27 July 2012

Greece 2012: Exploring Paros III

Date: 23 June 2012

Location: Paros

Walkers: Helen, Dom, Josie, Lloyd & Christina

We were up early(ish) this morning to walk the Byzantine Road. This walking route - dating, as the name implies, from Byzantine times - starts in the village of Lefkes where we were staying and winds its way through the countryside and down to the coast, several kilometres away. First, we made our way into Lefkes, via the main road...

As usual we did a fair bit of meandering around the old quarter (and got a little bit lost too, looking for the start to the walk).

It is easily to get lost in Greek villages, especially if one is easily distracted by flowers...

... charming cafes in shady squares...

... and houses, old and new.

After a while we found a signboard pointing us in the right direction.

And we set off down the hill, following the ancient way.

Another sign confirming we were on the right path.

The route took us down the valley beyond the church. The terraced hillside was golden with summer grasses and wild-flowers.

The warm morning sunshine was streaming down. It was so good to be out!

We looked back to Lefkes....

... and to the hills and sea ahead of us.

In some places the Byzantine Road is a track, but in other places it's a paved route with drystone walls on either side. Very easy, pleasant walking up and down the gentle hills.

I loved the grey-green olive trees....

... and the low round shrubs and grasses...

and the fragrant thyme growing along the wayside.

We came to a plateau with a view of the valley beyond.

And we followed our path onwards. Most of the walking was downhill.

These stone walls are everywhere: all over the countryside, all over the island. Makes my head hurt thinking how much work they must have been to build, over the centuries.

After a few kilometres of walking we came to a small village, Prodromos. We strolled around a bit. Not sure why the blue and yellow bunting was up but it did look very festive!

Prodromos was very pretty.

We stopped for some fresh juice and frappes, and decided that we'd done enough walking for the day. My chest was still rather tight and sore from the bronchitis, and I was really tired from the morning's exercise. So we made our way back to Lefkes.

And I had a long afternoon nap while the others went out to meet some friends. Later on I took another stroll into the village.

I had missed lunch so made my way to the kafeneon for a slice of their most delicious apricot cake. Yum! And then a bunch of very smartly dressed folk began to gather. A wedding!

Later that evening we were back in the village for supper.

And found that the community celebrating the 'burning of the wreaths'. This local midsummer festival involves the building of a large bonfire onto which are thrown the wild-flower wreaths that are traditionally made on May Day. We'd seen these wreaths, nicely dried so many weeks later, all over the island (see pic above - I'd got one in the frame, without even realising it, when photographing flower pots in Prodromos earlier in the day). After the wreaths have burned the boys and girls took turn leaping through the flames...

... and then the dancing started. A fun time was had by all!


Greece 2012: Exploring Paros II

Date: 22 June 2012

Location: Paros

Travellers: Helen, Dom, Josie, Lloyd & Christina

This morning we set off in an easterly direction again, driving through the village of Marpissa, and up Kefalos hill. The road was very steep and twisty!

The last few bends we covered on foot.

Down below was Molos which we had visited the day before.

On top of the hill we found the Agios Antonios monastery.

It was very quiet. We had a good look around. No monks about!

Amazing views on all directions. Looking north-east we saw the fertile valley below. I saw more agriculture here than anywhere else on the island.

South-east we saw the little harbour town of Piso Livadi .

West we could see Marpissa below with the hills beyond.

It was of course a steep descent. Wheeee!

We went back into Marpissa to do some exploring.

From the village we could see the hill.

The village itself was delightful.

To the taverna for freshly squeezed orange juice.

I stopped to greet every cat I saw. This one was particularly sweet.

It is very hard to take any photographs free of telephone and electrify poles in Greece - they are everywhere. Rather unfortunate.

The day had really warmed up now and it was time for a swim. We went to the beach at Farangas and had a dip.

Later we drove on to Aliki on the south -west coast where we lunched at a taverna on a concrete jetty, right in the harbour. Delicious seafood.

After our late lunch we walked on to Aliki beach and did more swimming, and napping in the sun. It was a glorious afternoon.

On the way home we stopped in at Petaloudes. This is a lush protected valley where a certain variety of butterfly congregate in great numbers over the summer months.

At first it looked like there wasn't much to see.

But when we looked closely we saw a butterfly on every second leaf.

The butterflies flutter up when disturbed and the underside of their wings are a brilliant red. So pretty! Sadly I didn't manage to get any action shots.

We continued home to Lefkes on a secondary road on the west side of the island. We stopped to look at the view several times.

Another church, catching the golden late afternoon sun.

And through Parikia, the main town of Paros.