July 6 morning - July 10 morning
Made it to Naxos! It was a bumpy ride to say the least. The winds were blowing 25 knots (force 5-6) and the swell was 6-8 feet. I mistakenly fed Jordan yogurt and of course she barfed (even medicated). She reminded me before she ate the yogurt that it was't smart, but of course I didn't listen. I didn't think it was going to be so bumpy.... Oops. Good thing she has a forgiving heart. We are safely snugged in the harbour with a great view of the town and of the variety of ferries that come and go. The ferries are VERY good at med mooring and could teach BC Ferries a thing or two about efficiency.
|large ferry med mooring|
We went exploring in town to find the chandlery (the first we have seen since Leros). The first store we found was a great book store that had a fair selection of english books for kids. The chandlery directed us to a printer to get our boat cards completed in 2-3 days. As we were walking back towards the boat we wanted to check on a rental car price. She graciously let us know a great café for wifi, so we stopped at a an ice cream shop that we thought was the one for some soft serve and wifi. It turns out that the correct café “Maya” was down the way.
We dropped back to the boat to offload the books and computers as well as Paige as she was tired. As Shaun, Jordan and I were leaving we noticed a girl around Paiges age. Her name is Eva. When we returned to the boat after 6:00 PM we found Paige and Eva hanging out in Paige’s room.
Jordan met two young girls from Norway named Maria (5) and Sarah (9). Even though there were different languages being spoken it did not stop the playing. It is so wonderful to see that there are no boundaries. Maria and Sarah’s mom Mona stayed and chatted (strangers letting her children play). Jordan brought out all her stuffed animals and her Doc McStuffin doctor kit. It was nice to see the girls play.
|the girls new friend Eva who is from France but now lives in Naxos, Greece on a boat|
|Jordan's new friend Maria from Norway|
The Norwegians had to leave for supper but Eva hung out with Paige (and us) until 10:00 PM. After she left and the girls were in bed Shaun and I headed into town for a beverage and dessert before going to bed. We ended up finding Maya the café in our travels.
As Shaun and I sat in the restaurant “Cream” to enjoy our special coffees and crèpes we were discussing how strange it still is for us to see young children up so late. It is part of the culture and for us takes some getting used to. Our kids NEED their sleep. As parents it is a necessity that they get their sleep. Nevertheless it is very interesting seeing the families up with their kids so late. Incidentally, we have also noticed children at their parents business’, helping or otherwise hanging out. This is part of the culture as well.
We woke up late due to our previous evening and were working on our laptops when the gaggle of new friends arrived to play before each had to go their separate ways. They played but then started catching fish and putting them in a bucket that Paige had already started. It always amazes me how many hours kids are occupied with sea life. It was awesome to see the girls pulling out the Greek fish sticker book to try and identify some of the captured fish. Shaun was checking the weather and saw that two of the weather sites he checks regularly were telling him that there would be a weather window to travel in light winds on Thursday/Friday. This lit a fire under our bums to get off the boat and explore the castle up the hill so that we could rent a car the following day. Off we went with Paige’s new friend Eva in tow to explore the castle and surrounding streets and shops. We walked along the waterfront with all of the tavernas on one side and their open air portions on the other. Beautiful! We found the stairs that lead up through the meandering narrow streets into the old castle walls. We perused several stores and then Eva mentioned her parents laundromat was down the street. Off we went to visit Chris (Eva’s dad). Shaun was craving a milkshake so we were directed to Eva’s uncle restaurant/café called Maya’s (funny enough where we directed on our first exploration trip). Shaun coordinated a half pitcher milkshake. Yes, you read correctly a 1/2 litre. I had an apple truffle and the girls had ice cream and milkshakes. We decided to head back to the boat for some rest.
As it was a new island and we like to get away from the tourist zone we headed off to
rent a car. The last car they had was a bright red Fiat 500, it was a piece of garbage (no offence to anyone who owns one but this one was terrible). Off we went to explore the island of Naxos (we didn’t realize just how big the island was and the effect the twisty mountain roads play on a 1 day drive).
On our way to our first stop we noticed many farms with cows and sheep. Actually we smelled them before we saw them. In this part of the island the there was a lot of hay fields. There were many plots of land that were surrounded with bamboo or sugar cane. Our thought was perhaps for some shade? On our way to our first stop In a stone pen there was a mule that had its feet bound in an odd fashion that we couldn’t figure out. Front foot bound to the same back foot.
