Thursday, June 08, 2006


Bristol to London to Athens to Paros : Train to Reading, change train to Woking, lift to Heathrow, flight to Milan, change plane to Athens, coach & walk to Hotel Aristoteles. Metro to Piraeus, ferry to Paros - via 4 hr detour to Nafplio, due to 'a medical emergency', although we never saw the body, or an ambulance...

There was little to eat on the ferry, apart from overpriced crisps and muffins. The five hour trip turned into an eight hour cruise. I knew I'd had enough, when I heard an American ask an Albanian, "So, do you like being free?" It was dark and chilly as we docked at Parakia. The local meltemi wind had come for the night

As we disembarked from the delayed ferry at 1.30 a.m., we were met by an expectant crowd, one of whom, Timos, offered us a room nearby, with a balcony and en-suite bathroom, for 25 Euros a night. It seemed like a good deal and I was in no position - though the mood - to argue. At first, I was suspicious when he took our bags and put them into a minibus. If it was just down the road, why the wheels ? Once I'd dropped my urban British paranoia and we'd been taken down the road to the hotel, I started to relax.

Took a bus to Naoussa in the north, then hitched to Santa Maria, where we'd heard there was a good surfing beach and the possibility of water skiing. Loaded up with bread, cakes and juice from a bakery, then bought tomatoes from a man by his van, as we walked out of town. Much as I hate intruding into peoples' lives with a camera, I had to snap a woman with a barrow full of garlic.
Stopped off at a beach on the way and had a dip and some lunch. Afterwards, the walk to Santa Maria was further than we'd been led to believe, so we started hitching. Before long, we got a lift from a man who told us that a factory by the shore, was a power station, with an undersea cable linked to the rest of The Cyclades. When we got there, beautiful though it was, it wasn't a surfing beach, but a windsurfing beach and we were too early in the season for waterskiing. Amongst a group of half a dozen windsurfers, a labrador dog was enjoying rides out and back, though liked to be lifted back onto the shore to avoid getting wet paws.