Hmmm. What to say about Paros. Certainly nowhere near as impressive as Santorini for it’s astounding location, Paros is a bigger and much flatter island. The port of Parikia is a fairly major port for all of the ferries to the different islands. It has an “old town” located nearby that is the maze of whitewashed buildings with blue doors, some of which has given way to shops and restaurants, but in the main it still looks fairly traditional. I couldn’t see any street names or house numbers, so I wonder what happens when the local postie goes on vacation… Arriving on a Sunday afternoon, the old town was deserted. It appears that the afternoon siesta lasts a long time here, but the area becomes lively again in the evening.
I picked some accommodation from Hostelworld that was pretty basic, but it was secure, clean (enough) and quiet. Unfortunately, only a few others picked it, so I’ve only had my own company for the past few days!
After realizing how big the island was, and after plucking up enough courage, I rented a scooter yesterday, and spent the day doing a 70km ish lap of the island,
which ended up being great fun. I haven’t ridden a motorbike in years, but it was simple to ride, even if it did sound like a chainsaw. Apart from in Parikia, I just about had the roads to myself, which made riding far more pleasant.
I stopped at a few beaches and villages on the way around that the hotel owner recommended, and I also took the ferry across to Antiparos for a while. Back on Paros, I stopped at a place called Punda Beach club, which had a huge setup of deck chairs and lounges and bars to cater for the tourist (party?) crowds in July and August, but given that it was empty apart from about 3 others, I left and spent a few hours a great beach nearby that felt far more normal.
I then made my way up to Naoussa, which is the town that Parikia really should have been. It has a great harbour, full of fishing boats, and surrounded by waterfront restaurants with literally hundreds of tables outside. I’d like to see what happens in a place like this when it rains… The harbour was also temporary home to several
multi-million dollar yachts, which was interesting to see. I found a rockpool nearby that, once I sat and watched for a while, was teaming with life that I hadn’t seen at first glance. Shrimp, crabs, catfish, and anemones all doing their thing scavenging and avoiding being scavenged by the next thing higher up the food chain. Mykonos
I think I’ve been spoilt by going to Italy, and then coming to Santorini first. Mykonos was a nice place, but to be honest, it’s attraction is lost on me. Maybe it’s just the frame of mind I’ve been in, travelling by myself and not picking accommodation with other backpackers…
Mykonos is again a nice village set by the sea, but it is so outrageously commercial, it’s appalling. It’s a whitewash and blue trim version of Chapel St in Melbourne. The shops seemed to be all selling designer clothes, sunglasses and jewelry, or close knock-offs of the originals! Not being either rich or famous, I didn’t part with too much cash here.
There were at least two cruise ships that arrived each day, each one disgorging hundreds of people at a time into the streets.
Depending on how adventurous they were, they’d either follow a guide holding a number aloft, and seeing not a great deal, or they’d go it alone in the winding streets, which was the better option. Either way, they had anything from a few hours to the whole day before returning to their ships. Perhaps that was just the right amount of time…
I did enjoy getting lost in these villages, but given their size, it wasn’t too hard to climb a hill or find the waterfront again to get your bearings.
It’s interesting to watch the phenomenon of the siesta. Mornings were busy, up until about 1 or 2pm, and then it was left to a scant few tourists to do the wandering, and some bored shopkeepers to do some polishing, cleaning, or sunbaking(!). Then come about 6pm or so, things would liven up and become very busy again for the dinner and clubbing stages.
Mykonos is one of the well known party towns, and the nightclubs would only start getting bodies in there after 11pm or so. That didn’t stop them all from vying for the title of the loudest PA for a
Two lovely Greek women...
Oh the captions that I could have come up with for this one...
few hours beforehand, however. And of course, I came across the “Down Under Bar”, supposedly run by an Aussie, and after having a chat with the guy at the door, I stopped for a few photos. I’ll stop for a drink when they ban smoking inside…
OK perhaps I’ve been a bit harsh. Mykonos is a nice place for what it is, or perhaps was. One thing that added to the atmosphere was the bougainvilleas flowering everywhere. There was two especially large specimens in front of the building just near me, and most people stopped to take a snap of their partners standing in front of it. It was a good spot for people watching as a result, either from the balcony or at street level.
It’s Thursday today, and apparently I’ve chosen a good time to leave. This weekend is a public holiday, and they are expecting 25,000 Greek party animals for the next three days. All of the ferries are doing double runs, and there are no more return tickets available… I’m guessing the shopkeepers won’t be getting any siestas this weekend.
From sunny and highs of 28 degrees, I'm off to
Ireland next, where the temperature might reach 18!
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