A Travellerspoint blog

Wednesday 27th May – Naxos


Went in to the main town, Hora, for a few things – some shopping (food and pressies) and the internet for Jan for work. The latter was available via wifi at a Café for the cost of a coffee (which is never cheap in Greece). Ordered a ring for Dave to be made prior to our departure on Friday!

In the afternoon/evening we went on a longish walk for our house in Mile to two nearby Kouros’s- both had lost a leg in moving, so were abandoned. They give you a feeling for the sculptor’s intentions – the flow of the body etc. The walk took us across the valley we looked out over, and into another village. One we had been able to observe cars going into, but not coming out of. We hoped it didn’t do the same to pedestrians! As with many/most of the Naxos villages it was built on a hillside, and a number of roads came into it from both sides – but as we discovered on foot, none of them could go through the middle of the town – it was pedestrians and bikes only – and the only way through was around the back – so there was a 180 degree turn at the entrance to the village which took cars up to the top and back of the village. We took this route the following day, now we knew how it worked.

Saw another mule being used, but not ridden.

Posted by Jan_n_Dave 02:14 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Tuesday 26th May – Naxos


This time our trip was north – across the middle of the island and then down to a fishing/tourist village (Appolonas). It was famous for a kouros – an unfinished large marble sculpture from BC. Apparently the sculptor started the sculpture on site (it’s rough from etc) and then they were transported to the final site where the sculptor would finish the sculpture. But in some cases the sculptor would discover a fault in the marble or it was broken when moved (physically pulled on logs or on marble chips). This one had broken. The kouros was interesting, but …
The trip up to Appolonas was very pleasant, as was the village. The typical brilliant and clear sea colour and the white and (mainly) blue houses and tavernas etc. Had a pleasant coffee by the sea watching the hundreds of fishes of all sizes swimming around – and an elderly Greek guy fishing with a piece of bread – he didn’t seem very efficient at it, but maybe he had all day to catch enough “small fish” for dinner.

Came across another old Pirgos too – in a state of decay, but open for wandering through. Had the remains of a mill and a press – probably for olive oil we imagined.
Were hoping that a tavern was open at another very small seaside village on the west coast – but it wasn’t, so a picnic lunch again (with tinned sardines (again!). But it was a pretty village and a nice bay (but rather rocky and pebbly underfoot and the weather was not hot enough for a swim (unfortunately as Jan was wanting another swim).

Posted by Jan_n_Dave 02:08 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Monday 25th May – Naxos


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.

Posted by Jan_n_Dave 13:13 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Sunday 24th May – Naxos


Had a good night’s sleep (and although Jan heard the neighbouring mule/donkey bellowing, Dave didn’t).

Went on our first planned walk using a walk book we bought. The walk was great, but the walk book’s instructions were pretty rough and ready – and seems that they assume you just bush bash/wander through farmer’s fields at your leisure/pleasure. And given our still regular snake sightings, and the length of the grass and bush at the moment, it was a bit off putting. Walked for about 4 hours, saw some wonderful villages, examples of Pirgos (Venetian fortified manor houses/towers), old windmills, threshing floors, small and large Byzantine chapels/churches, and the main focus of the walk a partly reconstructed Greek temple to Demeter. And no snakes – just lots of lizards and one that’s a dragon! And people were friendly and greeted us wherever we went – well the locals did, not the other tourists (find that other European tourists are a pretty unfriendly bunch).
Headed off afterwards to the beach (never very far from a beach!), had an ordinary lunch at a taverna on the beach, and finished the afternoon off by having our second swim of the holiday in the amazingly blue/green and clear seas of Greece. Water still cold, but felt more bearable as the temp was higher and the wind mild.

Home for another home prepared meal watching the sun go down and the colours change on the hills and the neighbours’ houses.

Posted by Jan_n_Dave 13:09 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Saturday 23rd May – Naxos


Needed to go to town (Hora) for food so decided to look around. Navigated OK into a parking area at the back of the Kastro (old town/castle – mainly Venetian) although it’s all been built on the usual, earlier Mycenaean, Archaic and Roman period structures. Remains of a 4th C BC temple on the headland near the port, and stunningly beautiful white houses and some older stone houses in the Venetian style spread across the hill overlooking the sea and the island of Paros opposite. The whiteness and resulting glare can make it hard on the eyes!

Wandered around the small lanes and alleys of the old town, taking a few photos and looking at some gift/jewellery shops (pressie shopping time!). Some quite interesting stuff.
Passed a beautiful looking taverna on our wander, and decided we just had to go there for lunch – which we did. Found out that it was quite famous – the oldest taverna in Naxos. And the food was fab – probably the best overall we’ve had to date. The Naxian salad was out of this world – a mix of many of the normal Greek salad ingredients, but with some other/different ingredients that made the difference – some greens, a dressing made with olives, and topped with Grandma’s secret recipe version of a specialty Naxian soft goat’s cheese. Wow – vowed to go back if we could! And the mushrooms and zucchini fritters weren’t too bad either.
Shopped for food too – no tavernas in our village, so we would have needed to walk a couple of km or Dave would have to drive to a nearby village and back if we went out – drinking not the issue, but the narrow and windy roads are. So thought we’d enjoy eating on our courtyard or on the balcony (and weather is to be mid to high 20’s) and maybe have some lunches out at tavernas in some of the villages we would be visiting. Used to now finding out what the local specialties are, and trying to buy some to eat. Got some Naxos cheeses (goat and sheeps’) easily, and some Naxian Rose to drink.

Had a lovely home-cooked meal that night.

Posted by Jan_n_Dave 13:05 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

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