Encouraged by the friendly Port Policeman on the island of Paros – who told us to take our time getting to Kos – we decided to hire a car and tour the island before continuing our journey to check out to go to Turkey.
Before we set off, we were visited by Adonis, a mechanic (organised by our policeman friend) who thankfully managed to cure the knocking noise that had been disturbing us and which was the main reason we had dropped into Paros in the first place.
Adonis cleverly used a magnet to pull out the the float that had become loose in the fuel tank. We thought it was going to be a huge performance – possibly involving draining the fuel tank – so it was a pleasant surprise that it was solved quickly and easily.
We also organised a visit from the fuel truck and had our two, 300 litre diesel tanks filled right up – enough to motor all the way to Turkey and back again (probably twice!)
After all our jobs were completed we headed first for the fashionable holiday location of Naoussa and the big bay this delightful village overlooks – Ormos Agiou Ioannou – as we were thinking of anchoring there for a night after leaving our mooring on the Parikia town wharf.
We hardly met another car all day driving around this beautiful island which we learnt, has been renowned for it’s beautiful white marble since the third century BC.
Some of the all-time great masterpieces were sculpted using Parian marble, for example the Venus de Milo and Hermes. The temple of Athena at Delphi and much later, Napoleon’s tomb, were also constructed from Parian marble. We drove past several quarries – and were fascinated to learn that some are still quarried to this day.
Round the other side of the bay from Naoussa we drove down a rough track to Cape Almyros where there is a lighthouse and a lovely chapel perched high on a cliff.
In the early afternoon we felt a little hungry so we decided to stop in the small fishing port of Piso Livadi where we had the taverna almost to ourselves and enjoyed fresh sardines and a Greek Salad sitting by the quayside.
Before heading home we decided to have a swim and found a deserted cove where we had a lovely but very cool dip.
Back at the quay we happened to meet Michael when he was trying to find a tap so he could wash down his motorboat. Jonathan lent Michael our hose as Michael’s new hose had holes in it and we ended up having a long chat.
It was one of those chance meetings that makes travelling so pleasurable. Michael is a native of the island of Amorgos where he runs a restaurant in the old town (chora) and he divides his time between Amorgos and California where his partner lives, but was currently staying in Paros.
Michael and his girlfriend are huge enthusiasts of the TV series Outlander – set in Bonnie Scotland. It turned out that they had recently visited Scotland to see all the sights and especially the locations where Outlander was filmed.
His enthusiasm for the series didn’t stop there – he has named his boat Outlander!
We told him that we had first heard of his island Amorgos from a lady in an Athens photography shop where we had our boat “business” cards printed. While we were there she offered us a taste of an aperitif/digestif called Rakomelo. Apparently it is a traditional drink of Amorgos and her father had started a Rakomelo cellar door on the island (of course Michael knew them!)
“Ah yes,” Michael said, “that is a very nice drink but homemade is even better and I have some on board Outlander!”
So he took two shot glasses over to his boat and brought back two nips of his homemade equivalent. It was absolutely delicious and tasted of honey, cinnamon, cardamom,cloves and other herbs and spices.
Jonathan said that it reminded him of Christmas cake and Michael told us that his girlfriend calls it “Christmas in a bottle”!
Later we went to eat a gyros at a local cafe and had a very nice chat with the owner while eating our meal and drinking a carafe of wine which was from a wine cask but nevertheless very drinkable. We mentioned this to the proprietor when we were just about to leave and he insisted on giving us another carafe for free! Such a lovely gesture.
As we didn’t have to return the car until lunchtime the following day, we decided to pay a visit to the ancient village of Lefkes, the original capital of Paros, perched on the side of a steep hill.
We had to park the car outside the ancient village (parts of it dating back to the 5th Century AD) and walk down some steps before entering at the top of the village.
There were no other tourists and it was easy to get lost in this beautiful place. Every time we turned a corner another photo opportunity presented itself.
Following the twists and turns down the hill, along narrow passages and winding staircases, we found ourselves on a track (now a hiking trail) dating from the Byzantine era.
We spent a very pleasant couple of hours exploring this charming place but soon it was time to take our hire car back so had a cup of coffee and then we trudged up the hill back to the car park.
Back in Parikia, we dropped off the car and on our way back to Sunday we discovered a row of colourful fishing caiques moored at the quay with fishermen selling the day’s catch.
That night, after we had sailed round to the fantastic anchorage of Ormos Agiou Ioannou which we had visited the previous day by car, we enjoyed delicious freshly cooked fish for our dinner. A perfect end to a memorable stay in Paros.