My best friend, Nicole, and I have had many mischievous adventures together over the past two decades. We have never lacked reasons to play detective or sharpen our reconnaissance skills (referred to by some as stalking). So when her mom made a trek down from France for a visit, it should have come as no surprise that she channeled her inner Nancy Drew and had the urge to play sleuth as well.
Our conversations of ancient Greek mythology, Venetian architecture, biblical history, and infamous WWII battles, soon led to movies and TV shows filmed in the area. Being a Disney buff, she knew the 1964 movie The Moon-Spinners was filmed on the island of Crete. I had never seen the movie nor had I read the preceding Mary Stewart suspense novel on which it was based, but I’m a sucker for a challenge. Plus, I had watched Pollyanna and Parent Trap religiously as a child (clearly there was no cable in my house growing up) and I couldn’t imagine the movie that made everyone fall in love with Hayley Mills could be a complete disappointment. Having names like Walt Disney and Eli Wallach attached to the movie didn’t hurt either. Terri and I found ourselves spending a morning scouring over blogs, forums, and web-pages in search for any information we could find concerning the exact location of various scenes and seeing if we could match it up to a location on our map. This proved to be difficult as we ran into a shortage of available information on the filming sites. This could be because the movie was filmed almost 50 years ago, and a contributing factor might be that the movie was never a box office hit. Luckily, we caught a major break when we stumbled across a blog posting by a guy from Tennessee named Jerry Maloy http://d23.disney.go.com/news/2011/09/on-location-in-greece/ .
Just a few kilometers outside of Aghios Nikolaos is the charming town of Elounda, where the majority of the movie was filmed. The site of the Moon-Spinners Inn is now the Vritomartes Taverna, and after watching the movie I can tell you it, to this day, very much resembles the Inn. While in Elounda we stopped for a smoothie and showed the waiter a picture of the three windmills from the opening credits. He smiled and said something in Greek while motioning towards the sky, then in broken English said, “Moon Spinner.” Ahhh, “yes!” we exclaimed and asked him if he knew where they were located. He pointed us towards the east, we walked about a mile and… there they were, we beheld what is left of the remaining windmills.