Thursday, October 13, 2016

HIking at Paros Greece

Being in Santa Barbara recently reminded me about our hiking holiday in Greece.  We hadn't really intended for it to be a hiking holiday, but because it was spring and the islands were completely covered in wildflowers, it became the thing to do.  We were there in late March, which is the off season for tourism, especially on the islands.
Amazing views and color everywhere

We visited Paros first. Normally this is a beachlover's destination because it has so many beautiful beaches.  The water was way too cold for that, and strong winds blew nearly every day during our stay, so we definitely didn't go swimming, though we made it to the beaches just to see them.
You can see how many beaches are around Paros

The water was rough and choppy all the time

We rented a small apartment at Anezina Village, which turned out to be an unforgettable experience. Most hotels were still closed so we got a great deal by renting for an entire week, and the room had a full kitchen as well as breakfast for just a few euro. Turns out the chef was fantastic, so we ended up eating here several nights for dinner too. With a small grocery store just on the other side of the property, it was easy to buy coffee and other foods for picnics. What made it special was the people who owned and managed it.  A family run business, we came away feeling like WE were their family.  I might add that the views from the upper terrace were really nice, but the beds were quite firm. There are pluses and minuses with every stay, I think.
Breakfast could be outdoors when it was sunny, though it wasn't warm

Having a tailgate picnic

Since they weren't that busy, we were offered a tour of the island one day. It was a great way to see the outdoors. We had our own car, so we followed our guide, who was related to the owner. If you're there for a visit, it helps to have a car, but it's not mandatory.  There is a bus service and many places are walkable from the city centers. We saw a couple churches. The most memorable was the one with 100 doors. Then we were off to Yria ceramics, beaches, and spent more than an hour hiking at Paros Park, which I thought was the highlight.  You get scenic views of the shoreline, lighthouse, rock structures, and wildflowers. The paths are well marked, and they appreciate if you stay on them.
Yria Ceramic Studio- just a very small collection

The stones along this beach are carved by wind and waves
Church of 100 doors at Parikia

We recharged with a coffee and pastries before hiking

Stunning views at Paros Park

 We enjoyed hiking so much that we asked where we might do another half day hike.  The Byzantine Road begins at Lefkes and takes you to Marpissa.  We left our car at Marpissa and got a ride to Lefkes, which is another fascinating town to explore. We found cats on nearly every corner. This was not as scenic as Paros Park, but it was an easy hike which takes you back in time.  We saw olive trees, bees and bee boxes, stone bridges and other stone structures.
We took a break here at this beautiful bridge

The path is mostly stones like these- an old road from a bygone era

Within walking distance was an old dock made of stones, so we got up early one morning to see the beach. Walking through quiet neighborhoods at daybreak, we met a colony of cats and the man who takes care of them through a non-profit organization, Paros Animal Welfare Society. There are cats everywhere on the island, yet so few seem to belong to anyone. We thought they were strays because many look unkempt. Omar thought it was great he got to help feed them. We also met a herd of goats. Instead of fencing them, the goats are tied at the ankles, which we thought quite cruel.
The dock seems to be carved from one large stone
Most were friendly

Cats near Anezina Village love Omar
The goat has rope tied around the ankles to keep him from running
This was simply such a fantastic destination to get into nature and enjoy the good food one can enjoy in Greece.  I rarely go back to a place we've been, but I would make an exception with Paros.

2 comments:

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  2. Nature and Nurture, both at the same time and I have decided to visit this place soon to feel its charm.

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