Greece 2: Paros
Waking late at 5:30 instead of 4:45 we had already missed our taxi and prospects of making our boat on time looked slim to none. It would take us at least 1:30 hours to get to the port and our boat left at 7:15am.
We walked up to the avenue trying to find a cab. None.
We called back the cab company and rearranged the transfer only this time with a new designation in mind – a last ditched effort to try make our departure.
Well when cool heads reign things work out for the best. Our taxi driver was near to a superhero and we arrived in less than twenty minutes at our final destination of the port of Pireaus.
We had, in the end, gotten our tickets and sat down on the high-speed boat a full 45 minutes before departure – SUCCESS!
Paros was different, busier and more like a typical Greek island paradise.
We walked the cobbled streets past all the white houses looking for our hotel. It was seriously hot!
After some difficulty we made it to our beautiful hotel… run by of course a Greek family from Sydney.
It was clean, new, friendly, beautiful and reasonably central who could’ve asked for more at such short notice.
We were picked up by friends and headed east to the almost private beach on a clear bay.
Their home was in an idyllic location and I was spoilt by grandmas traditional Greek cooking, wonderful hospitality and warm faces – we ate slow cooked octopus ragu pasta, orzo and beetroots with a greek salad.
The beach had sand… Not a big deal in Australia but here it is an uncommon luxury. The water was chilled and absolutely crystal clear aquamarine blue.
We had childlike fantasies and a sudden urge to make a sandcastle, only we finally agreed upon a crocodile.
Together we mastered our sculpting and excavating abilities and produced something of which to be very proud.
The light played it’s part and once again sunset proved to be a highlight.
We feasted away on some leftovers and then we finally headed back to town for a night on the town.
Behind every corner was a picture postcard of what you imagine the quintessential Cyclades to be.
White smooth houses, blue frames, hydrangeas growing up the sides, the afternoon gusts of warm wind off the Aegean.
Bathed in the golden sunlight the town looked especially beautiful.
Heading towards the port of Naoussa, the harbour was filled with fishing boats and leisure fare.
The restaurants and bars overlooked the sun as it set behind the hill.
In the intense heat the wind cools you down ready for the long nights ahead.
Nothing in Naoussa begins until after midnight. As the moon rises the crowds come out onto the streets packing the bars looking for a good time with friends.
I had the most unexpected day… I had stayed in and left late in the afternoon to explore the town. It was beautiful in the fading light, but truly came alive at night.
My camera was the focus of the expedition with my photographic eye guiding my wanderings. I walked all around town and retraced my steps as the light changed.
I finally sat down late in the evening at 9:30 for a cocktail by the waters edge. The sound of the water gushing in with waves crashing against the beach was so incredibly relaxing. The soothing sounds were complimented by an awesome cocktail as I awaited yet another late dinner.
The cocktail was simply sensational, tart passionfruit, sweet vanilla sugar, citrus from limes and a smooth hit of vanilla vodka!
I have been to some really special waterside bars in Greece… Thanks to the amazing insider advice!
And so I was joined by five beautiful Greek women at 11:15pm…
After exploring the town again down new alleys.
I made my way across Naoussa harbour to the famed Kolimbithres.
It is natural rock formations which give this series of tiny beaches a lunar like surface with tiny bays with sand scattered between huge piles of stone.
The rocks are populated by dry scrub and grasses. The water is clear, cool and the gentle waves lap against the rocks.
People laze away on lounge chairs under umbrellas tanning and active numbers play with bats.
I explored the scenery and then finally found my perfect position. I placed a lounge chair half submerged in the water and whiled away the hours reading my book as the water lapped over me.
As the sun descended behind the hills the rocks were covered in a golden glow.
The warm winds swept the hidden coves.
Peering back across the bay towards the white city of Naoussa it looked almost magical.
In the mood for a leisurely walk I made my way back to Naoussa on foot passing unseen views of this island.
I just happened upon a bakery and decided to walk in, it was my sort of pastry, filo, fillings and flavoured syrups.
I had an incredible chocolate baklava – unusual for sure, formidable for certain, secret recipe undoubtedly!
Fine crispy layers of Chocolate filo pastry filled with chocolate and covered in a simple spiced chocolate syrup and pistachios… Too die for!!
I then headed for a light dinner an early night.
The light was bright and this morning and made the buildings glow especially white.
Our final day saw yet another exploration of the village from a few new angles with yet more postcard worthy opportunities.
But armed with the knowledge of pastry gold and an insatiable desire for more chocolate baklava, we headed back to a certain family pastry shop in search of the ultimate present for our friends and their amazing parents who had been so absolutely welcoming towards us. Unfortunately the shop was closed, but Greek hospitality and kindness once again shone through as the old grandma and owner walked us all the way to her other shop, opened it up especially for us, and prepared a gift box filled with sweet delights including of course some chocolate baklava. As a sign of thanks it so happens that by the unexpected “opening” of the store a few other customers snuck into the store to make a few purchases of their own.
As such our last day went by as we lounged by the crystal clear blue waters of a private bay in the Greek Islands – basking in the sunshine with friends – life is tough at the moment to which I am sure you can relate.
Finally the sunset I had dreamed of and the perfect setting for unforgettable photography – sunset colours reflected in the receding waters so that it appears like a bolt of lightning.
Then a heightened sense of sentimentality as my own footprints are embossed into the cool sand below the glowing ball of the setting sun.
What a wonderful way to say goodbye to Paros – otherwise known as an island striving towards being a true paradise… it is not far off!