And what better beach than one on an island, right?
There are all sorts of islands: some lush with tropical growth, some barren and dry, some so far north they’re mostly ice and/or covered with lava, like Iceland.
But when I think of islands, I think of those ancient ones scattered in the Mediterranean between Egypt and Europe where one can find marble ruins rising on a headland or fig trees growing next to a footpath, heavy with fruit the size of plums.
Small islands attract us because they’re so self-contained. Life there is separated physically from the outside world. This aspect makes evoking suspense in a story set there easy.
Recent photos show the same sculpted-by-centuries whitewashed houses in Parikia. The bougainvillea trees look bigger, and I’m sure the fig trees on the path to the Valley of the Butterflies are, too. But the sunlight, quiet, and blue sky (of summer) are still the same.
The only ancient bits visible on Paros are the marble quarry the classical-age Greeks worked and the section of the main town of Parikia called the Castro. Houses and stairs climb up what looks like a beehive but had probably been a fortification at one time.
Hotels and cafes still populate the waterfront that extends along the harbor from the Castro. There aren’t many paved, or even dirt, roads, and farmhouses scattered through the hills can often only be reached by dirt footpaths, some bordered by high stone walls shoring up fields, some open and skirting small, whitewashed family chapels.
Going home to my farm house one night after an open-air movie I saw the altar candle shining through the small back window in the apse. I imagined someone inside ready to burst out the door and block the path. LOL. I rushed past, but I’ve always remembered that spurt of panic and used this in a scene in HEAR NO EVIL to scare the heroine.
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