Trip Report Naxos

Old Jul 9th, 2005, 07:19 PM
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Trip Report Naxos

Naxos
After returning the rental car at the airport we flew to Naxos as it wasnít much more expensive than what it would cost us to take the metro back to the Monastraki, another night at Attilos and then the ferry the next morning.

In Naxos we stayed at Glaros Studios, an apartment hotel 100 meters from St George beach. The room had a small kitchen, sitting area, bathroom and a loft bedroom. It also had two balconies and a third shared patio. All this for under $50 Canadian per night. [www.hotelglaros.gr]

We quickly entered a routine of sleeping until 9, having a couple of cups of Nescafe coffee and breakfast which was usually a combination of bacon, feta cheese, red onions, sundried tomatoes, Greek spice and eggs. I did all the cooking while Laurel read on the balcony with her coffee.

After breakfast we would head into town for our daily marketing. Naxos town is situated along the ocean, where fishing boats, yachts and ferries come and go at all times of the day. The main street is lined with shops and tavernas, and the city climbs the hill to the kastro walls built by the Venetians in the 1500ís. The city was built in a maze to confuse pirates and tourists alike. I made the mistake of not buying a gift at a little shop and it took me three day to find it again.

In the old part of town we found a bakery that still uses a wood fired stove. The bread there is unbelievable and costs 60 cents for a small loaf and €1.20 for a large one. We visited every day and became regulars. On the way back from the baker we stopped at a little grocery store and purchased tomatoes (that were so sweet they tasted like candy) peppers - red green and yellow - fresh garlic, red onions, cucumber, yogurt and wine. Our supplies replenished for another day we headed back home. My pedometer showed that this little trek took between 4,000 and 5,000 steps. Itís no wonder we come home from a trip like this, having eaten heavily but in fantastic shape. We wouldnít dream of walking more than a kilometre at home for a loaf of bread.

In the afternoon we would head out to St George beach for a couple of hours of sunning and beaching. The late afternoon we would see us back at the apartment for a Greek salad, tzitiki, bread and wine. This would tide us over until about 8 oíclock when we would walk back into town for shopping and dinner at 9 PM at one of our favourite tavernas.

Our very favourite taverna is Taverna to Kastro which sits just under the wall of the kastro. This restaurant is written up in many guide books and itís reputation is well earned for good food and personal service from the host, Soulis. Tricky to find as there are four different approaches. Beside the jewellery store on the main waterfront is a small street with a blue overhead sign that says ĎTo Kastro and Museum.í Follow that laneway until you come to a dead end and turn right, then immediately turn left, to another dead end, turn right and you will come to the bottom of a wide set of stairs. The restaurant is at the top.

In order to change up the routine every three days or so we would catch one of the local buses and head out to one of the glorious beaches on the west coast. Our favourite is Plaka beach one of the furthest out and less populated. Also along this stretch of coast are Aggia Anna and Aggia Procopious. Bus fare was only €2.20 per person. One thing to note about this bus trip, we caught the bus at the depot in the city but discovered that we could also catch it a few hundred meters from our hotel. Unfortunately by the time it gets this far the aisles are jammed full with bikini clad bodies, beach umbrellas and back packs. The fare collector has to squirm her way through this mass of humanity forcing the passengers into positions reminiscent of a rousing game of twister. I am afraid all this squirming may have resulted in my having to become engaged to two ladies I had just met. The moral of the story is get to the bus at the depot and get a seat.

There are numerous hotels and tavernas all along this coast and many people prefer the very relaxed atmosphere here. We do not put a huge priority on long days at the beach so we prefer to stay in the town where there are antiquities, shops, interesting activities and a wide variety of tavernas to visit as well as an excellent beach. Where to stay on Naxos can be a hard decision, but whatever place one chooses to stay it is sunny and peaceful.

