They Draw and Travel

Here is a fun, if inaccurate, map of Paros.  If you had to convey your vision of Paros in a creative way, how would you do it?

I will publish all submissions!

Cheers,

I am always intrigued by connections--some call them coincidences--that demonstrate the small world that we live in on this vast globe.  In this blog we have conveyed some of the many we have seen over the years.  Here is the latest.

logo for Visit-Ancient-Greece.com vaseIn September I acquired an excellent web site:  www.Visit-Ancient-Greece.com   This has not been publicized or promoted because I am having some programming problems with it.  Then today I discovered my home city of Portland, Oregon, USA is hosting a major exhibition called "The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece".


Wait, there's more.  In the local newspaper review of the exhibition the writer chooses an Aphrodite statue made of Parian marble to exemplify the show's "overt sexualizing with a voyeuristic touch".  Then in discussing the evolution of depictions of the human form in Greek art he mentions the Cycladic figurine that we are so familiar with.

For more about Visit Ancient Greece, marble from Paros and early Cycladic figurines in Portland, Oregon here is the newspaper article link.

2013 Update:  The exhibition will be at the Dallas Museum of Art from May 5 to October 6, 2013.  Enjoy

Lately I am seeing more and more on the world-wide web about being local.  For me this started because I greatly enjoyed the local food on Paros--the eggs were heavenly.  I have written often about the benefits of eating locally.

Now I think the economic slow down around the world has encouraged "buy local" movements.  Paros people, I know, are pulling together as never before.  Well, how about travel local?  Yes, a new internet concept has debued in Athens with the web site www.Dopios.com and is spreading to other major cities.

Their services include: 

  • Customized Experiences and Tours by Locals
  • Traditional Dinner with Local
  • Casual Meetups with General Location Overview
  • General Advice about your Destination
At this writing they have 69 locals listed under Athens and are looking for more.  Many offer walking tours and special dinners but my favourite is by Evita:  A Day with my Greek Family (€40)
We will spent the day in my hometown close to Athens (1 hour away) we will be next to the beach having cold drinks and enjoying the sun just 5 minutes away from my family's place! The name of the city is Kiato! My hometown offers a very bebautiful and breathtaking view to the sea and from the other side to some high mountains very close to it! There are also some very original villages that we can have our lunch and return to my place for a traditional Greek dinner made my mother!!!

 Or if you are the type who wants to find the late night action try Enjoy Nightlife in Athens with Kostis. 

Perhaps browse their site for good ideas and then think about doing the same on Paros.
Enjoy!

This year everyone I know that is connected with Paros are re-doubling their efforts to attract visitors. Friends are posting more photos to Facebook, those who came earlier in the season are writing about the complete lack of difficulty during their visit and everyone is holding the line on price increases. 

One villa owner has started a campaign for fellow owners to offer their villas at cost to acquaintances in the off season. See  Paros, Still a Greek Paradise

Others who I don't know are helping Greece on the grander scale. Former President Bill Clinton recently visited Athens to speak to a group of prominent Greek-Americans who are establishing a fund to promote foreign investments in Greece.

Valkan beer from Santorini
However, the grandest, I think, and more importantly, one that is already up and running, is Greece Debt Free.  This organization was founded by wealthy Greek ship owner Peter Nomikos as a US charitable foundation for the purpose of buying Greek government bonds and then writing off the debt completely.  In this way one dollar in donation eliminates $10-12 of debt due to the low market prices for the bonds.  In their first month of operation they have already purchased over $3 billion in bonds.

Of course the program is open to anyone in the world and is promoted to Greece citizens as well as the Greek diaspora around the world.  US taxpayers may deduct donations from their taxes and as a registered charity they can be assured the funds are used as stated.  In fact Nomikos not only paid for the set-up he is paying all operating expenses as well.  He adds, "If you communicate this message to anyone that loves Greece, things can truly change."  From www.amna.gr

Even small donations accepted at Greece Debt Free  
Valkan Beer from Santorini is another Nomikos product.

