Paros at election time - 1981

Strangely, my memory of Paros in 1981 is of an island having more tourist shops than it does today. In 1996 Paros appeared to have gone a little upmarket, with less tat in the shops, tasteful crafts, rather than the wall to wall of gold shops that I was to find on Mykonos in 1996.

It was the week before election week. Each of the eight or so main parties (were there really that many parties then or do my notes mislead me?) took over a café in each town, and pop music and propaganda were broadcast all day. The 1993 election campaign was to seem much quieter; maybe the general noise level is louder now so that the election noise is less conspicuous. Parikia sea front was full of these cafés, all competing to be heard. An off putting introduction to an attractive island. I booked into the Hotel Oasis near the Tourist Office Windmill and bus departure point (both (not the windmill) have now moved. I caught a bus to Marpissa on the opposite side of the island, climbed the hill to Aghios Antonios, an old monastery with a good view from the summit, then bussed back to Parikia noticing many sharp bends on the road. I do not remember seeing any signs of tourism outside of Parikia town. The island was very dry in autumn, and I determined to come back one day in spring. Visitors in the spring and autumn to the dryer islands will notice the drying effect of the summer drought. A dry island in autumn can be green in spring. I had dinner in an open air restaurant, Diogenes, starting with a huge mixed hors d'oeuvres (so my note tells me, then not knowing the Greek word mezes) washed down with retsina.

Susan Watkin