Our first stop was Dimitra’s temple that dates back to 530 BC. Here is a link if you would like to know more about the temple: http://www.naxosdream.com/en/dimitra-temple.html. The marble structure was amazing. Surrounding the structures were olive trees full of olives. There were many different insects, lizards and seed pods. Stunning!
|views of the fields on our way to Dimitra's temple|
|mule with it's feet tied in a strange fashion|
|walking up to Dimitra's temple|
|front view of Dimitra's temple|
We headed along to our next stop of Halki (famous for their Citron liquor). Driving through the windy roads we were watching the numerous olive groves and mountainous terrain pass by. The contrast is amazing. From the back seat Jordan asked “are we going to see any vigellar’s?” She meant villagers, we all had a good laugh.
|little street in Halki|
Halki is a quaint greek village that has had the main streets restored for tourists. We stopped at a shop called The Loom where we watched a lady making the fabric used in several items in the shop. There was a stunning maroon and beige bed cover (the design is one of the oldest in Naxos) that would have matched our boat perfectly. The price was 300 Euro (not bad considering the amount of time it takes to create on a loom. We were mesmerized at the intricate patterns that were created. The lady explained that her mother winds the cotton and had created several patterns for their three looms.
We moved on to the next shop called “Olive & Fish”. This was an art gallery/handmade jewelry shop. The olive tree art was incredible along with the fish designed pottery and of course the beautiful jewelry. I took a photo and was about to take another of Jordan in an alcove but got in trouble. Oops!
As we were leaving the art shop Shaun and I noticed some meat turning on a spit. We thought it was lamb. Our friend Connie from Netsel marina in Turkey told us “if you see lamb on a spit in Greece, just get it. Don’t think about it, just get it.” So after perusing a few more shops we went back to the restaurant for the supposed lamb. We grabbed a table in the shad as the day was extremely warm with little to no breeze. At this point I hadn’t looked up, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised to see we were settled under a large canopy made of a grape vine full of ripening green grapes. I was in love. We found out that it was pork or chicken on the spit. We ended up ordering the pork which came with fries and tsitsiki (the best since Kos) and enjoyed the wonderful ambiance. As we were enjoying the food we started to discuss the lovely jewelry at Olive & Fish. I decided to go back after to purchase the silver fish pendant. Before we got back to the store we walked through the town a bit more and found a kiosk that sells ice cream and popsicles. He had the best selection so far on our trip.
|dinning under a grapevine|
It was time to leave Halki and start heading back to the boat. We drove across the island through traditional greek villages some of which were perched on the side of the mountains. The island is very green and mountainous, there is such a contrast between rock mountains and green vegetation. The roads are narrow and windy with marble jutting out and falling on the road and around another corner the green flora and fauna encroaching onto the road making it even narrower. It felt like we were on a back road and not on a main road. As we went along there were signs pointing to other small villages tucked away in little nooks. We could have spent a lot more time exploring them.
We stopped at a crossroads and stopped to take a few pictures of the plunging valleys. There was a man selling fresh fruits and vegetables out of the back of his truck. He was telling me that he is a fifth generation farmer. He and his father get up at 5:00 AM (as it is cooler) to tend to their farms and orchards. I peeled one of the oranges and took a bite. It was one of the BEST ORANGES I HAVE EVER TASTED. I am starting to become a believer in organic farming. The growers grow naturally and we have noticed that the food tastes like it should.
Off we went again along the twists and turns. We saw sheep and goats wandering freely before we stopped again. This time at Apollon for a beverage, snack and Jordan went swimming before heading back to the town of Naxos. It was after 10:00 PM when we returned the car and got back to the boat. We were supposed to depart the following day for Milos but decided to delay it a day so that we could clean the boat as it was extremely dirty, salty and sticky. We put the girls to bed and headed out for a late night/early morning drink at a club just across from the boat. It was lovely. We were invited to stay for the all-night Tsunami party but I declined knowing I would not be in good spirits the following day as we were departing for Milos.
|one of the numerous villages contrasting against the green|
|goats on the side of the road|
|marble jutting out on the side of the road|
|view into the valley|
|another view down into a valley|
|many gardens and agriculture|
|authentic Greek homes perched on the side of the mountain|
|having a beverage and a break in the village of Apollon|
|the beach in Apollon|