Skiathos Island - Greece

In front of the tiny airport terminal a Scottish tourist says quietly, “Is that Goldie Hawn?” No, her friend laughs. “You wouldn’t see her in a fucking Hyundai.” This detail only seems to enliven the argument. The airline stewards had barely time to serve drinks after takeoff in Athens before the plane descended towards the island runway, taxiing close to the water’s edge and drawing breath from the passengers. Outside the American lady chats on familiar terms with a Greek man who packs her Chanel bags into the car. “It doesn’t even look like her, besides what would she be doing here?” But the next day Goldie’s identity is confirmed by paparazzi photos that look suddenly much more like the real, on-screen Goldie, the image of her standing with her passport already seeming slightly unreal. Skiathos is a verdant paradise in the Northern Sporades, and in half a day’s walk over its green hills you can see the combination of package holiday bustle and Hollywood privacy in a single view. Gated villas to the north jut up like expensive dentures from pine forest cliffs, with pools and tennis courts hidden except from the sea, then down towards towns where years of tourism and a collapsed construction industry have made their mark. Floating in the Aegean it is a small microcosm of Greece itself, where native beauty and foreign money exist side by side, if not always in harmony. JD

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