Trip Start May 20, 2008
Trip End Sep 15, 2008

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Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

6/24 and 6/28
I visited Antiparos twice on day-trips from Paros. The trip is quite easy as long as you know the bus and ferry schedules ahead of time. Otherwise you could end up wasting a couple of hours waiting. The ferry from Parikia to Antiparos runs several times a day and takes 30 minutes for 3.5 Euros. It's a scenic ride and you get a nice look at both Paros and Antiparos. This week the Kiteboarding World Cup is in Paros so the ferry ride gave us a cheap seat to see some of the action.

Antiparos is only reached via the small boats from Paros so it has remained largely undeveloped. Antiparos Town is the only village on the island of only 850 people. It is a charming port with many sidewalk cafes, unique shops and less tourist junk than on other islands. You can rent scooters to explore the island or take one of the many busses to visit the island's main attraction - the Antiparos Cave. Several beaches are easily reached on foot from the port as well.

I walked through town on both visits which takes less than 30 minutes. For those inclined, there were shops that had works from local artists and unique offerings that could have made for a leisurely afternoon. One of the favorite activities seemed to be sitting outside in the shade taking it easy at one of the cafes.

After seeing the small town I walked the path to the beach so I could go for a swim. I was trying to follow the map in my guidebook but obviously the map is off. I ended up following someone's long dirt driveway rather than the public path. I could see the beach so I just climbed over a couple of the short rock walls to cut across some withered fields. As I climbed over the first wall a rooster popped out of the base of the wall startling me. I wondered what else might be living in the field.

I briskly crossed that first field and was relieved to climb over the wall into the next field. No sooner had I climbed over than I heard snorting and squealing! There were about a dozen pigs in the corner staring at me! I wasn't afraid of a rooster but I had to think twice with the pigs (my extensive farming knowledge told me that pigs were probably OK but if they had been hogs then I would have been in trouble). They didn't look too big but if they charged and I couldn't run then it would not be pretty. There was no other easy alternative and the pigs looked timid so I risked it and was much relieved to scale the final short wall to the beach.

A "beach" in Greece isn't quite the same as in the US. Some beaches here don't have a hotel, sand or even a drink machine. The beach on the north end of Antiparos is kind of like that except there was a little strip of sand. It is popular because you can virtually walk across the channel to Diplo Island which is inhabited only by wild goats. Parents seemed to feel safer with kids playing in the channel since the water was shallow and away from strong surf.

I had scoped out Diplo Island on the ferry and thought it was small enough to easily swim around. The section across the channel was boring because it was shallow with no fish or scenery. Once I turned the first corner of Diplo Island things changed dramatically. The water was instantly rough and I was swimming against the wind-blown current. I was having to stop frequently to release water that kept leaking into my goggles as well.

On the far side of the island I had the current with me but the water was even rougher since it was more open seas. The swim ended up being quite brutal and I was much relieved when it was over. The only thing of interest I saw was a cool, red starfish. My eyes were burning from all of the saltwater so I headed back to town and the ferry ride to Paros.

On my return visit 4 days later I wisely opted to skip the swim part of my previous visit as well as my "short-cut" across random fields. I had endured painful pink eyes for several days between my visits that basically kept me prisoner in my dark pension room since any brightness at all was just too painful. As a result I was ecstatic just to be able to sit on the beach and read without too much discomfort. Thankfully I'm all better now and just waiting for the Ball party to arrive!
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