Thursday, 18 September 2008

Paros

In Paros the ship docks as close to the centre of town as you could wish for. At the end of the jetty is the windmill roundabout which is the central point of the roads running through town. From here it's the briefest of walks to the church of a hundred doorways which is probably the main 'thing to go see' In town. There is also an ancient graveyard with roman sarcophagi a short walk left off the jetty and the remain of a Frankish fortress to the right and up some steps where the signpost points, but the grave yard is only worth a cursory look unless you are seriously into Roman archaeology, and the fortress is now just a few walls upon which the more modern town has been built, only interesting to see the ancient temple column sections that the franks obviously thought looked better as part of their wall than as part of a temple.
The church, however is well worth a look being a wonderful example of old orthodox splendour with the use of much gold and icons. To the right of the church entrance in the courtyard some steps lead up to a balcony that runs round the inside of the church which gives some much better views into some of the chapels that are 'no go' areas on the ground floor. Also in the courtyard is a small Byzantine museum for the zealot iconophile. I didn't bother with it myself being not that fond of icon painting, but it may be more to your tastes.
Having, done our church site seeing we stopped off at the Argonauta Hotel Taverna (email:www.argonauta.gr) for a spot of lunch where they do a very nice starter variety plate for two containing a melitzanosalata (sort of aubergine dip) to die for.
The streets of the town surrounding the old Frankish fort are typical Cycladian architecture with lots of narrow twisting whitewashed alleys and streets made famous in places such as Mykanos town and it’s a delightful place to wander around. We ambled through this area and eventually can back out on the front by the beach, which wasn't a place I'd recommend as I like my comforts of sun bed etc. This beach just seemed a little desolate to me especially with the strong wind blowing the large quantity of sun dried seaweed across you together with the sand. There are a few parasols there for shade, but having stretched our towels out it didn't take much of the sand and seaweed windblast scrub before we felt suitably exfoliated enough to give up in search of a bar.
This sanctuary took the name of "Pebbles" and there's a cut through just to the left of the restaurant part on the front that takes you up to a small bar area on top with a view out to sea. It's not the cheapest place in the world but settling down with a mug of fruit tea (ask to see the box of teas if you like such things as the menu of teas is a work of fiction as the English waiter explained to us) and another of coffee, we watched the sun glisten on the water and huddled closer into the ever decreasing spot of shade in the corner of the bar.
After a change back on the ship, we headed back out down the niggly-naggly alleyways in search of a place for dinner. However each one that looked OK, seemed to have a hefty price tag, especially the one with a picture of Sean Connery with the owner taking pride of place at the doorway (the one time presence of someone famous always being a good reason to add a few euros to your prices).And so we ended up going to the left of the jetty to find some of the places the Greeks eat at, and ended up at a fish restaurant called "Trata" where it seemed like there was one Greek lady rushed off her feet. However, we did eventually get served, and the food was delicious, most especially the chickpea starter (very different to the one in Kalymnos but just as good) and the incredible sweet which has no name as it's the owner's own invention. A much more reasonable bill was presented here than the more touristy part of town and I think we;d eaten just as well if not better.

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