Tag Archives: older

Paros by Car

29th June 2012

"topless" on Paros

“topless” on Paros

I’ve been busting to hire a scooter at some stage on this holiday but my handbrake (Sarah) isn’t too keen on the idea. So…. we collected some hire car brochures yesterday and this morning I tootled off downstairs to see about organizing one for today.  Seeing as I had to opt for a car I chose the “open-top” version. I was feeling very pleased with myself on the way back to our room and looking forward to surprising Sarah with my news. Bugger  – I should have known better – she had been checking out the brochures while I was away and greeted me with “I bet you picked the open top one”!! Oh well, we had a good laugh about how well she knows her Mum.We had a few chuckles too about the hire car guy, his name was Achilles and he was so obvious in his flattery it was hilarious. I was elevated from plain old Julie to Julia in no time at all and we were on our way with hardly a glance at paperwork. I hadn’t given any thought to driving on the wrong side of the car and road so took it very slowly at first. I kept going for the gear stick with my left hand much to Sarah’s dismay, but thankfully (for everyone else’s sake as well as ours) there wasn’t much traffic around .

Costas from Kanales had marked a few places on the map for us so we pretty much followed his recommendations when we could find them. I don’t think either of us should get a job as map readers any time soon – we have a hard time working out where we are let alone getting somewhere else. I can’t even begin to imagine how boring it would be if everything was plain sailing – or navigating, we sure gave our laughing muscles a work-out.

Trying to do an open-top photoshoot Paros

Trying to do an open-top photoshoot Paros

Our fist stop was a really pretty beach for a paddle and photos and our second was for a photo shoot of the “open-top” car with a pair of loons jumping around inside. I will admit the sunroof was quite large for a small car but it was still just a sunroof and to try and take photos of us both looking out of said sunroof was quite an achievement – comical but still an achievement. I can’t remember now whose wonderful idea it was to try and capture this truly unique shot but we gave it our all.Because I know how to work the timer on my camera I ended up doing all the running around. Sarah is about half my age and size but she just propped herself in the passenger side of the car looking all elegant with half her body out of the sunroof smiling  serenely. I on the other hand was left to set the camera up on the hood of the car, run around the open door, get out of my thongs (flip-flops for non-Australian readers), get in the car and out the roof all before the timer went off – f#@%ing impossible for me to do without ending up looking like a total twit and both of us just about wetting ourselves laughing. Talk about stupid, I did all this at least 6 times before it sank in that we’d be a lot better off if Sarah had a go at being the speedy contortionist-photographer. We had an absolute ball and got some pictures to be proud of and some that should never see the light of day. Doesn’t take much to keep us happy does it?

View from old church on the hill, Paros

View from old church on the hill, Paros

You wouldn’t believe it but we got caught in a traffic jam in Parikia, took us ten minutes to go about 500 hundred metres – and then we went round the roundabout and back the way we’d just come because we couldn’t find anywhere to park. Enough of civilization, we decided to try and buy some supplies for a picnic lunch and head out of town again. Between the terrible map reading, neck craning and wrong side of the road driving we spotted a supermarket just after the traffic jam episode. About this time I decided if you can’t beat them you might as well join them – I parked just like a local. Pulled in next to some garage’s driveway, almost on top of another car and nearly over the edge into a six foot ditch – perfect!! Sarah was just about having kittens but it was either that or keep driving round and round wasting good sightseeing time and risking having an accident to boot. Anyhow off we went back to the supermarket for our goodies with me acting all brave and Sarah all worried that we wouldn’t have a car when we returned. It was all good though, they probably thought we were locals.There was just so much to see for such a little island and so many questions to ponder. How they hire out sun-lounges and umbrellas on a tiny patch of beach smaller than our lounge room, then the waiters serve food and drinks to people on those beaches, why are there so many buildings just left to go to ruins,  how there is such a contrast between the brilliant blue ocean to the dead looking paddocks and rocks, do many tourists follow the “no toilet paper rule”, how friendly the locals are and how many of them speak English so well.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

Paros, but first we explore Naoussa

from Naoussa, Paros

from Naoussa, Paros

28th June 2012

Poor Sarah had a very red and sore eye this morning, it hurt to open it anywhere near light. Sakis thought she’d been out last night and might have a hangover – he offered her an extra strong coffee! Apparently a few of the staff partied last night and he had about an hour sleep. He’s a funny guy, only young and came to Paros a couple of years ago from Pakistan. Breakfast wasn’t quite the same standard as the Myconian K on Mykonos it was still more than enough for us.

More laneway goodness in Naoussa, Paros

More laneway goodness in Naoussa, Paros

We couldn’t wait to go walking down to the town, it’s just so gorgeous here. Took Sarah to a pharmacy where they gave her some antibiotic cream for her eye, so hopefully it will come good quickly. We spent quite a long time talking with the owner of a lovely store named Tantanac. Apart from having beautiful items in his store he was a delight to talk to and we had our first lessons in the Greek language, learning how to say hello, please, thank-you and a few other simple words. He warned us (while laughing) not to say ‘calamari’ for good morning – it has to be ‘kallimera’ – so, no asking for squid for us.

Shady spot in Naoussa, Paros

Shady spot in Naoussa, Paros

We finally got round to trying gyros – they are every bit as good as everyone has been telling me. We bought some fruit on the way back to Kanales, it was so tasty and juicy. Can’t you just imagine the ancient Greeks laying back biting on ripe nectarines with the juice running down their chins being all very decadent?

