Wow, thanks to a Corfu Tweeter I discovered some very cheap flights to Greece for the 2014 season.  I was going to write about now is the time to book your private villa for a full selection of weeks.  More importantly NOW is the time to book your flights!  The number of flights and seats is quite limited as you will see by days in the same week being 4 times the cost.

These flights are on the Norwegian Airlines site.  I saw Gatwick to Santorini in June for £78 and in July £88, included taxes and fees.  I searched three other of the big discount web sites and did not find Norwegian listed.  Check out your city and destinations.  Paros is an easy ferry trip from Athens, Mykonos and Santorini and not too bad from Crete.

Oh Yes, browse our economical villas for a full choice of dates.

Black Friday Savings with CheapOair! Check Out Our Amazing Rates Book Now! Offer Expires: Nov 29, 2013

25 Oct 2013:  More Great News:  The Greece government has cooperated with the ferry companies to allow early publishing of the summer 2014 ferry routes and schedules.  So now you can coordinate flights, ferries and accommodation without delay.  Hurrah!
Details at my favourite ferry site GTP

Technorati ID:  Q7ZPQK4QUGAD

Busy week day in September, Ag. Georgios, Antiparos
Based upon my conversations with several Paros merchants in September I can say Paros tourism has turned the corner and on its way back up.  Nearly everyone had a better season in 2013.  All we need for 2014 are no major events to scare people away.

That said, the evidence seems to be that the Brits and the Irish visitors were down this year. Americans are so few they don't register on the meter but are certainly appreciated by the islanders.  I am encouraged by anything that shows Greece and the Greek islands in a good light to my fellow English speakers.  So was pleased to hear about a concert tour that is designed to show the positive side of Greek culture.

More than a music show it will highlight poetry, video and paintings and feature some of the top names in contemporary music from Greece.  Titled "The Other Side of Greece" it is one night only in London on 30 October.  The performance is subsidized by the Greek National Tourism Organisation so tickets are only £10 for standing and £15 for seating.  So if you are near London (or know anyone who will be) consider turning out for a night of celebrating the infectious Greek spirit.

More details on their Facebook page

As I wrote earlier we hosted the Paros Yoga Retreat in mid-September.  I judge it successful because we frequently heard the comment, "It doesn't get any better than this!"  Stella at Margarita Studios quickly became everyone's favorite "mom" because she took such great care of us.  Every meal time was full of fake moaning and groaning about the quantity and quality of the choices available.  As usual on Paros, we could taste the freshness of the locally grown ingredients.

The morning yoga sessions led by Bram Levinson were the start of days full of activities and serious beach time.  After a sampling of  several beaches, each person chose their favorite for frequent visits. The highlight of the tours and activities, if not the whole retreat, was the Antiparos boat trip with Captain Ben.  That boat rocked!

For nightlife the group either had a spontaneous party at our taverna or broke into smaller groupings for shopping or nightclubbing in nearby Naoussa, Paro's upscale town.

For me it was a real pleasure to be surrounded by consistently happy, positive people. Everyone was able to put aside their pressures from back home and focus on enjoying the pleasure of a Greek isle.

For the yoga viewpoint I will refer you to Bram's blog.
"This retreat has been a really special one, in much different ways than previous ones. This group was the first to want to be together almost all the time. This group was the first to express the desire to have the classes brought to an intermediate level. And this group was the first that saw three people stay for the first week, and three more come for the last 4-5 days. Regardless of all of that, this group wasn't completely unique to past ones, as once again, a fantastic group of like-minded souls came together from different spots around the globe to bask in the soul-stirring energy that is only found in Greece."
           Read more from Bram


Attention Yoga Instructors:  Together we can custom design your Greek island yoga retreat.
Attention Yoga Students:  Investigate our personalized packages for your yoga journey.

When I think of old photos of Greece I am thinking of the period before tourism developed in the 1960's and 70's.  Well how about 1903 to 1913!  Check out this fabulous collection of "unspoiled" Greece.
The Acropolis in 1903
Thanks to Ardy Fragola for passing on this link.

