Paros, June 9-12

Paros Travel Blog

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The ferry from Ios to Paros was about two hours late, but I didn't have much trouble entertaining myself while I waited. I eventually got to Paros at around 4 in the afternoon, and did not see anyone holding hotel signs at the port like there usually are. I strolled around for a bit with my big pack and my small bag, looking for clues as to where my hostel was located. I walked into a tourist office and asked if they had heard of it, and got a "no." I walked around some more, trying to find a map of the island. I tried a couple more tourist offices and still had no luck. I finally resigned myself to sitting down and paying for internet to look at the email confirmation for the booking. It showed a very crude map that I was not even able to print out. The most difficult thing about these Greek towns is that there are virtually no street signs. I walked down in the direction of the hostel on the map, but still could not find it. After about a 45-minute loop I went to another internet cafe and wrote down the telephone number of the hostel, then brought it to a tourist office. I was picked up about five minutes later.

I threw my bags down and immediately left the hostel to check out the town. I walked around for a couple of hours, then decided to sit down and eat dinner at around 7 p.m., very early for these islands. I ordered a grilled squid dinner, and was surprised when I was given a massive plate with a whole squid on it. In the U.S., when we order calamari, it is completely different than this. I ate slowly and enjoyed the view of the port and beach. I then walked down the beachfront for a bit to try and find a decent place to watch the sunset. After sitting for about ten minutes, I noticed two guys walking down towards me, and I recognized them as Jeff and Antonio, an American and an El Salvodorean who I had met on Ios the previous nights. They were looking for a cheap place to spend the night and I led them to my hostel so they could get some beds. We then went out for a beer on the harbor. That night, the room in the hostel was at least 95 degrees, with no AC and no fan. Opening the doors was also not an option, because there are relentless mosquitoes around the hostel. I lay in bed sweating until the wee hours.

The next day, I set off at around 11 a.m. after a rough night's sleep. I grabbed a coffee and watched some ferries come in, while reading my tour book to see what there was to do around town. I found some things to do in Parikia, the main town, and walked around all day. I went into the "One Hundred Gated Church," a Byzantine cathedral that has one hundred gates around it. The main legend surrounding the cathedral is that the original architect, Isodore of Miletus, designed the building, only to have his brilliant student, Ignatius, actually build it. Upon completion of the cathedral, Isodore was so stunned by its beauty that he was consumed with jealousy and the two began fighting before both falling from the roof to their deaths. They are carved into stone in some of the columns outside the church. There was also a small Byzantine museum that I went into that unfortunately did not allow pictures.

I then spent some more time walking around the town, exploring a lot. I came across the Archaeological Museum, which was quite interesting because it had dozens of marble and stone carvings that dated back to 600 B.C. The most famous piece that the museum displays is a piece of the Parian Chronicle, which is a very early account of the history of Greece and some of its mythology. By this time, it was around 3 p.m., and I stopped along the waterfront to have a snack of bread and tzatziki, which was very good. I returned to the hostel to do some laundry, then spent a while working on this very blog that you are reading. I walked back to the harbor to try and see the sunset again, and ran into Jeff and Antonio again who were waiting for their ferry that would take them to Kos. They are on their way to see Turkey.

I watched the spectacular sunset, which I'm sure will not even compare to the one on Santorini, then walked around the town at night. There were a few interesting pictures that I took that looked different at night. I strolled slowly around the old market streets of Parikia, not really going into any, but having a good time anyway. I grabbed a cheap gyro for dinner and sat near the port and watched a ferry hit some rocks while it left. Thankfully, the room was nowhere near as hot as the night before, although it was still not very comfortable.

On June 11, I woke up and left at around 10 a.m., walked to the bus station and bought a ticket to see the town of Naoussa, which is a small fishing town on the north side of Paros. The bus ride took about 25 minutes, and we drove through some valleys covered with farms. Naoussa itself was quite small, although there was a very nice little port with lots of fishing boats. I took many pictures of an old, half-submerged Venetian fort that is right on the water. I had a light lunch then tried to find the Archaeological Museum, but found that it was closed. I returned to Parikia at around 3 p.m. and headed to the beach for a few hours. Tomorrow, I am off to Crete, for the longest stint of my trip: 9 nights. By the time I leave there, my trip will be coming to an end.
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Paros
photo by: GRANADOS