Wine, Words and Wonderful Living in Paros, Greece

I asked Colin, the co-owner of the Greek Cafe, where he bought his wine, and he sent me to the island wine broker, Yannakos Mourlas. It turns out Yannakos’ warehouse was merely a short bike ride from my house. Yannakos welcomed me with a lengthy conversation, as he pointed out his favorite Greek wines. Mind you this was quite a task, as he has between 800 – 900 bottles of Greek wines on his shelves.

A few shelves from Yannakos' warehouse

A few shelves from Yannakos’ warehouse

You can only imagine the fun I had tasting through some of these wines. Fortunately, I had brought with me Tara Q. Thomas’ review from Wine & Spirits August 2013 issue of “Year’s Best Greece.” Yannakos was quite impressed with her reviews, so I recommend that you defer to Tara for Greek wine selections. Here are some photos of Yannakos’ favorites. 




As for weather, today I’m sitting outside wearing two wool sweaters and a cashmere scarf braving the elements because I don’t wish to be inside in Greece in the beginning of October.Postcards from Paros 1The place I am staying is lovely — centrally located and small, with one double bed, tiny bathroom and a second room with convenience kitchen, couch, table et al. No view of the sea, but moments away on foot. One by one, many of the resorts are closing for the season and today the weather is windy and cold, and I am delighted. I am being kept company by the paper mache ax man and the colorful guy in the corner, and of course the incredible books that grace the shelves at Connie and Rod’s house in Parikia. Susie had recommended that I read, “My Name is Red,” by Orhan Pamuk, a talented Turkish author, as I was headed to Istanbul from Scotland. Alas, there it was on the shelf.

Exquisite Quiet

The Paros Paradise of this journey in many ways in the most glorious silent retreat. Day after day, there is exquisite quiet and no one with whom I am interacting regularly.

Postcards from Paros 15IMG_3214IMG_3291

Yes, I speak with vendors to buy succulent fruit, colorful vegetables, exotic cheeses and yoghurt that tastes like clouds on the tongue, and I meet along the way other travelers with whom I compare notes and sometimes share a meal. I’ve even found a world-class Iyengar Yoga teacher in Aliki, on the south side of Paros, and Denise, a gracious woman who is the wife Yannakos Mourlas, the island wine broker, picks me up and returns me home to Parikia. Although Oona teaches Yoga in English, just about everyone in the class speaks a different native language and has the ability to speak at least three. Talk about flexibility in body and mind!

Oona of Alyki Yoga School -

Oona of Alyki Yoga School –

Yet, my favorite people with whom to break the silence are Luci, Luciano and Nico, who live downstairs and who already feel like family.

Nico, Luci and Luciano

Nico, Luci and Luciano

Spending time with Luci and Luciano - Nico was taking our picture.

Spending time with Luci and Luciano – Nico was taking our picture.

Taking Nico for his first visit to the Antiparos Caves, where he climbed as only an 11-year-old boy would do up, down and around the 45 million year old Stalagmite rock formation that rises from the floor of this amazing cave, as a result of accumulation of material deposited on the floor from the ceiling drippings, was a sight to behold.

Nico climbing on the Stalagmite formations in the millions of years old Cave of Antiparos

Nico climbing on the Stalagmite formations in the millions of years old Cave of Antiparos

We descended 411 steps into the heart of the cave, which has a depth in excess of 100 meters. Decades apart in age and having been raised in different cultures, Nico and I shared overwhelming feelings of awe and wonderment. My teacher instincts were brought to the surface as Nico often consulted his brochure, and I felt a deep joy that I had the privilege of introducing this fine young man and myself to one of the great wonders of the world.

Touring with Nico

Touring with Nico

Another adventure took Luciano and me to Naoussa, a charming seaside village about 15 km from Parikia, where we explored by bike the Environmental & Cultural Park of Paros among many other sites. Of course we stopped to swim all along the way…

IMG_3298 IMG_3299

Then off to Yoga… and another day to reflect, to be, to read, to write, to marvel at a sunrise, sunset, the ebb and flow of the Aegean Sea, and to witness the change of weather with the wind announcing the coming storm. To be caught off guard without a moment’s notice by the beauty of Paros — it takes my breath away.  Ahhhh Greece!

Postcards from Paros 16

Sunset tempest Greece