A tale or two : Paros

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!

Up there with the pilot

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.

Flying high

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!

The seafront at Parikia- courtesy of Wikipedia

The seafront at Parikia- courtesy of Wikipedia

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.

Panagia Ekatontapiliani

Panagia Ekatontapiliani- again the image from Wikipedia

The bluest of doors

The bluest of doors

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.

Street in Lefkes village

Street in Lefkes village

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 port of Naxos- courtesy of Wikipedia

The port of Naxos- courtesy of Wikipedia

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?

The entrance to Apollo's Temple- courtesy of Wikipedia

The entrance to Apollo’s Temple- courtesy of Wikipedia

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.

Sailing away

Sailing away

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.


  1. I think it may be time for you to return and buy your retirement home. No time like the present! Gorgeous photos Jo. You know, I find my mind’s eye so much better than photos and yet the urge to share them sometimes over rules and I end up wasting so much precious time taking photos. Thanks so much for this series. I am bound and determined to visit Greece. The sooner the better.

    1. Back then, Michael took the photos and I romped about, Lesley. Now that I’m ‘allowed’, I do love framing photos, though I’m pretty rubbish technically. I would like to learn, but there’s so much else I need to do. Thank you so much for your appreciation.

  2. I think it’s great how you remember so many details of your trip. That alone speaks volumes to me, and I can’t wait to visit Greece for myself now! I’m now going to research Naxos since I’ve never heard of it! Thanks for posting Jo!

  3. You painted a picture of a place you visited 26 years ago and you made it feel like it was yesterday. Such passion you have for it and I can see why. Just look at the blue doors, white iconic buildings and draping bougainvillea. It’s time to go back and finish that ice cream. 🙂

    1. Lynne, thank you for these lovely words. Hitting some big numbers in celebrations in the next year or so and wondering about holidays. Tavira always pulls us back but I’m still very greedy for the rest of the world.

      1. I can relate to that. My list of new places to adventure to outweigh the places I would like to revisit…given my new age of 70. Happy travels and happy memories wherever life takes you.

      2. 70 years young from the looks of you! I make 65 in November and our Silver Wedding next August (if God spares me till then- as Mam always used to say!) Many thanks and the same for you, Lynne.

  4. shame about those missing photographs. I liked Paros but Antiparos even more. Naxos remains one of my favourites, I love the old town behind the busy harbour front! Where to next?

    1. Santorini (of course), Mykonos and Delos on this trip, but no photos for Mykonos or Delos (criminal!) Mick says he’s sure they’re somewhere because he remembers taking them. How helpful is that?
      Only had the daytrip to Antiparos- it was hot and we were lazy, but reading about it there was so much more to see. Wasted opportunity.

  5. What a beautiful trip you must have had, Jo! these pictures are great (and I hope you find the ‘lost’ ones!) 😀

    PS – I’ve flown a lot and I still ‘tiptoe across the tarmac’! Yikes – flying certainly isn’t my favourite way to travel 😦

    1. I love it once I’m up there, Dianne. I always have that “what if this is my last trip” feeling and give Mick’s hand a squeeze (if he’s there! Next trip is to Poland with Dad)

  6. lovely piece of writing Jo. The words certainly make up for your sadly lost photos. Lots of great memories from beautiful places. I have never been to Greece, but really want to go now after reading this.

  7. hah hah I like your descriptive passage: “After a few collywobbles…”
    I flew in one of those teeny planes in Belize.

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Greek Islands …it must be so beautiful to walk down the streets with the white buildings next to the blue ocean under the hot sun.

  8. Such beautiful pictures Jo. A trip to Greece and other spots in your neck of the woods is at the top of my bucket list; in the meantime, I live vicariously through your posts.

  9. I’m so happy.. I’ve discovered I can still log in here on wordpress.com and use the Reader:D And here I am.. it’s been way too long! I loved reading this post with my morning coffee.. it has my head swirling with ideas and images for a trip I need to take one day. I hope you locate your photos, jo.. that’s so disappointing for you. xx

    1. Wonderful! I have loads of photos for the rest of the mini series I’m doing, Smidge, but it was a horrible surprise not to be able to find the others. I can see them so vividly! Never mind. Have a lovely Easter.

  10. Oh you’ve given me a right prod in the memory bank! My first solo holiday was just that, island hopping in the Ionian islands in 1981. No package deal for me, all ad hoc-ery seat of the pants stuff, and I adored it. I should have a pile of pictures somewhere if my scanner is working. What adventures for a lone middle-aged woman! (No, not like Pauline Collins!)

    1. You sneaked your way into my spam box, Suze, but I found you!
      I hardly dare look over my shoulder but I think there might just be a hint of blue in the sky today. I’m trying so hard to encourage it with my Greek stories.

  11. it looks so lovely jo, and your colourful description tells the tale, what wonderful memories … next thing i will be telling about my visit to greece and crete in the late 70’s … such good exciting times!

    1. Oh, do, Christine! I’d love to read them. I often wonder how much has changed. Paros airport can’t possibly still be so laidback, can it? (we were in the Cyclades in 88 and 89) Happy Easter!

      1. Sounds like a good way to spend your time, I have 5 whole days off so I’m going to spend time in the garden, do a little cooking, photography and blogging and just relax. Have a happy Easter!

  12. It’s like from “Mamma Mia” – with house and blue doors .. I think every Greek Island has them. Wonderful! And all that strong dark pink and red Bougainvillea everywhere .. absolute stunning photos – and now I’m really longing back to Greece.

    1. I can’t spell in any language but English, Viveka, so never apologise. I know you’re always in a hurry with your replies too. Have a wonderful Easter! (a Greek Easter- wouldn’t that be something!)

      1. Yes, a Greek Easter would be lovely .. get away from the frosty nights – an other lovely sunny day today – I hope they are wrong when they are talking about more snow.
        Thanks for being understanding, about my spelling.

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