Greece – Paros

We arrive at Paros’s capital and port of Parikia. Here you may wander around its bright, cheerful town with peaceful narrow streets which surround the 13th Century Venetian kastro (castle). The fortification crowns a slight rise above the waterfront which is located not too far from the ship. The busy hub of Parikia is the windmill roundabout right near the dock. The main square, Plateia Mavrogenous, where you can find small souvenir shops and a few restaurants, is straight ahead from the windmill. North along the waterfront there is a fenced ancient cemetery dating back from the 7th Century BC; it was excavated in 1983. Roman graves and burial pots are floodlit at night. If you are interested in beaches, there is a beach located walking distance from the ship. Just make a left along the coast (1 km down).

The windmill serves as the center of Parakia and is a popular hangout while waiting for an outbound ferry Lefkes's main square has a monument and fantastic views overlooking Lefkes The village of Lefkes was created as Parians moved inland to escape plundering coastal pirates in the 19th century Group photo overlooking pretty Lefkes Old windmills stand guard on the outer rim of Lefkes Religious icon; Greek Orthodox Church in Lefkes Bob and Ann hold hands while walking through romantic Lefkes Doesn't this restaurant look inviting? The vine-covered porch adds so much charm and appeal Does anyone know the significance of this particular awning? We saw it everywhere in Lefkes and couldn't figure out why this motif is so popular Timbered passageway in Lefkes Posing beneath a flower archway; Lefkes We loved just about every house, apartment, and building in Lefkes. The entire village just oozes charm Ann poses beside a flower potted staircase and the entrance to a typical home in Lefkes Bell tower; Lefkes Vibrant flowers really stand out against a white washed background This yellow hued building really stood out amongst its white washed neighbors in Lefkes Bougainvillea flowers are a popular choice in Lefkes...these flowers are in bloom everywhere Robby stops to pet a kitten; Lefkes Glassworks on sale at Michalis Glass store Michalis Glass souvenirs for sale; Lefkes Miniature figurines for sale; souvenir shop in Lefkes Another quaint restaurant in Lefkes Isn't this a million dollar view? In Lefkes they are so commonplace This old building will look phenomenal after some simple renovations...truly a "fixer upper" project in Lefkes The sky-blue cupola of this church blended right in with the surrounding sky; Lefkes A lion standing guard; Lefkes We noticed that many elderly Greek women are dressed in black from head to toe Red grapes ripened on the vine provide a shady spot The Agias Trias Cathedral is an impressive building whose entrance is shaded by olive trees Red, white, blue (and green) makes for a pretty color scheme Entrance to Agias Trias Cathedral Snapshot of the sprawling village of Lefkes (as seen from the Agias Trias Cathedral) Stone archway leading from Agias Trias Cathedral to a cemetery This section of the cemetery was devoted to WWII heroes Views of Paros's eastern coast We like how many of the buildings incorporated old with new (as evidenced by this renovated building that shows patches on the original construction beneath its whitewashed exterior) A workman takes an afternoon siesta We never tired of the amazing views in Lefkes For such a small village, Lefkes sure had a lot of church bell towers! An elderly woman out for a shopping trip in Lefkes A picturesque bell tower; Lefkes These pictures were painted at the entrance to a home in Lefkes (possibly indicating the occupation of its owner?) One final view of Lefkes...notice that Agias Trias Cathedral dominates over the entire village? Even though Lefkes is 9 km inland from Parikia, it has fine views of the island's eastern coast A petit church adorns a garden; Naoussa Pretty flower pots lined up narrow staircases; Naoussa Dried octopus hanging in a row; Naoussa port side restaurant Rustic dwelling in Naoussa Typical white washed houses in Naoussa This church's bell tower has flowers running amok Small church; Naoussa's harbor Cool looking jellyfish in the Naoussa harbor We loved Naoussa's scenic of our favorites in Greece This fort stands behind Naoussa's harbor Fishing nets drying on the dock A fishing boat laden with nets pulls into harbor; Naoussa Drying out in the sun near the harbor are "kolios", which are mackerel that is seasoned, grilled and served with ouzo in restaurants Yummy octopus hanging out to dry (grilled octopus is absolutely delicious!) More octopus ready to be grilled and served We don't know how there are still fish left in the sea with all these fishing boats around Plenty of seashell ornaments for sale; Naoussa Territorial geese that think they own this section of the harbor; Naoussa Souvenir stand showcasing sea shell ornaments for sale The quintessential Naoussa photo We walked around Naoussa as happy shutterbugs...there were so many nice photo opportunities The "big blue" is open for business Entrance plaque for "The Big Blue" souvenir shop The walkway out to Naoussa's fort The Greek flag was proudly flapping in the wind; Naoussa Harbor Interior of the fort; Naoussa Robby stops for a photo op with Naoussa in the background Family photo with pretty Naoussa in the background Sunflowers make our day in Naoussa An artist's rendition of Naoussa Al fresco dining by the seaside; Naoussa Pretty archways in Naoussa Santa Maria beach had endless warm sand to stretch out for a snooze Lots of beach goers at Santa Maria beach A wind surfer having fun at Santa Maria beach Our Easy Cruise docked in Parikia's harbor This vine covered entranceway has so much charm and appeal; Parikia An old church; Parikia's Frankish Kastro Another view of the church at the Frankish Kastro; Parikia Courtyard in Parikia's ancient labyrinth Views of Parikia's narrow alleyways This old lady was knitting away; Parikia Remnants of the Frankish Kastro have been used to form this tower A cute kitty peers at us with curiosity; near Parikia's Frankish castle Garden side view of the Frankish Kastro (castle); Parikia Seeing dried octopus hanging in the window made us crave seafood for dinner tonight Parikia's back streets are worth a stroll Lots of beautiful shops line this quaint alleyway; Parikia Fresh snails for sale; Parikia A church bell tower tolls away every hour on the hour; Parikia Ann stands beside a painted doorway; Parikia Endless alleys to explore; Parikia A fisherman tending to his nets; Parikia Sunset over Parikia harbor Dried fish and octopus by the waterfront helps steer us in the direction of a seafood restaurant; Parikia From our dinner table, we watched the sun set over Parikia's horizon Ann and Bob are thoroughly enjoying their seafood meal...Paros rocks! After a busy day in Paros, we enjoyed a scrumptious seafood meal in Parikia foto gallery lightboxby v6.1

