25.05.2009 - 25.05.2009
Did another walk from the book and hoped it would be along better defined paths. This time it was a walk from one inland village to another, and back again by a different route, with some Pirgos and Byzantine Chapel hopping in between. And the requirement to taste a unique Naxian liqueur – Kitron. It’s been distilled in this one village (Halki) since the 19th C from the leaves of the citron tree (citrus medica).
Saw our first mule being ridden - lots of them all over the island, including next to our house - in two directions! This one was being ridden, not just led along.
The first half of the walk was fine – relatively well marked with enough sign posts to feel you were on the right track. Went through a village (Kaloxilos - Καλοξυλος) that we loved the feel and look of – maybe it could be the sort of place to come back and live in for a few months?? Had coffee in a nice and friendly village at the top of the valley, then wandered down to the main focus of the walk – one of Naxos’s oldest churches – Panagia Drosiani, with frescoes from the 7th C.
Walk back down the valley along the stream was not well marked and the guide didn’t help much either – was nice to find two other couples trying to use the same book who were also having trouble. One other couple managed to make it all the way through like we did (we met at the bottom at the one and only taverna in the starting village) – but the other couple re-appeared hours later, so we think they had to retrace their steps.
But there were snakes again – two live ones and one dead one. Because every step you take the little lizards scurry out of your way, and once you see a snake do the same, you can’t help but feel the next scurry is a snake not a harmless lizard (even of the snakes too may be harmless). Makes the walk less relaxing.
After lunch, tasted the Kitron (not bad!) and had a coffee in the next door café and popped into an interesting craft shop.
Drove home via a different route – roads here are much more like in Crete or worse, but there’s not much traffic which helps a bit. Amazing views back over the sea and the island, and views of the marble quarries – we feel that the value in the discarded lumps of marble sitting by the side of the roads or down the hillsides would probably be enough to make you a millionaire in Oz. And everything everywhere is made of marble – much of our presumably poor and normal village house has marble - table tops and benches (including in the courtyard), marble floors, marble shower, etc etc.