Seeing as we had the whole resort to ourselves now I braved getting out in my swimsuit. The pool water was quite cool and the sun-loungers were definitely built for sleeping – we both dozed off. I woke Sarah when I startled myself awake and started laughing hysterically and couldn’t stop. A few chosen people will have heard how I startled myself, suffice to say it was hilarious but not very ladylike, so I won’t share here. Will leave that one to your imagination!!

Oh what a life – back to the bar for a cocktail before heading up to our room for a shower and change of clothes and a wander back to town for dinner.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

Discovering more of Mykonos

27th June 2012

On Mykonos

On Mykonos

Do you know that feeling when you’ve got all day to shop and you don’t really feel in the mood or find anything you like and then an hour before the shops shut all of a sudden it hits you and you run around madly buying things and having a great time?? Well, so do I – and that’s a bit what Mykonos was like for Sarah and I, bugger!!!

We’d had a lovely time until now but nothing really to write home about and then we walked to town this morning and found the cutest, prettiest little streets, shops, cafes – you name it, we found it.

Lovely shop under the windmills - Mykonos

Lovely shop under the windmills – Mykonos

SOOOOOOO of course, we dashed around like mad things trying to see, photograph and experience it all before we had to leave for Paros. We found the hill with the windmills and spent ages in the shop there chatting to the owner about the jewellery he makes and sells – and bought a few pieces as well as a little ceramic fishing boat that I just fell in love with. He told me it was called Lady of the Sea. We wandered down to Little Venice and had lunch at a café named Venezia – highly original name (not) but great food and setting right on the edge of the water.

Little Venice - Mykonos

Little Venice – Mykonos

We could have spent days wandering around but it was back to the hotel then the port for another hydrofoil to Paros this afternoon. I don’t think I’ve stayed anywhere before that had such lovely staff, they are all so friendly and genuinely helpful without being obsequious. Really we couldn’t have had anything better – food to die for, day-spa on our doorstep, sea views in a beautiful hotel. Just what you imagine the Greek Isles are all about I guess – kinda sad to leave in a way but looking forward to what’s next.

It was a much shorter trip than the last one, maybe only an hour or so and we were like seasoned travellers this time – only problem is our luggage is getting heavier already. We had a chuckle at the rep’s sign with our names – apparently we are now Mrs and Mrs – guess that’s what happens when you’ve come from Mykonos.

The minibus we were directed to made a few stops dropping other guests at different places that didn’t look to be in terribly wonderful locations. We were both getting a bit worried about where we’d end up and whether our trusty Flight Centre guy Dan had kept up his hundred out of a hundred score for picking awesome places to stay. Then we headed out to the country – and we really started to raise our eyebrows as we passed paddocks and straggly crops with a few animals thrown in for good measure. But …….. Dan had done us proud again, of course, we shouldn’t have doubted him. We were being driven to the other main town on the island – Naoussa. We’re staying at Kanales in a one bedroom suite with a huge rooftop balcony on the highest level and it’s simply gorgeous.

Dusk on Paros

Dusk on Paros

We didn’t venture out again but made ourselves at home, had a few drinks and dinner at the bar and chatted with Sakis the chef/caretaker and Stellios the bartender as well as a couple of Aussies from New South Wales. Oh yeah – took another thousand photos between us I think, it is just too stunning for words.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

I’m off to see the islands, the wonderful islands of Greece!!

23rd June 2012

I said good-bye to Italy today, hopefully not for good but just for a while and started another leg of my journey, to Athens this time. I got myself to the airport, through check-in and immigration and boarded the plane without any dramas. There were just a few butterflies worrying whether I would know where to go and what to do but it was quite easy really.

Can you tell I'm in Greece?

Can you tell I’m in Greece?

I had originally planned to leave Rome a couple of days ago but changed my plans so had contacted the travel company and changed the day of my airport to city transfer in Athens to today. As luck would have it my daughter, Sarah, arrived at the airport about 40 minutes before me and not knowing I had changed plans she convinced the driver he was only collecting one person not two as he thought- so she took my car!!!

I must have spent 20 minutes reading  and re-reading the transfer drivers signs hoping to find the one with my name, it didn’t matter how many times I looked none of them magically changed. I still had the Italian sim in my phone so couldn’t use that and couldn’t find anywhere to buy a Greek one either. I found a place to make phone calls but the travel company didn’t answer and neither did Sarah. They really were minor problems but I was wandering around the airport like a lost sheep for a while. Eventually common sense kicked in and I just caught a cab. Luckily I had the name and address of the hotel written down so could just show the driver, he didn’t have much English and my Greek is non-existent. That’s the second time now I’ve unexpectedly had to find my from an airport to hotel, something to think about in future I feel.

Don't judge a book by it's cover?

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?

I was a bit worried when he pulled up, I couldn’t see the hotel sign,  there were rubbish bags piled on the street corners and it all looked a bit dodgie but the cabbie kept pointing just over the road and nodding so I figured I’d better get out before he kicked me out. Anyhow the hotel was just diagonally across the road and Sarah happened to be in the foyer when I walked in so yay me again – I got from Rome to Athens!! Sometimes I think we’d be better off without mobiles, maybe we’d  think things through instead of just having a knee-jerk reaction and reaching  for the phone to yell for help whenever things don’t go exactly to plan. Then again, my phone does give me a sense of security so maybe I just need to  think instead of hitting the panic button. Yeah, that’d probably be a better plan.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel