The beach of Krioneri is the town beach of Parga - not the best place to sunbathe but popular with the locals and from here you can swim out to the rocky islands with the Mother of Mary Church quite easily - although I never quite got round to this. Behind the beach are numerous tavernas and cafes - really quite spoilt for choice for lunch and dinners.
Epirus Trip - Oracle of the Dead
Nekromanteio or Nekyomanteio - known as the "Oracle of the Dead" a little known archaeological site. According to Greek mythology this was the entrance to the underworld. Not a huge site but the stories behind it were interesting and you can still descend into the vaults (see pic 4) where in the 4th century B.C. people went to visit the oracle for advice from the dead. Watch out here as its pitch black and the floor is very uneven. It seems the sensations of the visiting pilgrims may have been heightened by drugs as they have to navigate the labyrinth to reach this underworld. On top of the square building is a small church that can be visited too. (pic 5)
The ruins on the ground outline an elaborate complex that included the living quarters of the priests and the guests, storage facilities, rooms for ritual activities, and the main sanctuary where the meeting of the living with the dead took place. For the duration of their visit their diet and actions were strictly controlled by the priests - diet consisted of foods which along with isolation and meditation induced a state of hallucination for the person who was about to encounter the dead. Once the purification of the soul and body was complete, the pilgrim in a state of altered reality offered sacrifice to the gods, and walked down a long corridor and through the three doors of the dark labyrinth that leads to the central room where the spirits of the dead spoke to the living. Researchers reckon it was all a bit of a scam as the priest got to know about the visitors lives during their stay and the encounter with the dead souls was nothing else than an encounter with the image of the dead (probably a priest) that was suspended from the ceiling with the aid of an elaborate machine.
Yacht Club is one of the places we have been the most over the 15 years in Parga. We always like to go there for lunch. The meny is quite normal, they have a reasonable lunch meny and the food is good.
The service is exellent and we feel that the guys working there always appreciate us coming back.
Try it! Greek salad
In Parga as well as in the Ionian island, the color that dominates is white. There is not the blue and white pattern that is mostly found in the Sporades for example. Most houses are freshly painted in white but occasionally, when going in the smallest alleys, their can be a house that has not yet been fixed and painted (second photo). There are not many!
Parga in April (Page 2 of The Adventure Overland)
After leaving Igoumenitsa we had a rough idea where we were heading. We realised it being out of season we might not find many campsites open,so headed for Parga which should be a large enough place for a site to be open. We did look around Sivota but it was all well and truly closed and looked a bit up-market. It didn't help that it was pouring down so nobody was about and tavernas had closed doors.
We arrived in Parga which was also pretty dead and went for a drink on the waterfront. On the way to look for the campsite, Nick decided he would drive through the narrow streets(even though I told him we wouldn't fit) and managed to knock the bedroom window out on a shop awning. What a todo. People arrived from everywhere. Fortunately there wasn't much damage to the shop awning, only our window which we had to continue the whole holiday with it taped together. A brilliant start to our first day in Greece!!!!! We found Parga Camping which was open from April, thankfully. The ground was pretty saturated and the few tourers were camped in the dryest area, not wanting to get bogged in. We found a pleasant pitch under the trees, fairly close to the basic but adequate toilet block and booked in. At last we could hang wet clothes out to dry, as the sun decided to make an appearance. We started to relax and Philip pedalled around on his trike, in his element. He had been couped up long enough!!
We learned the ways of the campsite, ie. only hot water from solar heating (this meant a few cool showers with the weather being dull) and met some of the other residents. There was an English couple in a strange Renault? camper who had been there two days and hadn't a clue what the site tariff was !!! It was one of the first things we established!!!! 3000drx. a night with electricity. Not bad.
Everywhere was very wet underfoot due to the amount of rain that had fallen in the last couple of days.
We wandered into the town to phone home to let people know we had arrived. We stopped for a beer and giro souvlaki while Philip sploshed about in the puddles. When we had returned to the campsite, Michael (10 at the time) decided to go for a bike ride and managed to get himself lost and ended up on the main road. Nick managed to find him but it could have been such a different story. How relieved we were.
Nick spent the evening sticking the bedroom window back in, which much to my amazement remained intact for months to come.
Philip enjoyed chasing the tethered goats about the campsite which made good video footage.
Our hostess invited us for drinks on a bus outing to another village which we declined as we had things to do. It was strange, but her husband didn't go, either.
"Getting to Know the Place"
The next day was Philip's first immersion in Greek waters. We were on the beach and the sun came out and Philip got gradually wetter and wetter with fewer and fewer clothes on! It was pretty cold and he came out blue!!
That afternoon I had a walk up to the castle and was amazed how peaceful it all was. (Parga by now had become busy, being the weekend before Easter). The views were stunning, down over the town, harbour and Valtos beach.It was wonderfully shadey after the warm climb up. I was fortunate to have the place to myself until walking back down I was caught up in a party of Americans from a boat. We got into discussion and they were in awe of us touring Greece in our own time. I expect they had to follow a strict itinerary.
That evening we invited a Dutch couple for drinks (from the campsite). They were in Greece for 2 months, looking for work and were a really interesting couple. They were in an equally elderly camper they had converted and it had a wood burning stove in it! Amazing.
We only ate out once in Parga (apart from souvlaki) as it was quite an expensive resort, plus we were on a limited budget. We kept a lot of restaurant receipts from this holiday and comparing Parga with other areas it was well over the odds.
We enjoyed Parga off season, the beaches were beautiful and the town very attractive, built on a hillside. The Venetian castle is well worth a visit and seperates Valtos Beach from Parga.
Do not come to Parga in high season without having pre- booked accommodation. A lot is taken up with package holidays.
There are two banks for exchange facilities, both with ATMs.
Parga has a bus service.
Continue to Page 3 of The Adventure here