Pimpin Around Naxos with Old Greek Women

Trip Start Jun 03, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On Thursday June 11th, we woke up and headed down to the port to catch a ferry to take us to our next island.  There were no direct boats to Naxos, so we had to make a short stopover in Paros and arrived in Naxos a little after noon.  We had some ideas of where we wanted to stay and bargained with the various places for the best deal.  We settled on a place called Pension Irene II, which offered an apartment-style room with a kitchenette, a balcony, and a swimming pool. 

Pension Irene turned out to be an even nicer place when we actually got there.  Irene herself greeted us and gave all five of us a welcome ice cream cone during check-in.  We couldn't settle into our room just yet though, because a cleaning woman was not done changing the sheets, making the beds, and cleaning the bathroom.  No sawdust covered beds for us anymore!  Needless to say, we were all pretty excited to be here after our camping adventure the last few nights

We all suspect that Irene, the old Greek owner, had a crush on me.  I was the only one of the five who she attempted to speak to, and she also randomly gave me cups of cold juice twice during our stay.  We determined that my tan, bearded Mediterranean look is a big hit with the local women.

We spent the rest of the day laying out by the pool and exploring the Naxos town, which was just a short walk from our pension.  We cooked dinner in our apartment that evening with Sarah serving as head chef and spent the rest of the night on our balcony sipping wine that came in a large plastic bottle.  Classy.  At one point around about 9pm, our conversation and "loud" music was getting too rowdy for an old man below us because he came within view of our balcony and gave us a stern talking to for interrupting his concentration while doing his needlepointing.

The next morning, we rented scooters to do some traveling around Naxos.  The place we got them from offered a three day special, so we opted for that.  We started by scooting around the mountainous terrain of Naxos and exploring the villages in the center of the island.  We then visited the Kitron factory, which makes a local Naxian alcohol, and we also were given a free tasting.

Afterwards, we stopped at a local resturant with another small, old Greek woman who took a shine to me after ordering a local favorite known simply as "big beans," which were one of my top foods on the trip so far.  "Irene number 2" also provided me with a complimentary ice cold refill on my water bottle, in a place where the tap water is undrinkable. 

That night, we ate leftovers on the balcony and listened to music but were apparently not loud enough to warrant the old needlepointing man to have to scold us.  We then took our plastic bottle wine party to the boardwalk and met some other people on the way to the bar area of Naxos town.  We went into one bar that was supposed to be the place to be and found it to be surprisingly empty, despite playing good American bar music.  We started dancing and before we knew it, a friendly bartender had poured us five drinks although we had only ordered one total so far.  We met a nice older British couple that started hyping up India to me, getting me excited for my upcoming adventure.  On the way home, we stopped at a food place for a crepe and baked potato.

Saturday morning, we woke up and went for breakfast.  I got a crepe and chocolate banana milkshake, that were both delicious and filling.  We then took the scooters out to explore the beaches for the afternoon.  We went to a few, and all were really pretty and not too crowded.  At this point, my tan is really starting to come in nicely and I'm creeping up on becoming the most tan in the group behind Kelly. 

After the beaches, I went for a rooftop snack with Lindsey, and we tried a local Greek dish known as moussaka, which reminded me of a type of lasagna but with mainly eggplant, meat, and egg.  It was tasty and interesting.

For dinner, we drove back to Plaka Beach for a beachside Mexican restaurant called Picasso's.  We were all starving by the time we got there and devoured the nachos appetizer before the waiter had even finished setting them on the table.  The food here was really good, and I was surprised to find good Mexican all the way over here.

The next morning, after a filling breakfast of scrambled eggs, we got back on the scooters to go back into the villages to climb Mount Zeus, a 1004 meter peak in the center of Naxos.  Looking at it from the base, it looked pretty intimidating, but we were up to the challenge.  We soon lost the trail and starting forging our own path but quickly ran into a massive rock pile that became the most difficult part of the hike.  The rock pile was a large section of the uphill climb made  only of rocks that would shift and move with each step.  It took us some time, but we made it.

I had a lot of fun hiking up the mountain, and the view from the top was amazing.  It is the highest point in the Cyclades and from there, you can see so many islands in all directions.  The wind was strong, but I really enjoyed being up here and even brought the speedo to have a mountaintop photoshoot for everyone's enjoyment.  The climb down was not as fun, however, and required some skill not to slip repeatedly.  Still not capable of driving a motorbike, I decided to celebrate the successful climb with a victory strawberry ice cream on the back of Kelly's bike, unaware until later that passing motorists were endlessly pointing and laughing at the boy eating a pink ice cream cone on the back of a girl's bike.

That night, Lindsey and I went out for date night in Naxos to a waterfront restaurant in the harbor called Meze 2.  The food was delicious, and we ate seafood such as fried calamari, shrimp, and cod.  We also tried a local alcohol called raki but did not enjoy it as much as the kitron.  When we were done eating, though, the waiter never brought us our check as we watched table after table nearby come and go.  It was probably an hour after we finished eating before the check came, but apparently that's just how they do it in Greece.

The morning of June 15th, I did my first load of laundry in our apartment's sink before going to the beach.  It was really windy and sand was whipping around into our faces, so we went back to Pension Irene to hang around the pool.  We walked around the town, cooked dinner, and then headed to the Temple of Apollo to watch the sunset.  The Temple of Apollo is Naxos's only ancient ruin, and the sun sets behind it, creating a great view. 

We stayed around the temple as the sun fell below the horizon and then went back to our favorite bar, Prime, for more free drinks from the bartender before enjoying some ice cream on the walk home. 

Tuesday morning, we checked out and hung around the pool before our 2:30 ferry to Ios, which is known around Greece as the party island...

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