On Tuesday we embarked to Paros on a four hour ferry. I love boats! (For Beth: BOATS! I hadn’t thought of that in so long!) So fun. We slept through most of it though, as we had to leave from the port at 7:25 AM, meaning we had to wake up at 4:30. Four. Thirty.
But then we were here:
…and it was all good.
We spent a day exploring the port village of Parikia:
…before lounging around in our apartment. We had expected to stay in a room with a shared bathroom, but since it’s low season the owner of the hotel gave us an apartment with a terrace for the same price! Lisa went for a walk while Hayley and I caught up on the balcony, watching the ocean over the maybe ten or so buildings that separated us from the sea. Beautiful.
The next day we took the bus to the fishing village of Naoussa, that we had heard we couldn’t miss. When we got there though, we realized all we knew is that there were things to see in Naoussa, but we didn’t know what any of them were. No guide book, no map, nothing. And the bus had just left. We walked toward the ocean, pondering, and it started to rain. Awesome. We ducked into a little cafe that had a few people in it and happened to meet a German woman who was just on her way out. She invited us back to have lunch with her the next day and disappeared! After she left, the four Coast Guard men sitting behind us started asking us where we’re from and why we were on Paros. Valid question, as we literally saw under ten other tourists the entire three days that we were there. When they say low season, they mean low. Most of the restaurants, cafes, and bars aren’t even open right now!
We ended up sitting and talking with them for almost three hours, and during that time they had us try both a stingray fish salad (kind of tasted like tuna, but so fresh and wonderful) and souma, Paros’ own special brand of…liquor. Which they drink straight. Beautiful. It actually wasn’t that bad, since it’s made from grapes. But I definitely watered mine down on the sly (thankfully it’s clear. Like…vodka. Mmmmm. Not planning on going to Russia anytime soon if it’s a custom to buy random people random drinks). And have I mentioned that European’s don’t seem to do shots? Or at least, not in daylight. Not that Americans do either but seriously, no one but Dads and other older male people drink straight liquor. And older male people tend to drink scotch. And we had to sip it. Blerghleknghsd.
They drove us back to Parikia and we explored the coast a little bit!
Later that night we met up with some of the people we had met that day at one of (count them) two bars that are open on the island during low season. We had totally forgotten that it was St. Patrick’s day, and apparently Greeks don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s day at all, so naturally the bar got really into it and all the Greeks were being ironically St. Patricky because they couldn’t really believe people honestly actually get into a holiday that basically revolves around pinching people and getting outrageously drunk. I know it seems like our experience in Paros so far has been all about the liquor, but it’s more interesting to comment on then the parts where we slept in until noon and sat in the sun sprouting freckles.
Honestly, there is so much to see on Paros including but not limited to: The Church of a 100 Doors (99 of which have only ever been found, when the 100th door is found, Constantinople will be returned to the Greeks), the abandoned Monastary, the valley of the butterflies, the castle guarding against the pirates at Naoussa, and the Archeology Museum. None of which I saw. I was too busy meeting people, eating good food, and enjoying the sun!
Our next day we went back to Naoussa and had a long, lovely lunch with the german lady, who has been living in Greece for a year now. She had many friends with her at lunch, most of whom did not speak English but a lot of whom also spoke German, so there was a strange fusion of languages going on as people told stories and the people who understood them would explain it in the other language they knew until everyone had heard it, resulting in the wonderful effect that the funny stories got three rounds of genuine laughter.
After debating whether to walk around Naoussa or lie in the sun while waiting the hour for the bus (guess which one we chose), we stopped and had milkshakes by the shore and watched a beautiful sunset.
We ended the day by meeting up with some people we had met the night before who offered to show us the best restaurant on the island. They took us to an amazing fish restaurant where I had so much seafood that I think I’ll be ok without any sort of sea creature near my mouth for about a month. Wonderful. Next they took us to two different bars that only the local Greeks go to before driving us back to our hotel. I love Greek people! Every SINGLE person we met was nice, open, funny, and curious. Not one took advantage of us or even hinted at doing so. Better than you can get in the US in most places, that’s for sure!
We thought we were going to spend one more day in Paros (during which we were planning to take a ten minute ferry to the opposite island, cleverly named Antiparos), but we decided we couldn’t ignore every single one of the amazing Greeks telling us to go to Santorini, and we decided to change our plans last minute! We got up for the noon ferry the next day, and were in Santorini around three.
The beautiful thing about low-season (again) is that we were able to buy our ferry tickets about an hour before we boarded, and we went to the island with a) no idea what to do once we got there, b) what the island really was at all, and c) where we would be sleeping that night.
But all the details of that are a story for another time.