Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Big Trip Naxos: Naxos

Because I had a kidney transplant, Ben and I had to postpone our honeymoon.  Instead of jet-setting immediately after our wedding, we ended up going to Greece for ten days in May.
I'm sharing a few pictures and our daily observations from this amazing trip!

Our last day in Athens, which was really half a day, was spent walking through the national park. The national park is basically the "central park of Athens." Athens is quite green for a city, but the park has its highest concentration of trees, walkways, and benches. The park is also home to turtles, ducks, peacocks, and goats.
Around noon we caught our ride to the airport and boarded the tiniest plane ever for our trip to destination number two: Naxos. There were maybe 30 people boarding the plane, and it had propellers. Ben and I made several jokes about dying in a fiery crash that would most definitely have broken the vessel in two solid pieces if it had met the Aegean Sea. We also prayed a lot.

As the plane started to take off, I started to get this feeling that I was doing something bad, a feeling I've had since I became an adult. I felt that if our parents had seen the plane we were about to board the would have made us turn right back around and go home. They never showed up obviously. We had to go through with the flight or lose hundreds of dollars of our own money. 
Even after all the panic and prayer, we did successfully arrive in Naxos on the tiniest plane ever at the tiniest airport ever. Baggage claim was one room, with one conveyor belt, and Ben had to help pull all the luggage off because it wasn't much of a conveyor belt.  Just 10 metal bars that were supposed to roll the luggage forward. They didn't.  Each piece of luggage instead stalled at the entryway from the baggage area to the claim section.
We met our driver and went to our hotel, Lagos Mare. The landscape of Naxos is somewhat hilly but the beaches are beautiful. Bright blue water with coarse sands. We were the firsts guests of the season, we were told. The hotel had opened for spring/summer travel the day we arrived. And we could tell. There were just four other tourists (from Canada) with us when we ate breakfast and dinner at the hotel.  The hotel was all white, with blue accents, that traditional Cycladic look. We had two sets of double doors that led to our balcony, and provided tons of natural light during the day. During breakfast we loaded up on cappuccinos and croissants, yogurt and chocolate and eggs. 

Our only full day in Naxos, we decided to rent bicycles in the town of Chora and ride them to the "best beach in Naxos" according to our concierge. And Agia Prokopios did not disappoint. Because it wasn't busy season, there were very few people on the beach so we could see the stretch of sand and bright blue waters of the Aegean. In the distance we could see the mounds of other Greek islands waiting for exploration.  

For dinner we decided to check out Faro's taverna, near Agia Anna. And since it was only a mile and a half away from our hotel, we decided to walk back to our hotel, hugging the coastline, looking at luminous blue waters and listening to waves brush up onto the shore.
We know we didn't get much of a chance to explore the entire island, with just one full day in Naxos. The island is the biggest in the Cyclades and requires a car to navigate most of it.  

Fascinating Discoveries:  
  • Kitron, a strong liquor made only in Naxos, comes in green, orange and white; 
  • Not many stray dogs on the island, but we did encounter a stray cat sitting on the beach staring at the sea. Why stay in the Athens plaka when in Naxos you have ocean views. 
  • Naxos is very much a beach town. Because busy season hasn't start yet, several of the hotels were not yet open and the restaurants were pleasantly I uncrowded. 
  • I had to walk my bike up every hill and almost wiped out on a gravelly part of the road. Meanwhile, Ben didn't even break a sweat. sweat..