This was our second trip to the wonderful isle of Paxos. Our first was about a quarter of a century ago when we stayed just outside Gaios. Explored the island on hired scooters, whizzing up dusty tracks in baking heat. Probably explains why I remember it as being a barren sort of place with beaches that were totally inaccessible. But this time it was different. This time we hired a little boat. So for three glorious days we were able to potter around with seaspray in our faces instead of road dust and access quiet beaches that are impossible to get to by car or scooter. Completely changed my opinion of the island. The only trouble was that we had to be back by 6.30 each evening. And it helps if you pick up your boat at the opening time of 9am, not 11.30 as we did on our first boating day.
Panos the boat hire man was brilliant at providing a crash course in boating theory and, following a practical demonstration of starting, steering and stopping, we were finally allowed out into the seven seas without supervision. But where to go? Out of the harbour and left towards Lakka? Or right towards Gaios? We chose right and headed for Gaios. Steamed down the coast no problem but things became a little more tricky on the inland waterway of the Gaios waterfront area which is more like a narrow river than open sea. Had to dodge a few massive yachts and overcrowded ships taking tourists to the beautiful beaches of Anti-Paxos. Didn't take any snaps of the bustling harbour and old buildings because I was too busy steering, throttling, cussing and praying. Eventually came out t'other end, once more into open sea, thankfully without incident, and headed for Mongonissi (excellent 'family-type' beach). Dropped anchor at the jetty (probably unnecessary) and headed for the bar. Intended to stay for a quick drink but stayed for lunch (grilled octopus and Greek salad) and had a very relaxing time. Georgie suggested champagne as it was my birthday but stuck to beer with a cheeky little vino.
Time, as ever, was marching on so we headed back, stopping off at Gaios on the way for a quck look round. Georgie decided she needed a hat. Tried loads but didn't buy. Then beach shoes (pebbly beaches are murder on the old tootsies). Quite surprised me by actually buying a pair. Another surprise was how much Gaios has changed. Seemed a lot more touristy than before. Not so 'up market'. Or maybe all the posh shops and restaurants are hidden up the back streets. Anyway, it's still a lively joint. Totally different to laid back Loggos. Quite a relief to get outa there. Next stop was a little bay where we had a quick swim. Then onwards to Loggos where Panos appeared quite relieved to see his boat still in one piece even though he did raise an eyebrow as we dropped anchor in the middle of the harbour and eventually came to a halt about thirty yards away at the jetty right in front of his office (I don't think it's necessary to drop anchor at a jetty, only in bays, but I could be wrong - I'm a biker not a boater).
Had a beer and a laaaarge g&t at my waterside bar (no waterside tables left at around 6 to 7 in the pre-dinner rush) then avoided the two big restaurants and noshed at the backstreet Four Seasons bar which is popular with the locals (when in Rome...). Had a simple birthday dinner of squid (again) with shared Greek salad. Then staggered back up that infernal track, stopping every so often to wind up the clockwork torch thingy. Being covered in mozzy bites, I had my late night scotch indoors (by now I'd twigged that these blasted insects eat you alive if you sit outside in the evening cool).
Tomorrow we aim to report at Panos' as near to 9am as possible. The early boat catches the deserted beach. Or maybe not.
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