After leaving Corfu we dropped anchor once more in Lakka Bay on Paxos and spent the afternoon having fun on the new paddleboard. We’d found what we thought was the perfect spot, not far from a small café/bar on a pebbly beach … until late afternoon when Boney M loudly interrupted the serenity of the bay. We were resigned to a long night of bad eighties music but after a few songs the noise stopped. Perhaps they were testing out the sound system in preparation for the holiday season we thought. Regardless, we were happy to be enjoying the beautiful bay in peace and quiet once more.
The next morning we lifted anchor and headed to Gaios, the largest town on Paxos. We found a spot on the town quay across from a beautiful old four-story building with green shutters and an unusual arched feature on the top story. We spent the day checking out the many shops in town, stocking the boat and browsing for gifts and souvenirs. That night we wandered about looking for a place to eat. Just off the town square we found a small but busy restaurant with a very appealing menu. It was run by a friendly young couple with a small baby. Grandmother looked after the baby (also waiting on tables when things got busy) while the young couple ran the restaurant … him in the kitchen and her doing front-of-house. We noticed some jars of preserves on a shelf inside and asked about them. They were olives and jams made by the grandmother and were for sale. We were given a taste of the orange jam spooned over some creamy Greek yoghurt. It was superb. Needless to say we left with two jars of the orange jam as well as a very large jar of olives and some olive tapenade.
The last time we visited Gaios it was later in the season and very busy. Charter boats and ferries jostled for their place on the quay alongside privately own boats liked ours, often crossing anchors and causing a lot of angst among skippers. Arriving a bit earlier in the season this time was so much easier and as a result I departed with a more positive view of the town.
After leaving Gaios we journeyed further south to the bottom of the island looking for somewhere to drop anchor for the night. We eventually settled on a bay near the top of anti-Paxos just below the main island, but the wind picked up soon after and we had a very rocky night on the boat.
We were keen to move on to Lefkada, the gateway to the other Ionian islands of Meganisi, Ithaka, Kefalonia and Zakinthos but decided to check out one more place before we headed south.
It took us about two hours to sail across to Parga on the mainland, a beautiful old town built on the side of a mountain with breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea. As we sailed towards the port we spotted the ruins of a castle on a promontory overlooking the town and the water. Our guidebook told us it was of Norman origin and built around 1337. Later, the Venetians considered it the eyes and ears of Corfu. It was easy to imagine a time when a message was sent by horseback to Corfu warning them of an enemy approaching. The large bay to the north of the castle was lined with holiday resorts and hundreds of sun beds on the beach. The smaller bay to the south was much more charming and provided easy access to the town. In the middle of the bay was a small rocky island with a white church perched upon it. We were only able to anchor in the larger, busier bay but enjoyed our time there, nonetheless. That evening we took the dinghy to shore and climbed the hill to explore the castle ruins, taking in the stunning view. Later we ate at a restaurant with equally amazing views over the water and delicious food. Parga certainly didn’t disappoint.
The next day we began our journey to the southern Ionian islands, where I will write my next post.