Summer Travel: Paros, Greece
When my friend Diana told me she was celebrating her birthday in Paros this year, I said something to the tune of “I don’t do beach vacations, but I will follow you anywhere in the world.” Thankfully she had the sense to plan this bucket list trip for me because due to my narrow minded rejection of all beaches, I would have never done so otherwise.
My husband and I were really looking forward to it, as it was the first long trip we have taken together, ALONE, since we had kids 20 years ago. Now every parent knows family vacations are no such thing, they are more of a working trip, but that’s a subject for another day. My point is that this was a very anticipated trip for us, first because we were celebrating a dear, dear friend, and second because we were going to be adults, boyfriend-girlfriend, novios, and what-have-you in EUROPE!
We arrived to the Greek island of Parikia via Paris, which was a great way to start a vacation. Paros was not what I expected. Growing up in Ecuador and living in Florida, summers are tropical and lush, and Paros was arid (good hair for the win) and rocky. The water was wild and refreshing, and if it was good not as easy to get to as I am used to. It was breathtaking and familiar, although I could not put my finger on it why exactly and must have been a very annoying travel companion trying to figure it out.
Days on the island were spent hanging by the pool or taking day trips to other islands for exploring and beach club lunches. It was raw, natural beauty as far as the eye can see, with enough sophistication to keep any traveler feeling comfortable. We found enough chic boutiques to fill another suitcase, and restaurants that rivaled the cuisine in much bigger, foodier cities. (for the record I hate the word foodie).
In the end it was the island lifestyle that I fell in love with. Relaxed, rested, wanting nothing but to chill and chat with friends while sipping delicious Greek wine, that was the vibe. You were preoccupied with simple things, as was everyone else. Watching the sunset was the main event every day, and searching for a new place to watch it from a daily occurrence.
Greeks were friendly, polite and fun, and we enjoyed their hospitality. I felt at home. My heart was always at ease. In many ways it reminded me of my childhoods spent in the small beach town of Playas, where my grandfather kept a weekend home, not far from my hometown of Guayaquil. Wake up, shop for something fresh for dinner, beach, sunset, rinse repeat. My inner child was wild with delight.
When it came time to leave, I was crushed. How did this place so far from home, feel so aligned with the idea of home of my childhood? How do did these new friends feel like old acquaintances? I blame the Greek magic.
The most amazing thing tho, is that I was turned. I don’t think of this as a beach vacay per se. It was more than that. It was a lot more. It was family, community and nature. It was simple food, great energy and challenging conversations. It was slowing down and leveling up. But in a way that was eerily reminiscent of the magical realism of my childhood, but could not have been more geographically farther.
I will be eternally grateful to my dear friend for making me step outside of myself. She probably does not even know it, but this week in Greek was memorable and inspiring in more ways that I thought possible. And as far as the parents adulting, it was epic. No kids in sight makes for a very happy and healthy mom and dad. We came back reloaded and ready to put our best face forward for our kiddos. If you have never done this, I highly recommend you don’t wait 20 years.
What we did
Our host rented a big villa for a big group. House had a daily housekeeping service and made it easy on the other 10 guests. No pressure to keep house. If you go with family this would especially helpful for mom or mom types. Keeps the peace.
Island hopping was especially easy. There is a port in Paros with service to nearby islands. Loved spending time in different islands and getting to taste the local flavors of each.
What to bring
I was able to find everything, so I would state the obvious which is more than one adapter. We had to buy one at the hotel in Paris and it was not cheap. In my Utopian mind, hubby and I were going to share that one and maybe ten years ago we could have. Now with cell phone culture, that is an impossible dream. Even if you disconnect from home, you still need juice to take those photos for later!
Good walking/hiking shoes, actually water shoes of some sort. Not used to hiking up and down rocks, but would have loved to have something comfortable that could get wet. Useful when finding a secret rocky beach accessible by foot. Not having them did not deter me, but will pack these next time for sure.
What I would do differently
-I would def rent a car. The island was great and there were Ubers, but keep in mind a lot of the locations do not have an address. They have a pin/location, and that can not be input in Uber. A lot of times I was able to get to the rental from town, but not the other way around. You could call a taxi, however that was subject to availability and could take 20 min to an hour to arrive. Plan for that.
-I would also plan ahead a little better in terms of sightseeing. I had no agenda, which was great, but if I return I plan it a least one different thing set to do every day.
-Spend more time in Athens in the way in or out. It proved to be a very welcoming city with lots to do and we left with the feeling that we should have stayed there at least two nights.
What I wore
Traveled with my favorite jewelry pieces and lots of easy dresses. Diamond studs and signature necklaces by Patricia Robalino for every day and silver jewelry. Statement earrings by Kitik Jewelry for fun nights out because you can def party down in Paros town. Amazing hat by Mariella Villar. Packed it in the bag and wore every day for stylish sun protection.