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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Parga Paradise

Pink sky over Voltas beach, Parga, in Greece

We've just spent 10 delightful days on the Greek mainland in the hilly, lush and beautiful town of Parga on the north west coast.

Or rather, eight and a half days, because for the first two days the weather was bad.

We flew from London Heathrow on a new BA route this summer to the tiny and wonderful airport of Preveza. More about the airport later. The drive to Parga took 50 minutes and we marvelled at the lush green scenery, the roads bordered by bougainvillea and other flowers and planted, the taxi driver told us, to act as natural boundaries to prevent wildlife straying into the road.

Our hotel, the Parga Beach Resort, sits on the golden sands of Valtos Beach.  It was our first time in Parga and I chose the hotel because of its proximity to the beach and the availability of water taxis to take us the short distance into town for dinner most nights.  We usually have bed and breakfast so that we can enjoy the local restaurants.

The hotel is built on a former olive grove, and some of the trees remain, over 350 years old, and bungalows have been built around them.  There are lawned gardens which are immaculate with borders containing flowers, strawberries, herbs and vegetables.

We had dinner in the hotel on our first night, overlooking the sea, and the sky turned a pretty pink. Later, back in the room, there were sudden rumbles of thunder and the unmistakable sound of torrential rain.  We went to sleep thinking it would be over during the night.

I had seen bad weather in the BBC forecast but had largely ignored it because usually in Greece bad weather is not prolonged.  So I wasn't prepared for nearly two days of rain and low temperatures. I hadn't brought any cardigans or anything for the rain, just my white jacket.  Eeek.  John was slightly better prepared with two fleeces and he lent me one.

On the second day the rain ceased around lunchtime, although it was still grey and cold, and we took the walk along the seafront up a steep hill which takes you to the top of Parga town. There are some restaurants overlooking Valtos beach and it's a 15 minute walk so we did this most evenings.

John found a hike for us to do - quite strenuous to start with, climbing hills to get into a forest studded with olive trees.  The nets under the trees will be opened out late in the season and locals from all around come to knock the olives down.

There was a great view of Parga as we went round a bend.

On day three the sun was out. Yay! We went immediately to the beach and John was straight in.

On our summer holiday we mainly relax, swim and read. The next few days were bliss. Around 5pm we returned to our bungalow and sat outside on our terrace overlooking the sea and in the gardens. 

Our favourite restaurants soon became the two overlooking Voltas beach, Flisvos and Stefano's Taverna, which has a boat seen in the harbour saying "I'm fishing for Stefano's Taverna." The freshly caught fish was beautifully cooked. 

My all-time favourite is moussaka and I have had some dreadful ones over the years, but the recipe served up at Flisvos was exactly right and I had it three times! 

I don't normally eat desserts but this Greek yoghurt with a black cherry compote was to die for.

On the last day it was our ninth wedding anniversary. 

When I'm in Greece I love looking at the churches and shrines on the roads to those who have died. There was a cute little church at the far end of the beach.

Overlooking the beach is a fine Venetian castle which is free to visit.

We only used the water taxi once, when we were coming back from town on the first day in the rain.  Here's the walk into town along the seafront path.

I didn't take as many clothes as usual but quite a few of those I did take ended up being unworn. There's quite a casual vibe in Parga so I relied on old favourites with just a few new pieces, white jeans, my cropped jumpsuit (worn on the last day) and a couple of new t-shirts. I managed to persuade Mr Mutton to take a few pictures. 

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton on Voltas beach in Parga wearing batik print cropped jumpsuit from Sugarhill Boutique

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon in palm patterned cropped jumpsuit on a hammock at the Parga Beach Resort

On our last day we grabbed a couple of hours on the beach before setting off to the airport.  It used to be a military airport but has now been done up and will open all year round.  At the moment it's very quiet.  Everything is new and immaculate.  

So will we return to Parga?  For the last few years we have been regulars on the island of Skiathos, and I missed being able to watch boats of all sizes, from my sun bed, making their way into the much bigger harbour. So although Parga has its own charms, I suspect we will be back on Skiathos next year. Check out my post on one of our Skiathos holidays.

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday. 

Last week's most clicked was Jess at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish with her post about accessories.  I had belt envy! Well done to Jess.
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