On to Naxos
We traveled from Heraklion Crete to Naxos on Championjet 1 because it went to Santorini and directly to Naxos. We were there by 11:30.
Seajets has had a lot of criticism about late arrivals and bumpy rides. I just wanted to compliment them. Championjet 1 is a fast ferry but it also carries cars. It is large enough that the trip was smooth. It departed and arrived right on time. Our hotels on Naxos gave us a view of the port and all the Seajets were precisely on time for the whole 10 days. The bonus is Championjet has an outside deck so you can go out and see the arrival in Santorini from the deck. This wasn’t possible previously. Arriving at Santorini is always a spectacle.
We tried a new hotel ( for us) Diogenes Studios which is owned by the people at Finikas taverna. Its right on St George beach with sea views from every room. We scored the top floor studio with two balconies plus the rest of the roof top as our personal space. However our personal space was quickly violated when I stepped outside the room and found a naked couple changing into bathing suits on the rooftop. All this for 45 e per night
We stayed a week at St George beach. It is a good sand beach probably a kilometer long horseshoe shape. The far end goes to small dunes while the end where we stayed is full of oceanside small family run hotels in every price range. The water is very shallow and you have to wade out a couple hundred meters before you can swim. The bonus for St George is that it is part of Naxos town. It is a 12 minute stroll along the shore until you arrive in Naxos town waterfront promenade. You get a beach vacation with all the activities of town.
We lounged at Finikas then wandered into town for dinner. We went to a favorite taverna, Kala Cardia ( Good Heart) Its right on the waterfront promenade and is always full. We had a village salad and shrimp Saganaki and our first taste of Naxos fried potatoes. Naxos is famous for having the best frying potatoes in Greece. It’s a must have dish. They gave us an extra half liter of wine with the complementary desert. 25E
Quotes of the day
“There’s an open deck for viewing while the ship is at high speed” stan
“Why do I have to apologize, they shouldn’t be up here” stan
Next day we walked into town and the Portera and up into the old market to visit our friend the baker and his son, who own the wood fired bakery. It’s easy to find just follow your nose. The son had an interesting perspective on Greece and the changes that need to be made for the economy. He said the young children now will live in constant economic turmoil but when they grow up they will be the ones who will be willing to make the changes to fix the problems.
We spent rest of the day relaxing at the hotel and Finikas. We returned to Naxos town and went to Nostimon Hellas a relatively new high end taverna. We had fried eggplant stuffed with cheese and a dish of giant shrimp with Mextaka rice. Excellent. With wine 34E
Quote of the day
“We ate the whole loaf of bread” Stan
“I am going to pay for this tomorrow” Lolly
Next morning we took the KTEL bus to the village of Aparanthos. Return 14 E. Aparanthos is an old village high up in the mountains. Its alleys are paved in marble. We spent an hour wandering the alleys then found an artist’s shop and bought three images of Naxos. This is unique art. The photographs are antiqued and embedded into frames made with local pottery and glazed with mica and emery from the local mines. We were pleased to find these as a memento of Naxos.
We returned to Finikas for some beaching and an ouzo. In the early evening we visited Alex from Boutique hotel Glaros where we first stayed in 1996. We had another long discussion about the economy. Alex told us that they are now paying income taxes of 79% and this year the government is insisting they pay next year’s taxes in advance. The more taxes that are introduced the more the economy is based on cash. My words not Alex’s.