8 Sep: We pulled into Parikia at 11 am, and were ready to explore Paros straight away. Our plan for the day was to explore Lefkes (a tiny town with beautiful architecture that emerged in the Middle Ages to escape the plundering coastal pirates), Naoussa (a colorful and festive port town), and whatever else tickled our fancy.

First stop was at the super friendly Europecar rental, where we rented a compact for 30 Euros. After pumping the recommended 5 Euros worth of gas, we headed north towards Naoussa until we saw signs for Lefkes. The drive out to Lefkes was quite scenic, and we could see that Lonely Planet’s description of it was accurate, “Lefkes clings to a natural amphitheatre amid hills whose summits are dotted with old windmills.” After parking in the shade, we strolled through Paros’s highest and loveliest village.

Sometimes LP has a bad habit of over touting a city’s virtues. However, Lefkes did not disappoint, and we wandered its cobblestoned streets in awe of its beauty. It truly is a picturesque village, crowned by the Agias Trias Cathedral. After being inspired by the alleyways and buildings (and getting lots of construction ideas for our future home), we stopped at the town’s only supermarket and stocked up on lunch supplies. The central square had several benches that were perfect for an afternoon picnic, and over a glass or two of red wine, we kept philosophizing to ourselves that “Greece truly rocks”.

After lunch, we drove up towards Naoussa to soak up the harbor’s fishing village atmosphere. We read that Naoussa’s quaintness has been slightly ruined by the tourists who now overrun the place. We didn’t find that to be true (the quaint fishing village part is true but we didn’t find the harbor to be overrun with camera toting tourists). What we did find were colorful fishing boats strewn with fishing nets, rows of dried octopus baking in the sun, and a laid back ambiance that was very appealing to the senses. While we wanted to stop and have dinner here, Bob was ready for some beach time, so we headed up north towards Santa Maria beach (known for its decent windsurfing). Bob and Ann plunged into the Mediterranean for a cooling dip, while Becky & Robby took a snooze and read their paperback novels.

Seeing all the wonderful seafood on display at Naoussa put us in the mood for some, and we decided to head back towards Parikia and scope out an eatery there. First, we decided to drop our stuff off at the cruise, and return the rental car. We pulled the car into a tight parking spot, and jaunted over to the car rental agency and told the owner that we were done for the day.

When the jovial owner asked us where we had parked the car, we pointed in the general direction, and asked him if it would be a problem to have left the rental agreement on the cruise. Little did we realize, but his eyes were fixated on a dilapidated, red compact car parked haphazardly on the curb. He must have been furious, as we couldn’t understand why he sprinted out towards the bombshell and started examining it in an agitated and panicked state. We kept trying to grab his attention to let him know that our rental car was further down the street, but he was so attuned to every scratch, bump, and tear on the car that he paid us no mind. Finally, after Becky grabbed his arm and twirled him around, he looked up in shock and slowly came to the realization that he had been looking at the wrong car. Only after he finally saw his rental car returned in its pristine condition did he let out a loud sigh of relief…and all of us laughed out loud at the sheer comical turn of events. Now fast friends, we asked him for a recommendation for a good seafood joint, which he readily described and pointed out down the street.

First we wanted to walk around Parikia town, and we got lost in the labyrinth near the Frankish castle. There were plenty of trendy stores selling the latest fashions, while outdoor cafes and waterfront restaurants vied for our business while showcasing their menus and latest offerings. It made for a pleasant stroll about the town, and after working up an appetite, we headed over to what our car rental contact had proudly described as Parikia’s best seafood eatery. We can’t remember the name of the joint, but it was several hundred meters to the left from the port.

Dried fish and octopus greeted us as we entered into this simple eatery, and our meal choices (calamari, boiled and grilled octopus, fish platter, ouzo, house wine) were absolutely scrumptious. After topping off dinner with some gelato, we strolled back through Parikia before calling it a night. Paros ended up being an unexpected surprise, and we enjoyed this island immensely.

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