We both woke up really early this morning to the wind just howling outside. It sounded like we were on the Arctic tundra it was so loud. I heard it through my earplugs, and Deb barely slept at all it was so noisy. Groggy and foggy, we got up and had to head to Mykonos town to catch the SeaJet hydrofoil to Paros. It’s only a 40 minute ride, but it was rough again and our boat wasn’t the biggest so we were getting pretty whipped around. We saw a lone sailboat and wondered what kind of crazies would be out in rough seas like this. I’m so not sea worthy….. I’m a sea wuss. Anyways, we got to Paros and had no idea how to get to our hotel. I had emailed to ask if they were going to come and pick us up at the ferry (this seems to be customary) and they said no, their driver had hurt himself on his motorcycle and couldn’t work. Hmmmm, no one else could come pick us up? Annoying. So we paid 6 euro to take a cab up the hill to the hotel. Come hell or high water, they WILL be driving us back to the port to take our ferry to Naxos, oh yes they will. To give them credit, our hotel is actually really nice. The rooms are really bright and we have a cute little balcony and the best part? A pool! There’s nothing better than having a pool to jump into when you’ve just walked up the hill from a long day in the sun.
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We decided to head to the town on Naoussa for lunch. It’s a 25 minute bus ride to get there (the bus service on Paros is excellent) and we found a nice little place seaside for some Greek salad and crepes. This town is an ancient port that once saw the likes of Venetian galleons, Persian and Greek warships and Russians freighters taking on supplies during the Turko-Russian War of 1768-74. We happened to be there between 2:00 and 4:00 when pretty well all of the shops close (that was probably for my own good) so the old town was very, very quiet compared to Mykonos. It was kind of refreshing though because yesterday there were 4 cruise ships docked in Mykonos and the town was chock-a-block with people from the ships doing what we did the first day we were there… stand in the middle of the street staring at things…. MOVE! Yes, I’m shouting in my head again.
Fresh catch drying in the sun.
This is the original breakwater/fortification wall into Naoussa.
Many of the restaurants have octopus hanging at the front door. Not sure if it’s edible or supposed to ward off evil spirits. Maybe Octo-jerky?
It was windy and not very patio worthy.
Love the fresh laundry drying in the sun.
We came back to the hotel for a swim and got to know the family of cats living here. There was Paros Tiger, Peach Melba, Marmalade, Marmalade Jr., Snoopy AKA Pepper and Grouchypants. These are not their official names, these are the names we decided to give them…. Grouchypants was the mean old one who picked on all of the younger ones. I liked him at first because he was really friendly, but was so not impressed by his bad behaviour. The rest of them are really skittish and wouldn’t let us near them, but were they ever cute!
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And this is our cat of the day, Marmalade Jr.
We walked into Parikia (the main town where the ferries come in) and went straight to the Church of the Hundred Doors. In Greek it’s called Panagia Ekatontopylani. It is one of the oldest churches in the world and has a really cool story behind it as well. Helen, the mother of Constantine (the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire) took shelter on Paros on her way to the holy land in 326 and vowed to build a church on the island if the vision she had to find the True Cross during her voyage came true. Lo and behold, her vision apparently came true so Constantine completed the basilica upon her death. The emperor Justinian rebuilt the church in the 6th century and sent Isidoros, the architect that built Hagia Sophia in Constantinoble to build the dome. He in turn gave the project to his apprentice Ignatius and was so jealous to see the beautiful job he did that he pushed him off the roof of the church. Ignatius grabbed Isidoros and pulled him to his death as well. Only 99 of the 100 doors have been found, and legend has it that the last door will not be found until Constantinople is Greek again.
Another new feline friend.
We walked around Parikia enjoying the cobbled streets and many cool little shops and restaurants. There are 18th century fountains, a lovely square and a 13th century fortress that was cobbled together by the Venetians with fragments of ancient marble temples. This island was once ruled by the Venetians until Barbarossa the pirate chased them away. I must admit, I love the pirate history here! The marble was mined from a quarry on the island that was worked over by thousands of slaves…I’m not sure of the origin of the slaves, but what a horrible job that would have been, especially in the 13th century!
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We had a delightful dinner at a place right on the water called Mira’s. We had fish souvlaki (it was a type of local sea bass) and Shrimp Saganaki. MmmmSeriously, I think I’ve consumed my body weight in watermelon in the past month!
This was outside a small church in Parikia. We weren’t sure why the branches were scattered on the street and in front of the church but we thought it might have been a special blessing for the elderly and the infirm due to the large number of those people attending the church service.