3:30 comes pretty darn early in the morning, especially if you were out late eating pasta and drinking wine. But when the alarm went off, Kim and I were up like rockets. Today we are going to Greece! Our taxi arrived on time and we were off to the airport. Check in went pretty well until we had to check our bags.
Now let me explain we were flying Alitalia from Florence to Athens with a stopover in Roma. Kim, who is the world’s best travel agent, was particularly proud of the fact she got such a good deal on the flight. It was $239, a good $150 bucks cheaper than any other airline. We arrive and the ticket agent informs us, our ticket is only for the flight we have to pay for the bags. How bad can it be? Surprise! $175 for two bags. Reminder to self. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
We arrived in Rome, and while Kim went to the washroom, I had the chance to play their grand piano in the departure lounge. This is the second time on our trip I have run into a piano in an airport. I also got to play Bohemian Rhapsody in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. (I had a number of people singing along as well!) After a final uneventful flight, we arrived in Athens and took a €50 taxi to the port to catch our ferry.
Killing time on the streetsWe had some time to kill so we ordered some lunch. What do you eat when you have your first lunch in Athens? Why, Greek salad of course. I bet you didn’t see that one coming.
Our ferry arrived and we loaded for our 4 hour+ journey to Paros.
We were so lucky to see a beautiful sunset from the back of the ship. We arrived when it was very dark and after 17 hours of travel, we collapsed on our bed and slept thru the night.
The next morning we woke up and had a delicious breakfast that the hotel brought to our terrace. We ate fresh bananas, pears, figs, melon in a delicious Greek yogurt, a grilled chicken and cheese sandwich, a chocolate croissant, fresh coffee, a tall glass of orange juice and some fresh buns. All very yummy. This was our view.
Our room is very quaint, but functional, and our hosts are so professional and friendly. When I phoned the front desk to order breakfast, they answered the phone “Good morning Bruce!” Although this is an apartment, there is a front desk with help available all day. Our kitchen won’t be great for cooking as it lacks a stove, so we will prepare breakfast and perhaps the occasional lunch ourselves! But will eat most of our meals out. The food here so far has been very reasonable compared to France, Portugal and Spain, but also delicious!
Here is our villa from our beach. I highly recommend this place. See Kim for the details. After breakfast, we went for a walk to explore the village.
Every house here is the traditional white Mediterranean style home, built on top of each other. It looks so beautiful. It feels as if this is a place where people do life slowly but very well.
The whole place is filled with history. There is a beautiful old church and this fort like structure we saw on the sea. We also saw some sort of pillbox that I think was a leftover from WW2.
There are tons of quaint restaurants and friendly shop keepers who are happy to talk with you just about anything. Lots of cats running around, hmmmm. We bought some fresh fruit, bread and pastries and of course a bottle of red wine. It is clear that white wine is the drink in Paros. Kim and I are thinking of trying some white wine to fit in here. We are starting to try some of the Greek we learned, but it is much more difficult than either Spanish or Italian. There is no connectivity to French at all. I am uncertain of the roots of the Greek language but it looks and sounds more like a Slavic language.
After two hours of exploring the village it was beach time. It was pretty windy out so we only stayed two and a half hours sunning and swimming. Kim thought it was too cold to swim when in fact the water was quite warm, but the wind Made it feel much colder. I didn’t swim long either way, but it felt good to be able to say I went swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. We returned to our terrace, sunned for another few hours and watched a gorgeous sunset while we read our kindles. About 7:30 I had a quick shower and we left for dinner.
What a dinner we had tonight! We went out to fairly fancy place to celebrate our arrival and ate way too much. We started with a Greek salad and deep fried zucchini chips with tzatziki sauce, bread with porto sauce and fresh olives. Then our main course was a delicious mushroom risotto, spaghetti with mussels, and washed it down with two glasses of white wine. We were both stuffed but the waiter showed up and brought us some free dessert. Not sure what it was,but I think they usually only serve it in heaven. We are looking for our bill, completely full and the waiter shows up again carrying two glasses of a Greek liquor. We walked home which is a quick fifteen minutes away and climbed the 61 stairs from our road to the apartment. Bedtime about midnight while we nurse our food babies.