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Mamma Mia! The Movie

Mamma Mia - The Truth

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Mamma Mia the Movie - Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep on Skopelos

Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep on Skopelos

Mamma Mia photo copyright Universal Pictures; used by permission
Mamma Mia the Movie takes place in Greece. But is this Greece pure fantasy or not? Separate the facts from the fluff before you go to Greece.

Mamma Mia - Don't Believe Everything You See

In the spirit of Greece-based filmmakers everywhere, Mamma Mia blithely combines locations, creating a super-island that does not exist. Kalokairi is not only a fictional name meaning "summer", it combines several different locations. But here's the good news - so much of Greece is just as beautiful if not even more so. Those water colors? That's not something out of Photoshop - the waters of Greece really are that beautiful, the sands that golden. As I write this, I just got back from Greece. And I'm sobbing over my laptop right now, going "Why! Why did I come back!"

But in the end, Mamma Mia the Movie delivers - and now, there's even talk of a sequel, though that possibility seems to be diminishing as time goes by.

More on Mamma Mia! The movie

Mamma Mia - What About All Those Dancing Villagers?

And since Mamma Mia! is a musical, they sing too. Well, this also isn't that far off. I've seen spontaneous singing and dancing many times in Greece. And while some of the choreography may be a little different than you'd find in most villages, it's probably easier than you'd find in most villages. I vividly remember one night dancing with a circle of twenty or thirty Greek women, from the very young to the very, very old. Every last one of them easily danced me into the dirt - they probably were trying to, since I spent much of my time between panting and gasping for breath kicking one or the other of the two women on either side of me.

Mamma Mia - All Those Sexy Greeks and Sexy Expatriates in One Small Place?

Again, this isn't that far off. Greece is a beautiful country, with sea, sun, good air, great food. It seems to attract a lot of fit, good-looking people of all ages from around the world. But your bus coach tour may not be the best place to find them - choose a more active vacation like a yachting, kayaking, hiking or bicycling trip to sort them out.

As for the locals? The Greeks have always celebrated the beauty of the human form - and you'll definitely find some "locals" who look like they just posed for that statue of Aphrodite or Adonis you saw in the museum this morning.

Riding a Donkey to Your Wedding? A Chapel That Picturesque?

No deception here. You can book a wedding donkey easily, though usually both the bride and the groom will arrive by donkey, instead of just the bride as it was in the Mamma Mia! movie. And that's a real chapel they used for the wedding scene - though it looked like it was going to be a Western-style ceremony. It's the chapel of Agios Ioannis perched on top of a 300-foot-high spire of rock on the Greek island of Skopelos, where much of Mamma Mia the Movie was shot. Find out all about getting married in Greece.

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