Going with a travel agent for this trip was a very good decision. My hotels and transportation were paid for in advance and all of the transfers and ferry tickets were pre-arranged and given to me when I arrived the first day. Everything has gone like clockwork and it has relieved me of much of the time and stress I would have had if I needed to arrange all of this once I was here.
The ferry wasn’t all that comfortable. We had economy tickets and so needed to sit in a sort of cafeteria area. We were lucky to arrive as early as we did because we were able to get a window seat indoors, however, we also had to wait 50 minutes before we even started to move. The ferry arrived in Naxos a little late so all in all it was a very long trip. Half way to our destination the clouds dissipated and the sun came out. Mom went for a walk outside on deck but it was too smoky. This is probably a good time to talk about smoking here in Greece. Greece is a country of smokers. Everyone smokes. It reminds me of what it was like in the 70s in the States where I lived when you could count on seeing an ashtray gracing each table and at least half of the patrons smoking a cigarette. Everyone also eats outside. I don’t think we have had an indoor meal the entire time we have been in Greece except for breakfast in the hotel. In fact many of the restaurants, including the one we ate at tonight, don’t even have an indoor seating area.
There are many Taverna’s in Greece and as I remember from when I was here 25 years ago, you often see a group of men sitting around drinking, smoking and talking. I guess it is a cultural thing but it doesn’t look good and I see that things haven’t changed much in that regard. The women on the other hand are always busy. I know it doesn’t sound flattering but that is just this tourist’s observation.
Upon arrival here, there was a mass exodus from the ferry and we were caught up in the flow of the hordes toward awaiting vehicles and the town. Fortunately, I found our vehicle very quickly (the driver was holding up a sign with "Naxos Resort" on it) and we were off in no time as many of the other tourists were walking the rest of the way toward town to arrange their own transportation.
We got an extremely warm welcome once we had arrived. It was as if we were landing on a soft comfortable pillow and the whole environment here exudes “Rest, Rest, Rest.” I was feeling pretty tired even though I had sat around for most of the day and it was so nice to have a no hassle arrival, a friendly welcome, a nice room, and people who seemed to want to immediately cater to your every need. We are 30 metres from the Aegean Sea, a five minute walk from the town centre, we have a fitness room, a pool with lounge chairs, restaurant, room service, and friendly staff… what more could we ask for. After I changed into some lighter clothes and settled in a bit, Mom suggested we look around this place. We were given a mini-tour as well as a map with suggestions for interesting places to go in town and on the island.
After looking around the resort area, we took a stroll down to the beach, then walked along the beach, then ventured a bit further as the shops looked interesting, then we were by the port and grabbed a bite to eat.
We saw the Portara of Naxos and decided to take a walk and get a close look. The Portara is all that is left of an enormous Temple of Apollo that was never fully completed. It stands as the most recognisable monument of the island. By now we had taken a much longer walk than I had expected when we walked out of our room and my feet and legs were getting sore. We started back and I saw a different road with interesting shops that I thought might be a bit of a shortcut. There were all kinds of narrow alleys lined with shops and stairs leading to other narrow alleys. The island landscape is beautiful and interesting… but also maze-like.
Before I knew it we had climbed up near the castle and I was nowhere near where I wanted to be! We went downhill till we were back by the water and had only advanced about 50 metres toward our resort!
After making our way back, we showered and rested for a while. I skyped Steven and that always makes me happy. Mom suggested we try a restaurant recommended by the receptionist. It is a 10 minute walk away. Now I know I am tired when I have to motivate myself to walk 10 minutes for food. That is ridiculous.
We had a lovely long dinner and walked home brousing in shop windows that were now open. The temperature is perfect with a light breeze. We have no plans for tomorrow other than dipping at least our toes in the Aegean. There is castle here we might visit. We might just sit around the pool all day. We are going to play it by ear but for sure we will rest.
It feels so luxurious to be here now after all the activity we have had. I can rest in bed tonight and read all I want, sleep in and not have to worry about being anywhere or doing anything tomorrow. Nice.
Today we were picked up at our hotel at 6:10am and taken to the port. It was pouring rain and pitch black outside so I didn't get a picture. The taxi driver was excellent and brought us as close to the boat as he could get, then brought our luggage up, then the other gentleman in the car got an umbrella and escorted us up the ramp onto the ferry which was actually quite large. We were early so window seats indoors were available and we settled in for the long 5 hour trip to Naxos.