On Saturday, our last full day in the islands, we found ourselves with a full free day. Having spent the last couple of days on the very quiet island of Antiparos, we decided to explore a little further afield. After an early afternoon visit to Antiparos's famous cave (previously visited by Lord Byron, whose etched his name in the limestone, along with thousands of others, for posterity), we hopped on the ferry to Paros, only a quick ten minute jaunt across the water. From there you can catch the bus to the port town of Parikia.
Usually, the buses are scheduled to line up with the ferries, but at this point no bus was in sight. I checked out the schedule posted, and saw two distinct schedules listed side by side. Handily, the titles of these two schedules were written only in Greek, despite the fact that there was an English translation of everything else. To further confuse matters, the only difference between the two schedules was that one listed a bus departin at 13:25 - coincidentally the time of our arrival - and one did not. Hmm...
After waiting around for fifteen minutes, I grew impatient. No one else loitering around the stop was Greek, and they seemed to have complete faith that a bus would come. But me, I don't always like waiting. As usual, I decided I'd rather walk, and convinced Michael we should make a go for it.
"How far away is Parikia?" he asked.
"Oh, I don't know. But it can't be that far. It was what, maybe a fifteen minute bus ride?"
Thus we found ourselves walking along a road with no shoulder, clearly not meant for pedestrian traffic. But we had scarcely gone two minutes when a van pulled to a stop alongside us.
"Where are you going?" asked the driver. "Parikia? I can get you half way there."
We clambered aboard, joining the two other passengers, who, it turns out, were on their way to the Paros tennis club.
"It's the finals today. Romania against Croatia. Who are you for?"
When I paused to think, the driver encouraged, "Go for Romania!"
"He likes the Romanian best," the man sitting next me informed us.
"And you?" I asked. But it turned out our fellow riders were the referees for the match - no favorites allowed.
Before long we had reached the club, and waved good-bye to our Good Samaritan driver. Ahead of streched the long, winding, shoulder-free road. Thankful for the ride, we realized we would have had wuite a long walk had they not come along.
Almost an hour later, after much grumbling about dodging the traffic, not knowing where we were, tired feet, and hunger, we made it to the old town of Parikia around 3:00. Famished, we sat down at a waterfront bar for fantastic dolmades and souvlaki pitas. It's amazing what a good meal can do for one's mood.