Tuesday, May 13, Naxos/Paros

May 17, 2008

Keeping with our new plans, we hopped on the early ferry to Paros. It was a short ride and only 7 Euros, so why not?? Amy met Mynde and I at her restaurant with baby (Marley) in tow and quickly escorted us to a room. Steve, a Canadian living on Paros for 17 years had simple but more than adequate accommodations with a full kitchen and 2 bedrooms (too bad we would not be here longer to cook–next time maybe). Every “hotel” thus far–with the exception of Mykonos–has been very simple with nothing more than beds, bathroom and maybe a sink and hot plate if we are lucky. It is almost as if the Greek people are not nearly as “needy” when it comes to places to lay your head. Clean, modest (all with a TV even if it only has 8 Greek channels), maybe a balcony with a view, that is all that is necessary to them. I have been reminded many times throughout this trip to find appreciation in the simple things–materialism just doesn’t have a place in the beauty and amazement of the Greek isles.

Ok so back on track to tell you about our Paros whirlwind. Amy also knew the owner of the scooter shop and stopped to let her know we would be back in a little while to rent one and see some of the island. It was nice to have someone with connections as we are budget-minded (and in no way wanted anything for free, but who says no to discounts for friends of friends?)
There we were, back on the little scooter adventure and off to roam.

Christina at the scooter shop recommended Santa Maria beach on the very northern tip of the island. Even though Amy had said it would be warmer on the south western side of the island, we set out on an adventure to discover as much of Paros as we could. Our first stop was in a small village Lefkes where I discovered this amazing handmade jewelry shop. My eye immediately fell upon a necklace, silver molded around what looked like blown glass although later we discovered from the shop proprietor that it was ceramic. I tried it on. It would match my blown glass ring that some of you may have admired ;)…. and a bargain of just $195 euros (exchange rate is approximately 1 euro = 1.6 american dollars so you do the math). I said no to owning it and yes to loving it.

After visiting the village and taking some more photos, we headed back out to the highway in search of Santa Maria. We followed the map as best we could which eventually led us to dirt roads which were not so comfortable on the scooter. And by this time, it was beginning to get cloudy and windy on the island so we decided to scout out a warmer spot on the western side. We landed on Parasaporos and chatted with a couple from Nova Scotia for a moment, sharing and comparing our Greek adventures. All things said and done, every one we meet is grateful for the breathtaking views and laid back approach of the Greeks!

After a stop at the market for some basic essentials, we headed back to the room for our afternoon “rest,” showered and got ready to visit Amy at Taverna Aliagari for the most unique tasting food. Amy brought her American-style customer service out as she greeted each customer warmly, gave them a tour of the kitchen (not anything we had experienced while on the islands) speaking fluently in greek or french, depending on her customer. Both she and her chef Roxini worked their tails off; absolute commitment to service and quality. Amy told us later that Roxini had been trained by her husband’s father and the food was a true experience! We drank white wine, sampled many different greek dishes and ended the night sipping a greek moonshine equivalent with Amy’s husband and his friend. Amy sat down for a quick rest and chat and then it was time to head home with her daughter Marley who had been brought in for a bit by her grandmother. When it was time to settle the bill, Amy proclaimed, “It’s on Lorie!” We insisted on paying her something and she settled on $10 euros. Warm, open, gracious, vibrant! This is how I would explain the atmosphere that Amy is creating at her restaurant on Paros island. Don’t miss it!

We closed the restaurant down and walked home in a light Paros drizzle. Absolutely wonderful night!

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