As the snow twirls gently outside the window, and the daffodils shiver, now is not such a bad time to be drifting back to my Greek idyll. Remember my Athens post? Personally, I will never forget Athens!
I was fairly new to flying in those days, so it was with not a little trepidation that I tiptoed across the tarmac. (it was hot! even in May) Negotiating Athens airport to the Domestic flights had been tricky enough, but when I looked at the tiny Messerschmitt (my husband’s memory for these things is SO much better than mine), my heart was in my mouth. I would be practically sitting in the driving seat!
I needn’t have worried though. After a few collywobbles, we were sweeping out across the bay and I was spellbound.
For as long as I can remember I had dreamed of the Greek Islands, and now here I was flying over them. I had had just the tiniest taste of the Greek experience on Corfu the previous year, and it had only served to whet my appetite. The dream was always to island hop, but using Paros as a base meant that I could see quite a few islands in my miserly two weeks holiday.
Swooping down on to this dry and arid looking land, my stomache churned with excitement. How different was this world! Small case in hand, it was down the steps and straight into a tiny shed which passed for Customs and passport control. The “officer” in his short sleeved blue shirt genially waved us through, and that was it- arrival!
Parikia, our island base, was all that I could have hoped for. The Meltemi was said to blow strongly in the Summer, but I could detect barely a whisper of breeze.
Treasured memories? A sprig of lavender in a table top jar in the little port of Naoussa. The heat toasting us brown as we linked hands round a beer, scarcely believing that this was real. A donkey, turning his hatted head to watch us from the shade.
The winding streets of Parikia in the evening and a favourite restaurant with an upstairs balcony overlooking the gentle hubbub. The pancakes from that same restaurant, strewn with honey, nuts and icecream.
A visit to the hillside village of Lefkes, gripping the shade for all I was worth. Foolhardy to be there in the heat of the day, but at the mercy of the bus timetable.
The shallow bay on Antiparos, where I lay full length in the water while Michael went in search of icecream. I don’t remember eating it so maybe he ate mine too, or it melted on the way back.
The best, best memory of all? Sitting on the waterfront in Naxos town. The ferry ride across to Naxos had me skipping like a kid. I was doing it! I was island hopping! A walk around the mighty gate of Apollo, in isolation in the harbour, had me wondering. Who were these people who had accomplished so much?
Time for a mooch round the back streets and then the obligatory beer. The sea shimmered and glinted as I sat under a stripey awning and just gazed and gazed. A moment in time never to be recaptured except in my imagination. I wanted never to leave.
I need to add a postscript here. You might have noticed that some, though not all, of the photos are courtesy of Wikipedia. This visit took place 26 years ago. Going back through my photo albums I discovered that they stop abruptly with the island of Santorini, which was also part of this holiday. I have searched and searched and can find neither photos nor postcards before this, though I can remember some of the shots quite vividly in my head. Sadly I cannot share them with you, but only paint the pictures with words.
I do urge you to visit the Wikipedia pages I have linked to on Paros, Antiparos and Naxos if you have time. There is so much there that I could not tell you in this simple post. I know it’ll have you longing to visit too.