Sailed into a stiffening North wind from Santorini to Paros, arriving about 10:30AM at the port of Parikia. Paros has been mined for its exquisite marble since the Helenic Era. The Venus de Milo was carved from Paros marble. Happily there were no cruise ships present so we had the island to ourselves. Well, us and the Greeks of course.
After a light lunch we boarded a bus for a tour of this charming Cycladic island. First stop was the inland capital of Lefkes which has preserved its Medieval Old Town of narrow, twisting streets, shaded by white and blue houses and Bougainvillea. Our guide, a charming German lady who moved to the island thirty years ago, explained that the authentic white colour was originally the result of coating the houses with Lime, making them waterproof, heat-reflective and insect repellent, all at the same time. The blue trim colour was derived from the only local material available; cobalt. Now everything’s whitewash (three times a year) and paint.
We continued to the seaside village of Pisso Livadi to avail ourselves of their lovely sandy beach and a swim in their protected harbour for 45 minutes. Then back on the bus to the fishing village of Naoussa and its famous tiny port. Picturesque is an inadequate word.
Took a different route back to Parikia and a visit to the 100-arch Byzantine Church of Ekatondapillani, said to be built by Constantine to commemorate the fact that it was on this spot that St. Helen (patron saint of Greeks, who call themselves Helenes) received guidance on how to find the location of the true cross in Israel.
The tour forged on to visit a Venetian fortress nearby, but we were in sight of the ship and it was 6:30PM, so we returned aboard for a refreshing beverage and to prepare ourselves for Greek Night. The ongoing advantage this ship has of being able to park right downtown as it were, becomes more apparent with each passing day. After supper, the young whipper-snappers set off to explore the town’s active nightlife. Awkward to do when you’re moored in the middle of the Bay. While they did that, we enjoyed a complementary Metaxa (courtesy of the Chief Steward) on the after-deck and solved world problems with a French couple and a gentleman from Mexico.
800 year old roadside olive tree
Galileo at Paros
Pretty house in Lefkes
Beach at Pisso Livadi
Fishing boat harbour at Naoussa
Our Lady of 100 Gates (I think they mean arches)
Greek Night dancers