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4th May 2001
Captain Corelli - my brush with stardom
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
entertainment block
Dan's holiday is about to be rudely interrupted

Whatever you think about Captain Corelli's Mandolin, there's no escaping the fact that the Greek island of Cephallonia is a beautiful place.

But what's it like when a bunch of Hollywood stars invade. BBC Nottingham Online's Dan Sinclair was on holiday there when production was taking place.

Like Nigel I haven't made it past the first few pages of Louis de Berniere's novel. However, I can claim to have been to Cephallonia. I even walked onto the film set.

Last year my week long screen break was spent on this tiny little Greek island. The island itself is as dramatic and beautiful as the film. For this reason it was already filling up with people trying to find their own bit of fiction.

Dan Sinclair
Our man Dan, now without a tan

With the beaches being scattered with the famous blue and yellow paperbacks, entrepreneurs already knew they were on to a winner. The restaurants were full of the Captain's pie, Captain's fish and Captain's cocktails.

At the time this wasn't an annoyance, just a little aside. I'm a fidget on holiday and so after the first day on a beach on the South Coast my partner and I hired a car to explore.

It takes about three hours to travel from end to end. In the west you'll find the concrete capital (a bit of a feet scorcher), the south contains long stretches of sandy beaches whilst the north is a bit more secluded. It's here you'll find Fiskardo and the yachting fraternity.

The summer was so hot that we'd stop every half hour for a dip at the side of the road. With our pocket guide we entered Sami for one of these sunbreaks and decided to wander the town and pick up a cold drink before checking out the town's nearest beach.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Cephallonia - Hollywood style

Sami is very small. Walking down the promenade we took a left down a side alley.

There was a dozing uniform at the corner and he started waving to us as we walked up the street. I was hot and needed that drink so I waved back and continued on my search. The town seemed very quiet.

The buildings also looked very old. On looking up I noticed a blond man on top of a building. On scanning the skyline I saw several more blond men. Bit strange, it felt like a warm Scandinavia.

Then the buildings started tumbling down around us so we made a quick exit. Now it might have been the heat, although I'm not known to be one of the quickest, but it wasn't until another security guard on the entrance to the beach told us that it was closed for the next few days due to filming that I realised what all those big banners with Nicolas Cage's face were all about.

Our brief brush with stardom, well the set of stardom, was over and we carried on our holiday of fish suppers and ice cool frappes.

Just like the film, the island was slow but very warm and beautiful. However, I don't think I'll go back until things have quietened down.

Read our review of Captain Corelli's Mandolin

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