Day 16 in Greece and I was ready to leave Santorini and take a ferry to Paros. I had to take one more early morning walk first though. My 13yo daughter had just loved one of my phone pictures from earlier in the week, and thinking I might want to print it up for her one day I went back to take the same shot with my good camera. And a few more. The early morning light is just so soft and beautiful.
Then it was a last look at my view and hotel room, that, while simple, was everything I needed, and once again off on a walk to the bus terminal. The buses to the port are only time tabled a few days ahead so you need to keep an eye on the posted time tables to know which one to catch. Having been at the bus terminal every day, this was no problem. Before I knew it I was in the hustle and bustle of a busy Greek Island port.
I loved the ferries. I loved the seemingly organised manner in which they docked, unloaded, loaded and took off again, in what seemed minutes. They really were a well oiled machine. This time I was on the highspeed 7 where the ticket came with an allocated seat and having been blown about on the trip from Crete, I chose to sit inside and enjoy the view. The ferry was very comfortable and we made a stop at Ios before arriving in Paros. I couldn’t stop taking photos of the water, the color was amazing.
Soon we arrived at Paros. I chose Paros because I wanted to visit a less cliche island and it seemed Paros and Naxos were both good choices. I think I settled on Paros to have the opportunity to see Antiparos as well. I’m sure I would have been equally happy on Naxos. Again, the well oiled machinery of the ferry service was on display. On approach to the Island you are asked to move down to the car deck where everyone assembles by the doors. I could do without the loud sirens that shriek though. As we approach the ferry starts to open down so that the minute we dock people move out quickly followed by the cars.
The dock at Paros is right by the main old town, so no bus is required if you are staying in Parikia, the main village of Paros. I was able to walk off the ferry and about 10 minutes later, after a waterfront stroll, arrive at my hotel.
I had a reservation at Hotel Dina, a hotel I had found online somehow and liked the reviews. On arrival I was greeted with a hug and a cold drink. I knew I had chosen well. My luggage was even carried upstairs for me.
I had no fixed pans for my first day on Paros. I knew there was an ancient cemetery worth visiting and a spectacular church. Aside from that I planned to wander and eat. It was a holiday after all. I think Paros was more what I had thought Cyclades islands were than Santorini. All white buildings with stunning flowers. Picture postcard in real life. I took so many photos just wandering from my hotel back to the waterfront. Granted I took the long route.
The waterfront and port of Parikia is dominated by a windmill that is a real focal point and, I am sure, a meeting point. There is also quite a large area for boats. I located where the ferry to Antiparos leaves from, my plan for the next day. Lunch then a walk.
Next I found the ancient cemetery, not far from the main port. It was quite small but good for a quick peruse.
My next stop was the spectacular Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, and yes I had to google the spelling of that! It is a beautiful church and for a nominal fee you can tour the small museum adjacent and with that fee also gain access to the baptistry and the upper level of the church, the women’s section. Because of course women weren’t welcome in the lower section in historic times. A fee well worth paying. I was starting to become accustomed to slabs of ancient marble lying around like leftovers. When your entire country is a melting pot of ancient history, some things just get stacked in the corner!
Because I was having a well earned lazy day I took a wander back through the picturesque streets to have
ice cream a rest before sunset.
There is a Kastro in the old town of Parikia that was close to my hotel and a perfect vantage spot for sunset. It looked over the water and crowds were non existent. Of course there was a church up there as well. After the cluttered vantage points of Santorini it was a much more relaxed sunset.
Sunset done and dusted, all that was left to cap off a truly wonderful day was a stroll along the waterfront to find somewhere to eat. Which I may have chosen not just for its food but also its view of the lingering sunset colors. Plenty of places to choose from to eat, and no crowds!
Day one Paros, fabulous.