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Paros - 2002


Paros 2002 was an eventful and eye opening experience. Following the traumas left over from 2001, my workload eased following a successful, though much delayed, system delivery in New York in May, 2002. Early that month, we decided to book a 2 week trip to Paros in late June using Olympic Airways again and staying in the same accommodation. We were surprised to learn that Olympic had discontinued direct flights from Athens to Paros. We were, however, able to book flights from Athens to Naxos (the closest island to Paros) from where we could get a boat for the short trip to Naoussa, in Paros. The bookings were made and we looked forward to some relaxation.

Accommodation Naoussa Paros

Our Accommodation in Naoussa

This trip was all but straightforward. A couple of weeks before we were due to fly we were informed by Olympic Airways that they were cancelling our Naxos flights. It soon became apparent that the domestic part of Olympic was in turmoil. We decided to go ahead with the Heathrow to Athens flights, get from the airport to Piraeus port and take the ferry to Paros, something that we had done before but not something we looked forward to.

In the event we transferred from the airport, following a night time flight, to the port with relative ease despite long queues for taxis - even at this early hour. We booked a cabin for the longish voyage, struggled with cases up steep, narrow stairways to our cabin. We were soon in the shower and in our bunks. We had scarcely fallen asleep when we were awakened by a uniformed female member of the ferry crew who had entered the cabin, wanting to check our tickets. Apparently we had not heard her knocking (perhaps it is unusual for people to
sleep in cabins?). As we were both naked in the bed and the tickets were in our bags, this made for an interesting couple of minutes - I think that she blushed more than we did, though!

The queue for the taxi at Parikia port to take us to Naoussa (perhaps half an hour journey) was not too bad and we were at our accommodation by mid-afternoon. Further surprises lay in store, but we weren't due to find this out until we departed from our accommodation.

Laggeri Beach 2002

Laggeri Beach 2002

How things had changed on Laggeri! Not all change is for the good, at least for us! They had indeed begun to build on Laggeri beach - there was the constant vibration and thump from piles being driven into the sand. Where had our "Oasis of Tranquility" gone? The beach itself was still pleasant enough and was being well used and was not untidy, but the incessant "thump" of the pile drivers was, to say the least, a major annoyance.

Not to worry we were on holiday and there were two more easily reachable beaches (see Paros 2001).

We tried Kolimbithres beach first, but even in June this was rather crowded and there were a surprising number of children. Still far better than British beaches - but we would try Monastiri.

The following day, on the first boat, we heard Monastiri even before we could see it. Low, base, booming tones floating across the pond-like surface of Naoussa bay. We subsequently discovered that, when the wind was in the right (or wrong) direction, you could indeed hear this sound from Naoussa harbour. OK, we could turn right from the boat and make our way to the more remote part of the beach, protected from the sound by a rocky headland. Indeed this did the trick but this part of the beach was being used far more than we had ever known in the past (probably to get away from the mind numbing "boom" of the main beach).

We made the most of it however and alternated between Monastiri and Laggeri for our two week stay. We subsequently understand that the development behind Laggeri is relatively small scale and that most of the beach remains good.

In Naoussa Town things had also changed enormously. Prices had risen once more. The bars seemed more commercialised rather than the friendly Greek atmosphere we had known. Restaurant / taverna owners put this down to EU taxes - but we never saw a tax receipt, or even a receipt for that matter. There were still a few of the older bar and restaurant owners, but many of these establishments seemed to have new owners from the mainland - more of a business than a way of life.

Nevertheless we had a good break (even though the comments may seem very negative). Indeed, if you did not know the Naoussa of old, Paros may still appear to be an attractive village with plenty of restaurants and bars and three beaches.

We met up with old friends, from the UK who we had introduced to our accommodation perhaps 8 or 10 years previously and with a German couple who we had also known for many years. We spent some of the days and some of the evenings with them, enjoying their company, enjoying the island and totally chilling out.

We were brought back to reality when we were leaving. We were settling our bill and noticed that the room price had risen sharply (stunningly). Fortunately the other couple who were staying in our accommodation had come to see us off and mentioned that we were being charged more per night (for 14 nights) than they were (for 7 nights). A discussion naturally followed resulting in us being, quietly, given a refund. As we had stayed, with this same owning family, about 20 times in the past we were rather hurt. We are still friends and in contact with the German couple, we still visit the British couple - who now live in Spain. We have not returned to Paros, preferring to take the opportunity to visit new places and remember the Paros that we knew

Note: - this is the personal opinion of the author and may or may not reflect the views of others. We have not re-visited any of the places mentioned above - Laggeri, in particular, may have been redeveloped to a high standard, and suit the tastes of those who may still go there.

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