Paros to Koufonisia

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The sign at the entrance to ‘Gitonia tis Irinis’

Monday 24th September
I am so far behind with this damn blog, that I’ve decided to write about today, then play a bit of catch up when we get to Koufonisia….where we may spend 5 or 6 nights…
Yineka and I have just spent 2 nights in Parikia, the port town on the Cyclades island of Paros. We found a great little hotel, ‘The Argonauta’ just a few minutes walk away from the ferry jetty, and only 60 euros a night for a double room with cute little balcony overlooking the town square and the side street. We could have found much cheaper accomodation, but this place oozes style…only about 15 rooms, all on the second floor, and all leading off a delightful inner courtyard, where you can sit at the tables and have a glass of wine, a bite to eat etc. Very civilised.

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In the lounge of ‘Argonauta Hotel’ in Parikia, Paros

I’m writing this from the deck of Skopelitis Express, a small ferry boat that that daily goes from Naxos to all the little islands of the lesser Cyclades. Someone had a sense of humour, as our boat is far removed from any express service…more like the slow boat to China…but then again, what’s the hurry. ( That’s what the guy in the ‘ Micro Agora’ ( Mini-Market) said to Yineka-Mou one afternoon in Crete….”why are you in such a hurry madam, you have a train to catch…Siga Siga… Slowly, slowly”) so here we are Yineka-Mou and I , sitting up on the deck, just having eaten lunch, a Koriatiki Roll ( like a Greek salad in a fresh crusty roll) …and delicious.

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The great little ship ‘ Express Skopolitis’…. someone with a wicked sense of humour must have named her!

If you haven’t ever been on one of these big Greek ferry boats, its an experience not to be missed…organised chaos is the best way to describe it….actually, forget that I said that…disorganised chaos would be a more apt description . First, you queue up, with all your luggage, in what I call a ‘holding pen’…awaiting the arrival of the ferry. As soon as it arrives, the passengers disembarking stream off, closely followed by the cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes etc…as soon as this is underway, the authorities then open the gates to the holding pens, and all the embarking passengers then stream forward to mix with the incomers and the vehicles…there are still trucks rolling down the gangway ramp at the stern, mixing it with the hordes of people struggling to get on via the same ramps….it has to be seen to be believed, but somehow or other it works….and the ferry is turned around and on its way within minutes….

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On the Car/Truck deck of Blue Star Paros, waiting to disembark in Naxos.

Anyway, after surviving the embarkation procedure, we left Paros at 11:55 this morning onboard the Blue Star Naxos, a quite large ferry boat and very comfortable, which took us on the short trip to Naxos, where we disembarked ( same procedure as described before, but in reverse!!!) in order to change ferry boats, to a much smaller one called Skopelitis Express. As we had 90 minutes to kill in Naxos before we sailed at 2 pm on the Skopelitis Express, we went to visit my friend Michalis at the Sirocco Restaurant in the town square, and introduce Yineka Mou to him. Just had time for a quick Fix ( Fix, a beer even better than Mythos) and a glass of wine for YM, and a chat with Michali. ( 5 euro for a bottle of Fix and a large white wine). Yineka Mou headed off to powder her nose… And was back again in 2 minutes… ” there is someone in there, so I’ll wait”
“use the other bathroom ” Michali says, ” I know the lady in there…she will take forever…she’s a turtle” ( what did he mean by that?) Yineka Mou went off again, and almost immediately he turned to me and said…”first or second”
” τι, δεν κατάλαβα; ” ( what, I don’t understand?)
” is it your first or second wife ” he asked.
” first, we’ve been married 35 years ”
“Πόλη καλά ( very good!)” said Mixali, ” Australians , they never stay with one wife very long…”
when I told Yineka Mou this later, she had a good laugh…and said that it was because she was so special…. I didn’t disagree ( I value a peaceful life) , but added that it was also because I was so tolerant…
We had to hurry back down the hill to the Jetty, but on the way stopped to pickup our lunch from the bakery ( the Koriatiki rolls) and also a couple of bottles of wine ( it could be a long trip on this express ferry) and we made it onboard with just minutes to spare before we set sail. At the moment we are sailing down the west coast of Naxos, heading for our first stop which I think is called Heraklia. After that, we have one more stop at Schinoussa, before we reach our final destination today at Nissi Koufonisi at about 4:40 pm.

 

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Aboard the SKOPOLITIS EXPRESS…… the slowest boat in the Aegean.

We are due to be met by the owner of the accommodation that we plan on staying at…an artist by the name of Andonis Mavros ( Black Anthony?) who owns a small group of traditional villas called ‘Gitonia tis Irinis’ which he built himself. He’s also an an architect apparently…as well as being eccentric…at least that was the impression when I spoke to him on the phone yesterday! Well we’ll soon find out wont we …

 

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Andonis Mavros and me outside our ‘villa’

 

 

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The Express Skopolitis docked in Koufonisia

 

 

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The Express Skopolitis is on its way 

 

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Built in 1979, it says. 

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