At my age those "Now I have seen everything!" moments usually apply to weird and wacky videos and photos on the internet.  This week, however, I actually learned something new about ancient Greece.

Thanks to Greek Food by Sam(He used to write a good blog but now just Twitters occasionally: @greekfood) I discovered the Pythagorean Cup.  Also known as a Tantalus cup it forces the user to drink in moderation only.  If filled, it automatically siphons the entire contents out the bottom.  Thus it can be used for practical jokes as well.

You might think this some modern gimmick using the ancient Greek theme but here is a photo of an apparently old cup.  The photo is from Wikipedia where you also can learn more about how the cup works.  Also shown are modern ones that you can find on Crete and Samos.

Another reason to visit Greece!

P.S.  There is only about 30 days left before our Yoga Retreat on Paros.  This is definitely a luxury experience at economy prices.  Read more and sign up now

Over the years I have found so much that can be done better on Paros.  Imbibing wine and eating urchins are two that come to mind right away.  Another common refrain is that it is so easy to relax on Paros no matter what activity you are indulging in.  I have attributed this to Paros's famous marble; perhaps the whole island is a giant underground crystal with healing properties.  This leads me to the subject of yoga workshops which have been popular on Paros.

So this September we will team with certified yoga instructor Bram Levinson from Montreal, Canada to host a 10 day yoga workshop on Paros.  Bram tells about it from the yoga perspective on his blog with more facts on his web site.

From my perspective the emphasis will be on the food, drink and resort accommodations at Margarita Studios in Ambelas with side trips to other island culinary hot spots such as Magaya and the Aliki sea front.  September is the absolutely best month to enjoy Paros.  Join us, won't you?

Have I got a deal for you!  This book is $15.95 in the printed edition on Amazon and $6.99 in the Kindle edition.  You, my friend, can get it from me for free.

In One Year Lived by Adam Shepard (no relation)  you will meet a young man who has crammed into one year:  around the world travel with fantastic adventure, fulfilling his sophomoric bucket list, helping with volunteer projects, meeting and marrying the woman of his dreams, personal enrichment and gathering material for a career of writing and speaking.  It is told in a young, casual style as if he were telling a funny story to friends at a local watering hole.

I recommend this book for the same reason that I publish personalized travel guides:  not so the reader can repeat the same journey, rather to serve as a stimulus to chose your own course and pursue it with confidence you can leap over, or at least get around, the inevitable hurdles.

To receive your free PDF just comment on this post as to why you are interested in reading this book --and include your email address or email to me:  paroshep at gmail    Or if you would prefer to contribute to Adam and to me buy the book from Amazon.

                                           North America                               Europe

Antiparos made the news headlines in a good way last month with a new high quality olive oil product.  The announcement is buried in several organisational levels so it is difficult to know just who or what is involved.  But the idea is that olives grown on Antiparos are processed on Antiparos into high value extra virgin olive oil that is sold world wide.  Also a portion of the proceeds will be contributed to the Greek America Foundation's Greek Legacy Scholarship to bring young Greek Americans to Greece.  Learn more at this web site:

Here's a fun holiday activity:  dog walking!  Vicki Preston of Paros Life has put out this announcement:

can you spare just a couple of hours once per month?

We need 31 volunteers - one for each day of the month - to help with the dog walking at the shelter. If you can spare a couple of hours a month (and of course you can offer to do more than this if you'd like to), please add your name to the schedule here.  
Vicki goes on to explain that visitors can also sign up for a shorter period.  See more information and instructions at the link.  This is respite care for the paid caretaker that is much appreciated and you get the pleasure of companions while strolling through a pleasant undeveloped area of Paros.  Just do it.

Speaking of benefiting Paros and Parians we still have many available weeks in our selection of private villa rentals.  These accommodations are more spacious and less costly than hotels for your family or small group.  Check out the choices.

