They had to prise me out of my room at Perivolas like a limpet, but this is after all a Five Star Greece villa inspection trip, designed to bring you the best rental villas in Greece, and Paros was our next stop. If Santorini belongs to the sky, Paros is definitely back to earth. There is complete windstill in Greece at the moment, so drooping in the heat, we headed for a shady seaside internet cafe and tried to catch up on office work, then drove off to our first visit, the one I had been looking forward to the most. Our new villa Paros TM is earth at its best. The house belonged to a botanically minded Swiss gentleman who created the most beautiful landscape for his dream house. Clouds of fragrant lavenders, oases of oregano, scented geraniums, alleys of oleanders, hedges of stubby African jasmine plants starred with great five petalled flowers, roses, and turtle doves cooing in the late afternoon sun. Green hills with olive groves and fig trees cradle the property, and we wandered down the white pebble drive to the sandy beach below, which had a few picturesquely arranged rocks and a prettily positioned girl watching the horizon and dabbling her feet in the shallow blue water. The house is really beautifully done, such a pleasure to see.
After a few less exciting visits, we arrived in time for dinner at the Astir of Paros hotel – Set around a fabulous pool in the middle of a large palm grove on a sandy beach, we seemed to be the only occupants, along with 48 cats and hundreds of what the rather beautiful owner called “Flying Nonsenses” (stag beetles to you and me – this is their breeding week it seems). Two kittens straight out of the Aristocats were pounced on by Evi and spent all dinner on her lap. I will have to check her bag when we leave – she already collected a stray dog on Santorini. Luckily we are going to Athens next or else we would end up with a zoo.