This morning we walked to the white sentinal church on a headland overlooking the harbour, the church where we had been a couple of nights earlier to the wedding and the christening and the church where we walk to everytime we stay on Ios. Usually there is a reason for this because we are beginning the walk to Valmos Beach a couple of kilometres further on to see the naturists but today we had no such intention so it was a rather unneccessary thing to do. We have photographed this church from every possible angle and captured every single detail but Kim wanted to go again just in case there was the remotest possibility that we had missed something on the previous five visits.
There wasn’t of course and after we had eventually satisfied ourselves on this point we walked back down the harbour, past the campsite that was now closed for the summer, the Carrefour supermarket, the swanky boats rolling around on their moorings and clinking their masts like ouzo glasses and back to the village where we spotted Martin at the Octopus restaurant and joined him for a while and shared a Mythos moment.
Eventually we left him there and walked along the blue flag beach and paddled in the shallow water at the edge of the sand. I imagine this beach gets busy in summer but it was only sparsely attended today and there was plenty of space for everyone including Lisa who we came across sunbathing in a Robinson Crusoe sort of way far away from everyone else. The season was coming to an end on Ios, the clubs and discotheques were all closed and the hotels were beginning to dismantle their beachside sunshades and put away their loungers for the winter and there was almost a sense that they would be glad when it was all over and the final ferry took the last holidaymaker away from the island.
We didn’t make the mistake of going for lunch today but walked back up the hill to Homer’s where we spent the rest of the afternoon around the pool drinking, chatting and taking the occasional swim in the hot afternoon sunshine. But soon it was time to leave so we said our goodbyes, did our final last minute packing and, under pressure from Kim, I agreed to dispose of my favourite blue tee shirt. I had had it since 1995 and it had been to Greece with me thirteen times but I had to agree that it was showing extreme signs of wear now so I thought the Greek islands was the appropriate place to leave it!
It was a High Speed ferry to Paros so it only took a little over two hours to reach Paroikia but at eight o’clock it was dark and busy and we couldn’t find the passenger ferry to Antiparos just around the corner so we had to take a fifteen minute bus journey to an alternative car ferry which left at eight-thirty and got us across to the small island off the west coast of Paros in just a few minutes where we were met by the owner of the Hotel Kastro and driven to our last accommodation on the islands for this year.
From a previous visit in 2008 we knew where we wanted to eat but three years later and in the dark we just couldn’t find it so when we came across somewhere similar we changed our plans and ate there instead. The food was excellent but we had the slight misfortune to sit on a table next to a large party of French folk and whilst this wasn’t a problem in itself what was irritating was that they seemed to be in a sort of who caught smoke the most cigarettes competition and although the tables were semi outside the acrid smoke kept blowing across out table whenever they lit up. To compensate for this irritation it made me smile when I overheard that they had to order their meals in English – I bet that stuck in their throats as much as their foul smoke collected in my nostrils!
At the end of the night, after our excellent meal we were about to leave when two of the waiters suddenly appeared with bouzoukis and started to entertain with the first instantly recognisable chords of Zorba the Greek. We couldn’t possibly leave now so we switched tables away from the drifting smoke, ordered a second carafe of red wine and stayed for another forty-five minutes or so to watch the show and finally when it was all over we left and made our weary way back to the hotel.