More on volunteering on Paros, in Greece or anywhere abroad at

Cape Fanos
I recently discovered that I have not written a blog post about Paros walking, hiking, trekking  including running or bicycling.  I am guessing this is because I know of only one marked or designated trail, the Byzantine between Lefkas and Podromos.  Yet there are countless places to move around the island without being propelled by a motor.

Last month I received this query: "Please could you give me some self-guided walks (easy) from Parikia, which are interesting, reasonably short – under 3 hours."
Here is my response:

Here are a few suggestions in no particular order:
                        1)  From Livadia beach continue walking along the harbour shore to the church and ruins at the harbour mouth.
                        2)  From Livadia beach take the back roads to Kolimbithres and climb up to the Mycenaean ruins.

                        3)  Take the bus to Naoussa and either get off near Kolimbithres or take the beach boat from the central quay to the Monistiri area and walk around the park and peninsula there. (Be aware of textile optional bathers in the area.)
Benefits of climbing a hill
                        4)  Take the bus to Lefkes and walk the Byzantine trail to Pondromous and catch another bus back from there.  Be sure and check the return bus schedules before hand, in June they stop early.  Hitching a ride is not as common as it was just a few years ago but is still done.
                        5)  Take the bus to Aliki and walk north along the shore to Makra Miti  which is great for shells, sea glass and other beach combing. 

            For Antiparos I can't think of any place that is better than another.  What we do is just head out from wherever we happen to be and circle back to where we parked our scooters.  In other words just pick a point on the map and walk there and back.  A place that everyone likes is Still Waters.  Tom Hank's house is about 1 km north of Still Waters.  

Use private gates on public paths

The point being that most of the back roads are quite safe for walking and pedaling due to little traffic.  Plus there are plentiful informal trails along the coast.  Beaches are public.  Just do it--as long as you have a better quality map than the numerous free ones.

For those who like a little more structure take a look at the site.  They have several entries for Paros.  Also I would be happy to have comments about other walks you know or like or to try and answer specific questions about specific locations.

While construction continues on the new Paros airport yet another regional airline announces new flights to Greece.  Now the Italians, who have been coming to Paros in increasing numbers over the past few years, have direct flights between Mykonos and Venice, Naples and Bari and between Santorini and Venice, Naples, Bari and Palermo.  Of course, both islands are just a quick and easy ferry ride from Paros.  More at

Thanks to Stella at Margarita's for this news alert.  She is the chef for our Greek taverna cooking classes

By the way, bookings are coming in for our private villa rentals so for the best selection you had best make your choices now at Paros villas  2013 looks to be a good year for Greece tourism.  Join in!

Thanks to Harry Eliopoulos of Encode for this New Year's Day Photo of  Parnassos Ski Center.

This is a part of Greece tourism that Greek islanders seldom think of.  In our ten years on Paros I think we saw snow maybe three times; once at sea level for a couple hours and twice dusting in the hills for a couple days.

Most Greece ski resorts opened before Christmas and others not far behind.  Here is a list for those interested in searching more:  Karpenissi, Vassilitsa, Pisoderi, Kaimaktsalan, Kalavryta, Pigadia, Seli, Elatohori, Metsovo, Falakro, and Parnassos.

Read about our spring trip to the ski town of Arachova.

ω ω ω ω ω 

Meanwhile Ryanair announced another two new Greece routes for 2013 adding to their already impressive list.  The newest are between Kalamata and Milan and Zakynthos and Brussels.

Their biggest move was on 19 Dec 2012 when they announced a whole new base in Chania, Crete, their first in Greece.  Starting in April 2013 they will fly between 25 European cities including London, Edinburgh, Milan and Thessaloniki.  Check out if Ryan serves your city--though perhaps serve is the wrong word.  Ryanair is noted for low fares and bad service.  But they can't be any worse than the old Olympic around 2008.  We have flown with Ryanair several times without any major complaint, yet.

The base at Chania Airport is set to have 106 weekly flights, 500,000 passengers and employ 500 persons on site.  Add the value of  the unknown number of new visitors their low fares will bring to Greece and you have a sizable boost to the local economy.

Think Greece for 2013!

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