For dinner we went to Fountain Square to a new taverna, Jotis Greek Cusine. At first it was enjoyable sitting on the sidewalk just meters away from the cars buzzing by however in the end it wasn’t the best experience. It was noisy. They provided a starter of fresh bread from our baker friend with olive paste, rice stuffed pepper and tomato, with the main chicken special. It came complete with French fries and a baked potato. With a liter of wine 30E
“Who would have believed there was rice, fries and a baked potato? I am so stuffed” Lolly
“We are going to have to waddle home” Stan
“I just love these mistranslations on menus. I wonder what titbits are?” Stan
Next day we walked into Naxos town and bought ticket for the Domus Festival. We have been visiting the festival way up in the kastro at the Venetian Museum since its second year in 1996. During those early years Nico the owner was putting in long days making a go of it and we developed a relationship with him but in the past few years we never saw him again as staff took over his duties. As we left the Museum, Nico came walking up the stairway and we said “Nico”, unbelievable he recognized us. We had a nice chat and he told us that there is so much demand for the festival that they were opening another location at Agios Prokopios Beach that week. So now the people at the west coast beaches won’t have to make the trip into Naxos town to attend the festival. That’s good news.
Before the concert a jazzy piano recital we had dinner at Metaxi Mas ( between us) in the old town. We had a Greek Salad, plus an eggplant dish with cheese and meat plus a zucchini pie with cheese and eggs. With wine 23E
Quote of the day
“They have been drinking, do you think they are going to dance” Stan
“Oh no they are going to dance. Let’s get out of here” Stan (At the concert where they serve free local drinks, raki and wine.)
Next day we took the bus out to Plaka beach to introduce ourselves to the people at the hotel we would soon be moving to. I had never stayed at that hotel and wanted to check it out. It’s a good thing that we did because the room I thought we had booked wasn’t the one we were going to be in. After some Greek/English translation issues we got the room we wanted
We spent the rest of the afternoon on Plaka beach which is our favourite beach. Its a long beautiful sand stretch of beach probably 3 or 4 kilometers long.
In the evening we went to Taverna to Kastro. This was the first Taverna we went to in 1996 and we have developed a relationship with Solous the owner. The food has always been good and the location just outside the Kastro walls has a view over the harbour. This is still our go to Taverna. We had an eggplant pie with eggplant onions pepper and feta in a phylo pastry. I am going to have to try this dish at home. For the main, we had Kelagoros, a veal stew with melted cheese. With a liter of wine plus a complimentary glass of ouzo before dinner and a half liter after dinner, the bill came to an astonishing 23E. Did I mention Naxos is probably one of the least expensive places for dining in Greece.
Quotes of the day
“I always know summer is coming when you arrive at my taverna” Solous
“ Come, I have a fine table overlooking the sea with a glass of ouzo for you” Soulous
“I am just a little tipsy doodle” Lolly
“Yes I know” Stan
Next day I discovered that there was a threatened airport workers strike on the day we were supposed to fly back to Athens. I figured there is no problem we can just catch the ferry. Who knew this was a big Greek holiday. When we visited a Travel agent we were told there are no seats on any of the ferries on that day. We put some pressure on the agent who grumblingly agreed to check harder and she found us two seats in First Class. It was 100 euros but that’s a cheap price to pay not to miss our International flight home. As she handed us the tickets she said, you know the strike probably won’t happen.
Sure enough it was called off and we had to go back to her to try unload the unwanted tickets. Oh well.
We had intended to walk all the way along St George beach to the airport that day and got as far as Fivlos sports club when we spotted a kid on a wind surfer with his dog on the board. As we stood there another tourist stopped and started to talk with us. Turns out she was from Seattle and knows Vancouver Island quite well. We talked for an hour about Naxos and what to see, tavernas and, American politics ( that was interesting) Eventually her husband found us and we agreed to take them to dinner.
Since they wanted to dine at our favourite taverna we went up to Tavena to Kastro again. We had eggplant in a pot from the oven, Eggplant pie and a Naxos salad with soft cheese. Dianne and Paul had the sea bass special and said it was great. My records don’t show what that dinner cost so Paul must have picked up the check. Thanks
Quotes of the day
“What’s wrong with Hillary Clinton?” Dianne
“Stan says he is capable but if he doesn’t have to be, he won’t” Lolly
Next changing hotels. On to Plaka beach
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On to Naxos