Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Between - Naxos

Naxos was new to me, unfamiliar, uncharted... It's one of those islands that is less travelled to in the Cyclades even though its on the main ferry hub. It's a big island too, the biggest of the Cyclades. It had one of the most charming main port towns that I've been to. Sure, there are plenty of things to lure you in right off the ferry, but beyond it there is so much more. The food was spectacular. No kidding. For a place that already relies on fresh food, we ate like kings here. Long stretches of sandy beaches and a curving coast line of lesser explored coves. Ancient temples and Venetian castles. The Venetian influence on Naxos town was quite stunning. In September, on this island, felt...quiet. But it was still warm enough to swim, windy though it may be at times. We rented a car and toured the island, stumbling upon tiny old untouched towns, potter's hamlets, winding vistas, goats, abandoned giant kouros, and the sea, of course. It was a special island, one I would explore more deeply given the chance. We stayed at theAlkyoni Beach Hotel which has lush grounds (for the Cyclades), and is right on the beach (a plus in the off season) and close to town. While Naxos doesn't hold the magic for me of Santorini, or the peace and untouched feeling of Sifnos, it was still a wonderful time. One evening, in particular stands out. Listening to traditional Bouzuki music in the castle, sampling local wines and raki. The sound of the sea in the distance, while the music and dance filled us. It was one of those pure moments, the kind you can never capture and never need to.

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