Trip Start Jan 07, 2010
38Trip End Ongoing
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Since this was so last minute, we didn't have a guidebook or much other than a little time at internet cafes to pick the island to go to. We have friends who went to Crete and loved it but it was 8 hours by ferry from Athens, which seemed too much, especially after so much traveling we've already done. We got a tip from a fellow traveler about Naxos and did a quick search on the internet and it seems to fit our criteria...5 hours by ferry, not too big, not too small, hiking options and cheap accommodations
We are staying in the main town on the island, which has a small port and a nice beach, although the water is too chilly to stay in the water longer than a quick dip. The town itself can be walked across in about 15 minutes and has charming cafes along the water and a castle at the top of the town. We are staying at Pension Irene I for US$33 per night and we have a small kitchenette and a nice balcony with a partial sea view. It's very spacious and spotlessly clean. We are up the hill about 5 minutes from the beach and main part of town.
So what have we done since we've been in Naxos?? Not much. We were exhausted when we got here. It was a long, sleepless journey to get here...we left Jerusalem at 4:00 p.m. on the last bus before the sabbath (the entire country stops at sundown--no buses--no shops--no nothing except Palestinian taxies that charge about $100 double time). Our goal was to get to the airport in Tel Aviv for a flight at 7:00 a.m., for which we had to be at the airport at 4:00 a.m. (The Israelies are extremely strict about getting to the airport 3 hours before flights.) Basically we hung out at the airport with a bunch of other tourists who didn't think about the sabbath when scheduling their flights out of Israel. Then we arrived in Athens at 9:00 a.m
So, for the week we have been in Naxos, we have mainly strolled around town, had a lot of wine while watching sunsets, eaten great Greek food and one day we did a big hike to the top of the highest mountain, Mt. Zas. (3,400 feet). The hike was 5 hours round trip and the views from the top were 360 degrees from one end of the island to the other, with about 10 other islands in the distance. Fantastic!
Naxos has been a perfect "vacation within a vacation." It sounds bad but we were getting tired of traveling and seeing sites all the time. We needed time to chill out without being hassled to buy stuff. It's nice to walk down village lanes and eat at restaurants with menu prices and go into shops and buy a candy bar without negotiating. How do we say this...it is nice to be at peace. If we compare Wadi Musa in Jordan (the town next to Petra) with Naxos, there is no comparison except they are about the same size and are built on hillsides and have a lot of tourists. You would think that is a lot of similarities but the towns could not be more different. Wadi Musa is dirty, has broken side walks, zero charming shops, very few cafes, and the shop owners could care less about your business
So after 7 days in Naxos, we have decided to take a little jaunt to the island of Santorini. It's supposed to be very posh and we really didn't have a big desire to go there but some people at our pension took a short trip there and said there is a new active volcano, which we really want to see. So we are off to Santorini for a few days...more later.
Shari & Bob