Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Greek Island Idle

By Claire
It's been a very relaxing week. We've gotten into a routine of breakfast on the porch then out come our Kindles. Chuck is reading the 6th in the Outlander series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, by Diana Gabaldon. His bursts of laughter followed by gasps of horror indicate to me that he is enjoying himself. Remember, real men read romance.

We went on a great hike Tuesday, riding double on Karin and Michael's scooters to find the trail. The views were gorgeous, as was the day.

Karin in the flowers

Michael waxing poetic

Fanos Arch--photo by Michael Shephard

Karin wading

We had Karin and Michael over for Greek salad and dessert that night (store bought cookies and ice cream). This was preceded by gin and tonics and homemade tzatsiki on their front porch. We are getting lots of good advice and recommendations for Ireland and Prague. It's really nice to be able to have a coherent conversation with other Americans for a change.

Wednesday morning we actually slept in until 9 am! A first for us. After a leisurely breakfast, We walked into Aliki to pick up a few things at the store. It takes about 2 minutes to get there.

Aliki Village

Aliki Harbor

Later, Karin and I went into town in search of motor scooters to rent. Nothing until next week, unfortunately, so we're going to try going to the main town tomorrow. We headed out to the bakery where I purchased another chocolate treat for Chuck and our daily bread. What a nice place this is! I love riding on the back of Karin's motor scooter. What a life.

Sitting on the porch, alternately reading and viewing either the seascape or the hillside, I became aware of sheep bleating and a little old man—Pappous (Grandpa), I later discovered—singing while he watched over them. He was comfortably seated in the sun. Eventually, he rose and led them nearer, sat himself in another favored location and began singing again. I remembered hearing, many years ago, that Greek men, dancing by themselves in tavernas, were insulted if you applauded them; they danced to please themselves, not for approval. I am sure it was like that for Pappous.


This morning I saw the smallest newborn lambs I have ever seen. They were adorable as they wobbled, weakly, around their mother.

Meeting up with Karin and Michael at 1:30, we headed out by scooter for another walk, this time in the opposite direction from yesterday's walk. We saw so many beautiful views and flowers along the way.

Photo by Karin

We sat on the beach for awhile and just had a relaxing time until we decided it was time for a drink at a local taverna. Three beers and one ouzo later, we parted until dinner time at Karin and Michael's.

Photo by Karin

The beauty surrounding us, the mild climate and the sound of roosters, sheep and birds is very soothing. We are in full-on relax mode and enjoying ourselves immensely. I'm loving all the walks we're taking.

Dinner was another one of Karin's masterpieces. Michael cooked up some wonderful sausages as his contribution to the meal, a goulash that was just a bit breathtaking—she used a hot paprika, not knowing just how hot it would be. Yogurt helped to tame it. We loved it. She even picked out a selection of wonderful desserts at the bakery for us to choose from.

Thursday morning I watched the goats jumping over the fence and hopping around while I sipped my tea. Did I mention this is a really fun place to be?

Our beach view

Later, we all went to Parikia, the port where we arrived, to rent motor scooters for Chuck and me. Unfortunately, my driver's license was one of the things lost when we were robbed so I wasn't able to get my own scooter. It was probably just as well since I haven't ridden one since I was 18. Chuck, on the other hand, used to ride a motorcycle and had a Vespa for awhile. Today's plan was a tour around the entire island. Our first stop was the Mycennaen Acropolis where the view was spectacular.

Hike to Mycennaen Acropolis

View from acropolis

We wound our way around, stopping at various gorgeous spots and a few little villages, some more untouched than others. This one was Naoussa.

We surprised Chuck by going to a Buddhist retreat center for lunch where they serve Thai food. They offer workshops and yoga classes. It was a beautiful, serene place and the owner, Ran, who is from Israel, was so nice and even gave us our tea and spring rolls on the house. He gave us a tour of the Dharma center, which included a huge meditation hall.

Tao's Center

Pad Thai

Sweet and sour pork and pineapple

Fried banana for dessert

Meditation Hall

Chuck in the meditation hall


What pure delight; and what a treat to have Thai food. The place is beautiful—I just wish we could stay all day! But, more delights awaited us. We stopped in two wonderfully Greek towns, Lefkes and Drios. I'm so glad we came to Paros. We have finally found the Greece we've been looking for.


Interesting wreath

A coffee break was in order and once again, we arrived in a charming village where we sat in the sunshine looking at the water.

Our final village of the day was Drios, completely quiet except for a little old man who couldn't start his motor scooter. Michael went over to help him and was able to fire it up but the little old man couldn't seem to keep it going and seemed to have trouble coordinating the accelerator with the kick starter. We're pretty sure he'd been drinking.

What a perfect day. We really have an appreciation for the size and variety of this island, a place we never would have seen if Karin and I hadn't started corresponding via email. Another place we will be sad to leave.

Traveling is not just seeing the new; it is also leaving behind. Not just opening doors; also closing them behind you, never to return. But the place you have left forever is always there for you to see whenever you shut your eyes. ~ Jan Myrdal


Toni said...

Heavenly text, heavenly photos. Thanks you two!

Pat in Santa Cruz said...

Oh, I am in love with Paros, too. I think on the scooter you guys look like Suzanne and Troy in Rome Adventure! Your apartment is so beautiful. So glad you found the Budhist opportunities for Chuck. That Jan Myrdal quote speaks perfectly about travel -- and life in general. Looking forward to making lemon cake!