Saturday, my first full day on Paxos and my first day on one of the Greek islands this year. Apart from brief trips into and out of Athens and a few days in Nafplio in 2003 all my experience of Greece is of the islands. They have a distinctly different feel to being on the mainland. It’s something to do with the fact that, though not at the forefront of the mind, there is the knowledge in the background all the time that one’s boundaries of activity are circumscribed by the sea in all directions. I prefer small islands, where this is particularly true, and Paxos very much fits the bill.
The day began at 07.30 as has become the norm and fairly soon thereafter a 20 minute walk down to Loggos. Today I measured the height difference using the altimeter function on my watch and it’s 135 metres, a sustained pull back up to the house after my WiFix, a coffee and an amble around the harbour in the morning sun. Very pleasant.
PICSIt’s a more relaxed lifestyle being here as the guest of friends rather than a tourist in a hotel. Rather than being on my own all day and active the whole time there is more opportunity to sit in the courtyard and chat over a coffee.
I was given a guided tour of part of the island and I was able to see more of it by car in a short time than on foot. We began by going down to Gaios, the main town, in order to book a ticket to get me to Corfu on Monday. David said that Monday is the main changeover day so the hydrofoil which makes the trip gets booked up quickly. That turned out to be the case. There are four trips on Mondays compared to one every other day except Fridays when there are two but they were all fully booked except the 16.15 ferry …. which just happened to be the one that I want to take.
Ticket safely booked we headed off and covered a fair amount of ground, visiting various points of interest but not usually thought of as tourist hotspots. Much of Paxos is covered in olive groves similar to the area surrounding Parga. One slight difference on the island, however, is that many individual trees are contained in curved retaining walls to create terraces. The island is nowhere near as high as the mainland, the highest point being about 230 metres, which probably explains in part why looking across the narrow stretch of sea towards Parga and Igoumenitsa, the mainland seems to be covered in cloud, a common occurrence I’m told, while Paxos is under more or less clear sky.
This is just an impression of some of the interesting points on the island, excluding the olive trees which blog readers are by now probably fed up of seeing photos of after my time in Parga.