“There is a path in my garden which leads to my hidden place.
There is a place in my garden which is my secret space.
There is a space in my garden which is my little Heaven..Parga, Greece“ The Lonely Traveler
Parga…Parga, it is indeed my little piece of heaven…But wait…I forgot an essential thing.,What the hell is Parga!? I know. There aren`t may of you who know what Parga is so I should clarify this mystery.
Parga is a small town on the north-west coast of Greece in the region of Epirus. It is famous for its scenic beauty and the architectural style has French and Venetian influences. It was the only free village under the Ottoman Occupation and they fought along with the Venetians from Corfu Island against the Turks.
But Parga is more than this, It is beauty gets under your skin and without even knowing you find yourself wanting to return ,to see it once again. For me, it was the third time when I came to Parga on Easter evening. I rushed to the beach to see the small island on which a small church was built where from time to time weddings are taking place .
But my favourite spot is the ruins of the Venetian Castle watching from the cliff the entire bay. Actually, the best pictures of Parga are taken from there because enables you to have an overlook on the surroundings. The castle was built and rebuilt, sieged and conquered passed on from Venetian to the Turks and then back to the Venetians, it is marked by the turmoils of its past and it has even a secret passage that leads to the sea.
As for the passage, I am not sure if it is a hear=say because personally I haven’t tried to find it. I did not want to meet the entire population of snakes which has the ruins as a residence. I am not sure if there are poisonous snakes, the one ai saw weren`t. There is also a coffee shop on the premises despite the announcement at the gates which says that you enter is at your own risk.
Ruins have something romantic and dangerous in it but this is not what I went there. Since now I had a car it was time for me to see all the places i wanted to explore on my previous visits and I could because most of my time I spent it either on the beach or hiking on the hidden coastal roads through the olive groves, Which was absolutely beautiful but now I wanted to see more, if possible to see ever little beach from North and south of Parga.
And the beaching began! The weather was cloudy with episodes of rain and although I would have wanted to stay on the beach like a lizard and do some photosynthesis some sun I was happy to just go from one beach to another and watch the meanders of the coastline and take photos,
After quick passage through Valtos and Lichnos drove by my undying curiosity, we headed 50 km North to Sivota. The aim was that till we reach Sivota to see all the beaches on our way if the state of the road is permitting us to do it. We went from Valtos through olive grove straight to Anthousa village. The road I chose was not a very smart choice because the road was going up and was not meant for cars like us which were pretty wide to fit on the road.
We managed to reach Anthousa and wanted to go to Agio Sostis a small church hidden on the shore between big boulders, The roads of Anthousa proved to me more than we could handle and this time we got stuck. I do not lie to give up easily but I had to admit my defence this time so instead we went to see the Ali Pasha Fortress up on the hill which dominates the village and is supervising the entire area.
After the failure on the streets of Anthousa took my trusted friend GoogleMaps for a chat and looked at the entire coastline. I still wanted to see all the possible beaches and we continued our road to Sivota. I was so enthusiastic and I felt like a little child looking at the road like trying to memorise every feature.
Trying to reach every beach possible I realised I can’t do it in only one day and if I do that I will miss enjoying the things I am seeing and time was running so fast…When the hell the afternoon came? Not long ago we just woke up? I have lost the track of time and it did not matter to me.
I wish I could have stayed more in Sivota and see all the beaches and visit all the small island not far from the shore, the water was so shallow inviting me to just step on it and see the islands. I kept myself from doing it although I wanted to sit there and listen to the sea. No doubt I will return…I always do.
Left Sivota and continued our road further North, 20 km North to Igoumenitsa. It is not one of my favourites but since in 2 days, we had to go there to take the ferry to Corfu we thought that it might be wise to have a timetable for the ferries and a price as well. After all, we had a budget.
The sun was ready to set and it was our first sunset in this trip. The beach of Plataria does not have anything spectacular in it but the sunset bathed it in golden light and make it looked impressive. Also, Corfu Island looked like a shadow lurking over the water surface.
The good thing about Igumentisa were the two beautiful pictures I took otherwise there is not much to see or much to be remembered for.
The day was ending and I looking at the ghostly shadow of Corfu Island behind the veil of light at the horizon. Few more days and we will be there. Till then though we have anther day to spend doing some beaching, this time going Soth…
The next day again threateningly clouds were lingering above Parga ready to unload their wetterly charge. W e could have chosen to wait for better weather but time was not what we had. So daringly we went South to see the famous Acheron a.k.a Styx river. the river who flows at the gates of the underground world.
This mythical river it was thought to be one of the five rivers of Hades. It springs near the village of Zotiko and flows into the Ionian sea forming a small delta at Ammudia. To see it we went 20km the village of Glyki. To my utmost surprise, this “infamous“ is has a capturing beauty. The water colour can vary from a Caribbean blue to a clear emerald. It is flowing through a mountain gorge and since it is so shallow it can be walked on that’s why river trekking can be done and also rafting.
I wandered on the river banks and got inspired by its beauty so I took some ferns from the forest and Callistemon and pelargoniums from a deserted tavern and made a bouquet. The florist inside me could not help it.
Wondering in the woods I found a narrow path which was going up on the mountain to a castle. I would have gone there for sure but to get there it would take me two hours and I did not have enough time. I felt a bit torn between my inner impulse to wander on the mountain paths and the irresistible calls from the sea. As expected, the sea won. I returned to it when clouds were gathered above it and flashes of lightning could be seen on the horizon,
I know I will be back, there is no doubt abut it, but I think I will always be torn between my attraction to the mountains and my obsession for the sea. After all, I need both the same.
I was so delighted that this time I had the chance to know more of the region although there is still more to be seen. Definitely, I know what to explore on my next visit. I never thought that a place which is not an island will get so much under my skin. But it is so complex and still so mysterious to me. It never sees to amaze me with its beauty and the irony is that the more I am exploring the region the more I realise that is so much more out there….waiting for me…
Parga is so complex and I could have written about its romantic side or from a laid back type of vacation. I could have written about the feeling one might have when walking on its streets, the colours around and the fireflies blinking into the night. The amazing beaches and paths lost in the olive tree groves. The hidden ruins with no name with unknown history to the one in plain sight. Parga is a place to return to and spend more time to understand it the way it should.
Sadly for me, the three days allocated for Parga were over and once again I was on the road….This time, on the road to Corfu Island…