Last weekend I was transported to another time. Wandering through white-washed villages and flying down country roads on an island I barely had heard of before Friday, I had the luxury of experiencing something that most people never do--a Greek island in the off-season. The island of Paros is known for its marble quarries which have been used for constructing monuments since Ancient Athens. Besides the marble, Paros is also known for its beautiful villages, perfect beaches, and warm breezes. Only a four hour ferry ride from Athens, it also sees a lot of visitors in the summer months. Our guide informed us that the island booms from a mere 8,000 inhabitants to 80,000 in the summer. I personally can't even imagine what the island must be like with so many people in the narrow streets. Luckily, we were able to walk through the quiet villages of Lefkada and Naoussa with not a tourist or tourist shop in site. The beaches were completely vacant, but it was a beautiful weekend, especially for this Pacific Northwesterner!! Our first excursion when we arrived was a mild hike up to a monastery which was unfortunately closed, but that didn't stop us! We actually climbed over a low stone wall and then saw a perfect birds-eye view of the island. Here are a few pics:
After that we went to our hotel which ended up being a small cluster of traditional, white-washed homes accented with different bright colors. Our little house had a bright yellow door and shutters, which was so adorable! It was probably one of the coolest places I've ever stayed at. Here is our little home:
Allie and I in front of one of the adorable little houses at our hotel!
Later that night after a quick siesta we all met in the dining room to have a cooking lesson! This mostly consisted of me watching and drinking wine while others made stuffed peppers and tomatoes, mousaka (a true feat), chicken fricasse, homemade bread, octopus, potato salad, and orange cake! Here is a picture of the preparations and the dining room of the Anezina Village Hotel.
Later in that day we explored some of the picturesque villages of Paros. The houses and views were breathtaking!
The next day we visited the adorable town of Naoussa!!
After what was most likely our best weekend so far this semester, we tearfully rode away on Sunday night, determined to return to Paros someday.