Again I am tardy in reporting a "must see" event on Paros.  I have referred before to the evocative paintings of Michel Parthenay.  What impresses me so much is that I am very familiar with the scenes he paints yet when I look at his paintings I am newly inspired by the beauty of the subject.

So if you are on Paros in July be sure and stop by the Kastro Cafe'.  If not, see more on my Aliki page.

Truly, Paros has something for everyone.



In school I loved the essay assigments that began compare and contrast . . .   They gave me free rein to wander.  So today I compare and contrast the paradise island of Paros and their International Music Day concert with our current location on the emerald isle at Ennis, Co. Clare.  The photos say it all!


Now that June is here the "last minute" specials kick in for villa rentals.  Since we have already been discounting for 2012, you won't do better for all the comfort and luxury of your private villa on Paros for July and August.  Browse our villa collection at www.ParosParadise.com/villas.htm

In my promotions I have been emphasizing that it is easy to bypass the turmoil of Athens and relax in the insular atmosphere of the Greek islands.  I have also said, "You will never be more welcomed in Greece."  Here is a link to an article that helps put the crisis in perspective and shows even in Athens life goes on:  Michelin rated restaurant provides value in Athens



Michel Parthenay, a resident of Aliki, has been publishing a series of his evocative paintings of Paros, many of Aliki.  You can start viewing them on my Aliki page and then move on to his Facebook album.

Wow, I hadn't realized it had been so long since my last post.  We have been quite involved over the past three months in travelling and more recently moving into a full size house in Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland.

On Paros our reports are that life there continues as normal; little effected by the political turmoil in Athens.  In fact with all the election activity, it is likely there will be few, if any, strikes over the next few months.  Private villa rentals on Paros are up substantially over last year.  In fact high season is almost sold out.  Contact me immediately if you want a villa for early July and soon for June or September.

The big news from the Greek islands is that the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini has reopened, after complete re-building of the supporting structures.  It has been closed to the public for about 7 years.

Akrotiri is the Greece version of Pompeii in Italy. That is the whole town was preserved in ash from one of the largest volcanic eruptions in known history. The elaborate (approx. 50 acres) and prosperous city inclucing multi-storied buildings, roadways and interior decorations is once again available for awe-inspiring tours.

While Santorini can be "done" in a day trip from Paros we recommend an over-niter using the public ferries.  Just remember there is much more to see and do on Paros plus the beaches are better. 

Everyone I know in the Greece tourism business is going the extra mile to make 2012 a good year--even the international Tourism Daily News in publishing this press release:

SexSlip(actual screen shot—click to enlarge)

There is good news there as well.  Volotea, the new low-cost carrier that will focus on mid-sized cities, has chosen Venice as its first operating base starting this spring.  They have announced the following schedule:

- Thessaloniki: Tuesdays, Saturdays, starting 2 June
- Corfu: Wednesdays, Sundays, starting 24 June
- Heraklion: Tuesdays, Saturdays, starting 17 July
- Kos: Mondays, Fridays, starting 16 July
- Mykonos: Mondays, Wednesdays, starting 25 June
- Rhodes: Thursdays, Sundays, starting 15 July
- Santorini: Wednesdays, Saturdays, starting 18 July

Buon giorno, Italilanos

Be the first to own the MP3 download or the recorded CD!  Newly available by the Amazon links below is the music that Cappella Romana recorded in the church at Aspro Chorio and the Church of 100 Doors(Ekatontapyliani).  The accompanying book includes photos of the group on Paros and Patmos.  Read more about their appearances on Paros Magical Music & Oregon to Paros Link Revisited
U.K. Amazon:    CD                                 MP3
                          

U.S.A. Amazon:
                     CD                                   MP3
                          


Would you like the thrill of being the first to find an important artifact from a lost ancient city (formerly lost anyway)?  Enough to pay €550 per week for room and board for the privilege of providing labor at a dig site?

 

The Helike Project in the Peloponnese is seeking volunteers for the 2012 season of July and August. Details on their site.  This city was lost in an earthquake in 373/372 B.C. and just found again in 2000.

