We had a really early start, it was still dark when we got up and packed for the trip to the harbour. Then I had a panic attic when the transport didn’t arrive at the arranged time but the girls displayed admirable calm.
My low patience threshold was tested and after phoning the apartment owner (waking him up!) and just about to drive to the port myself in his car the driver turned up twenty minutes late and reeking of last night’s alcohol excess in Thira.
I spent the short journey constantly checking my watch and we arrived at the ferry with just about ten minutes to spare and that was close because these boats, believe me, don’t wait. Back to Blue Star today so a big boat to take us to Paros.
We cruised out of the caldera, past Thira and then Oia and this time we were accompanied by a sunrise instead of a sunset. I don’t understand why but a sunrise doesn’t stir the emotions like a sunset but they can be just as dramatic. This one leaked out over the town of Oia and spilled into the sea just as we were leaving the jaws of the caldera.
The water was calm and the day became progressively warmer as the sun rose in the sky. We had a very good journey to Paros that took about four hours including a stop off in Naxos. We finally disembarked at Parikia and found a taverna for food. Now, if there was an Olympic event for serving the slowest breakfast then this place would win gold, silver and bronze but to be fair the town was only just waking up properly and it arrived eventually.
We arrived at the apartments and then things went badly wrong! What a DUMP! newly built the web site said. Newly built, my arse! There was also a huge dog and an owner with a severe personal hygiene problem. This was the Greek equivalent of the Bates Motel and as we checked in I made a mental note to remember to sleep with one eye open tonight.
The apartments were not just next to a building site; it was a building site! and we are clearly the only mugs staying here, probably the only visitors all season! The room was adequate but nothing special, the shower didn’t work and neither did the fridge so I had to call the owner in to make repairs. It was one of those rooms that had electrical sockets in unusual places, some close to the ceiling and uselessly out of reach, and others with wires dangling alarmingly from the wall. The view from the balcony was not the sea as promised but a construction site with a mechanical digger moving rocks from one side to the other and then returning them back again to their original position again for no apparent good reason!
I was seriously cheesed off. I was convinced that I had let the girls down in some way. And it was overpriced. I tried to negotiate a discount but the owner wouldn’t budge so I had a deliberately untidy shower and nuked the bathroom so that he had to earn his extortionate room rate when cleaning up after me.
I won’t be recommending the Capricorn Apartments to anyone! That’s the Capricorn Apartments on Paros!
The girls were good and tried to cheer me up and we went to the beach, which was a really very nice beach but it was very, very hot and I couldn’t settle down so I walked back to the apartment to get my snorkel and then went back to the beach for a bit of a swim and then I walked back to the apartment again to get my book and went back to the beach again for a bit of a read.
To keep going back was a big mistake because each time I just got more wound up about the place. Then I had a brilliant solution, there was a hotel just down the road on the way back to the beach so I’d book in there and move out of this substandard shit hole.
I walked there and swept through the lush hotel gardens, past the fabulous Olympic sized swimming pool and the well stocked poolside bar and into the air-conditioned reception and enquired about the price of a room for three. One hundred euros, brilliant, this was a seriously nice hotel and my spirits were lifted immediately. “OK I’ll take one” I said and then my spirits were immediately dashed when the desk clerk said “sorry no availability”. With no result I had to return to the beach defeated.
So we decided to go back to Parikia by the water taxi to try and cheer me up but then we went and missed the first available taxi because the girls decided to go for a bit of shopping just to get a bottle of water without checking on the boat times. I was so irrationally pissed off by now and went to the bar to sulk alone and for a quick Mythos.
That helped and hey, what was the problem? The next taxi arrived and we made the trip across the bay and everything seemed a whole lot better!
Parikia, it has to be said, is not the most picturesque of Greek island towns, it has a very functional appearance and the first and lasting impression is a harbour front given over to ferry booking operators and car hire offices. But the streets leading off the busy front were much nicer and we found an agreeable bar with twenty minutes Internet with every drink so we bought three and the girls amused themselves for an hour.
Then we hired a car and went back to the Capricorn.
Well, the situation did start to improve I have to confess, I had a Mythos or two and sort of got used to the room and when I reflected upon the state of affairs this place did have a very good beach and the snorkelling was the best yet. It wasn’t that bad after all and things always seem more cheerful viewed through the bottom of a beer bottle and this state of unfortunate affairs was no exception.
Then we got ready to go out and went back into the town. It looked like there would be another good sunset so we sat in a seafront bar and watched the sun go down while the ferries came back and forth into harbour. No one came to take our order so once the solar entertainment was over I woke the girls up and we moved off to find somewhere to eat.
We left the town, stopping to buy some supplies, and we found a beach front taverna that looked very nice, so after a bit of a parking fiasco when I changed my mind at least three times, we pulled in and went inside. It was a pizza restaurant with the compulsory cats for company. The food was very good; we had a substantial meal and free drinks to finish and then went back to the apartment. And had another early night.