Other sites and activities.
There is a private museum just inside the kastro walls called the Dorius Della Rocca Barouzzi Venetian Museum. This is a private residence occupied by the same family for several hundred years. It has recently been turned into a museum and is well worth the visit. Most evenings the museum has a sunset concert on the patio beside the museum. They have local Naxos music and dances that depict tales of the sea, and farming in the hills. Also while we were there they had a classical guitarist and a piano and violin concert.
The symbol of Naxos is the Portara situated on a high point just outside the harbour. It was constructed in the 6th century BC as a temple but was never finished. All that is standing now is two rectangular columns supporting a roof lintel, standing tall overlooking the ocean. People flock to this place for a picture at sunset.

Villages
Naxos is dotted with lovely villages like Chalki (where they distil the local liquor Citron a unique tasting treat), Aparenthos (a town where the streets are paved in marble blocks), Filoti and Apolonos (where one of the 6th century Kouros statue still lie where they were abandoned in a marble quarry.) and lastly Melanes where there is a Venetian tower house and an abandoned Jesuit Monastery built in the 1600ís

Most impressive is Demeterís Temple. This was at one time an ancient temple, and then a series of Churches. It was destroyed; however unlike many other parts of Greece the ruins remained mostly undisturbed. The local authorities have taken most of the original stones and rebuilt parts of the temple and the churches creating a remarkable site.

Etcetera
No story of a Greek visit would be complete without some sort of an adventure with a Greek toilet. Those of you who have been there will know what I am talking about.
Greek toilets do not accept toilet paper. You are supposed to dispose of it into a basket that the maid removes daily. If you forget, the toilets are designed to do a dozen swirlies and fling the sodden mess up on the side of the bowl. The guilty party is always faced with the problem of disposing of the evidence. Repeated attempts to flush are futile. For sure one will never forget proper toilet protocols ever again. I apologize if I have gone too far with this description however I have noticed that most polite guide books donít tell you about this vital piece of information.

To find pictures of this trip go to www.webshots.com then click on the Community page. At the bottom of the Community page there is a 'find member' option - typed in lollypeter100 and you will come to my home page. Pictures are titled 'Greece 2005.' Hope you enjoy them. Leave me a note in my guestbook!
stanbr is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2005, 07:42 PM
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Oops. This report should have been posted under the heading Greece. I shall re-post it there
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 12:03 AM
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stanbr - You don't have to post it under Greece. There is no individual country postings-everything just comes up under Europe.

Anyway, beautiful trip report and beautiful pictures. What a wonderful way to spend a vacation-shopping in the markets, enjoying the beaches and taking in the sights at a leisurely pace. Naxos seems like a wonderful place.
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Old Jul 10th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Do you remember the name of the bakery? Are there any other favorite tavernas you could recommend? I loved hearing about the private museum. I haven't heard about that on any other posts. What are some other great sites to see in the area? Did you visit any villages?
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Old Jul 12th, 2005, 09:07 PM
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The bakery doesn't have a name. Just Bakery. It's in the Old Market. You approach the market from the main street along the ocean at the alley beside the fancy Booze store. At the first T intersection you will find a map painted on the wall. The bakery is on the map. If you keep wandering around in there you will find it. This part of the town is essentially a circle maze and if you miss it you'll end up at your starting point. The challange of finding the bakery will be very well rewarded when you take your first slice.
Our second favorite taverna is Flamigo. It's on a second story rooftop above a bank on the far right of the Main waterfront street. (when you are facing the town. The entrance is off of the back street) Several nights a week there is live entertainment. The service can be a little slow because the cook and the head waiter have dance contests.
The third favourite restaurant is called Nikos. It is on one of the streets leading to the square with the fountain. It's not near the main waterfront and can be a little hard to find. This taverna has one of the worst possible locations right beside a busy street, however around 9:00 they barricade the street to cars and then it becomes quite nice. We walked past this taverna at least three times daily and every night we ignored the "momma" whose job it is to bring in business. We finally felt so guilty at pushing past this lady so often that we decided to try it. The food turned out to be very good. It is the only taverna we found that provides tzaki and olives with the bread starter and their main courses are very generous. We actually ended up going back three times. It was probably the best value on our whole trip.
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