I wrote previously about a similar arrangement on Crete and I would love to organize an archeology holiday on Paros and Antiparos.  Comments welcome.

Aliki Harbour3This week the village lost one of its attractive fishing boats.  We were not there to see it but Oona Giesen of Aliki Yoga Studio posted a lot of photos on Facebook.  I think you can access them through her page at Oona Giesen 

Evidently this is an example of European Union bureaucrats’ solution to Aegean over fishing.  They buy out the fishing rights of the older, smaller boats so that only the newer, bigger “factory” boats are left.  They are much easier to control and tax, of course.

I just wrote an article about this same thing happening with local pig festivals on my Czech Mates blog:  Losing the Charm of Pig Slaughter 

We have seen many changes in Aliki and Paros since we first arrived in the year 2000. Some are natural progress, a few have been improvements, many have been misguided expenditures of public money; not everyone can agree on which have been which.  I thing everyone agrees that a loss of quaintness is occurring; yet those who visit the island for the first time in 2012 will still find it quaint and attractive and will want to return.  What do you think?

CorfuResortIn the past we boasted that Paros was blessed with very few package tours and large hotels.  Rather it was the island of preference for independent island hoppers.  We looked down on the likes of Rhodes and Corfu and their mass tourism.

Then last year overall visits to Greece were up while visits to Paros were down; the result, we understand, of tour companies lowering their prices for packages.  Rhodes and Corfu were doing O.K.; Paros was hurting income-wise.

Now I was quite interested to see the following on the Corfu Selections web site:

“. . . supports and promotes small family-run businesses, putting them in touch with independent travellers who would like "A taste of Corfu" sometimes otherwise undiscovered in a market where larger hotels and all-inclusive packages have become the main focus of Corfu tour operators.”

These are my kind of people even if they are competing for the same clientele.  I have heard good things about the green (as in the abundant vegetation not the the environmental buzz word) island of Corfu and would like to visit.  Using this site I will undoubtedly have a better experience than staying at an all-inclusive resort hotel.

Cheers

rtomatoesI have written many times about the benefits of eating locally produced food and the generosity of our Greek neighbors in sharing their excess.  Now in the spirit of the difficult times in Greece and Paros many farmers are increasing their plantings and herds and making their home grown products more widely available.

This is from Paros Web:  (There are more photos there.)

“Matheo & Maria are local Parian farmers cultivating on their own grounds at the seaside area of Piso Aliki. They produce various vegetables & fruits, some of which are available for sale according to the season. Matheo & Maria run their own farm for their family's needs, and they don't use any kind of chemicals on any of their products.

At Matheo & Maria's farm you can buy pure Greek Olive Oil pesticide-free all year round – now offered at reduced price. Also available for sale – Fresh Potatoes (available most of the year, according to the season.)”

MatthiasSheep4The first photo is some of their tomatoes and peppers photographed by Karin on our veranda.  The second photo, also by Karin, could be taken every spring as we watch the lambs play and grow until most of them disappear just before Easter.

If you would like to rent a bucolic villa in Aliki that includes olive oil and other products from the surrounding fields, please email me with your preferred month and number of people in your party.

More at Olive Oil & Mushrooms -- Eat local

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LadiesFromCretedeTraci Regula just published a report on a trial program on Crete in which travelers will spend three days with a Knossos curator learning about the ongoing activities there.  It includes access to many areas not seen by the ordinary visitor including Villa Ariadne where Sir Arthur Evans lived while excavating Knossos.  See the detailed schedule and low cost in her post.
Of course this gives me the idea of doing something similar on Paros.  Along with the ongoing work at Despotiko which produces new discoveries every year there are several other active excavations on Paros that would produce more finds if they had more funding.  So, if you might be interested in spending one or more days up close and personal with an archeological dig on Paros, let me know.  If there is enough interest I will contact the various authorities to make it happen.
Painting of Blue Ladies at Knossos is by Victoria Papale who is conducting a workshop on Paros this year.
Feb 2012 Update:  More Archelogical Digging

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