Lucie Loves... Travel // Reliving summer 2013: Next stop Paros, Our Greek island hopping holiday continued
I don’t know about you but I feel like we’re well overdue a holiday.
Last year, JMG and I embarked on a two week Greek island adventure. You might have read about it, you might not. In short: we literally ate, drank and swam our way around the islands.
Oh! how I miss the feel of sand between my toes, a well-thumbed book in my hands and the warmth of the sun on my skin. Bliss!
We’re currently looking into booking a holiday for May… emphasis on the ‘looking into’ it part. But the only problem is: we’re saving up for our wedding in 2015 and don’t want to spend money that we’re supposed to be squirrelling away for our dream day.
Anyway, we might end up staying in this country, as opposed to reliving our Greek adventure. Which is no bad thing - as long as you get some decent weather. I definitely wouldn’t turn my nose up at the thought of spending a relaxing spa break in the English countryside with JMG at my side.
There’s a lot to be said about having something to look forward to. Something to work towards. Something booked and fully paid off.
After all, what is the point of working upwards of 50+ hours a week if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labour, and all that lark.
In summer 2014, we got the ferry over from Naxos, having spent a few days and nights pleasantly touring the island. We arrived at the port of Paros, on what could easily be described as their most magical day of the year. We were told that there would be some huge celebrations on the island that evening in celebration of Analipsi tis Panagias - the Assumption of Mary. It takes place on the 15 August and turns the island into a whirl of brilliant colour and noise. It is basically just one big party.
My photos don’t really do it justice. The atmosphere was electric: filled with warmth, emanating from the friends and families celebrating together, to local fisherman, whose boat we were invited aboard to view the fireworks being set off along the bay.
Streams of people danced to loud Greek music, admiring the brilliant pink flares being waved around in the pitch black night, reflections dancing on the inky water below.
We didn’t plan to be in Paros on 15 August, it just happened that way. A happy coincidence. But having experienced it, we would recommend that you try and arrange your trip to Paros around this holiday, as it’s one that shouldn’t be missed.
15 August: Analipsi tis Panagias – Assumption of Mary
The most important festival on the island which marks the Ascension of the Virgin Mary to Heaven. Pilgrims make their way to Paros from all over Greece to pray at the shrine of the Virgin in The Church of a Hundred Doors (Ekatontapyliani). A parade which starts at the Church, pauses at the port where a short speech is given, before the procession makes its way to the towns second biggest church, Zodocho Pigi, halfway down the seafront. Thousands of people then follow the bishops, priests, marching band, civil dignitaries, and generally just about everyone else, back up the tiny market street, passing on the way the three tiny churches of the Agora before ending up at Ekatontapyliani where blessings are given.
Then the party really starts. Fishing boats, motor boats, and anyone armed with anything vaguely seaworthy head out into the bay for an altogether more secular kind of celebration. Flares are lit and waved, creating vast clouds of red smoke that drift over towards the assembled hordes of onlookers patiently waiting for the firework display that in recent years has just got better and better. The fireworks are launched from a ferry in the bay and no expense is spared in lighting up the skies in one of the most spectacular firework shows throughout Greece. Be warned though, seafront tables tend to be occupied from very early on so if you are planning on watching from a cafe, bar or restaurant, stake your seat out well ahead of time.
With the fireworks out of the way celebrations continue well into the (very) early hours. Packing aspirin may well be advised.
Extract from http://www.parosweb.com/paros-events/website.
Read more about our Greek island hopping adventure: http://lucieloves.co.uk/tagged/greek-island-hopping
Photography © Lucie Kerley