off port”, I yelled, grabbing my camera. The dolphin swam to the bow wake and took two quick jumps before I could ready my camera. I missed it. Hopefully I’ll get another opportunity.


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