Sunday, 18 May 2008

Naxos 13-16 May 2008

''Little Venice' in Mykonos. The waves lap at your feet as you sip your ouzo!
Our jolly bakers in Mykonos. Bread and spinach pies are our staple diet, and they have to be fresh
A heartfelt thanks to Alex for recommending Pension Panos in Naxos -the best we have yet stayed in -location, facilities and huge hospitality of Yiannis and his family. Where else would you find a barrel of home-produced cool wine in reception and snacks in the afternoon, freely offered to all guests? In between attending to his Pension, Yiannis works as a rope catcher for the huge ferries in the harbour. A well remunerated job according to Yiannis, with 50 weeks a year holidays and free health care for the whole family.

Naxos and Paros, so close together and so similar in size that they are usually twinned in guide books. They are in fact very different: Paros a soft gentle landscape, whilst Naxos is a mass of steep mountains, crinkly at the tops,. Naxos town, where we stayed, is medieaval, built up the side of a hill with 13thC castle and venetian mansions at the top. Every island has an archeological museum, and will tend to have a collection from 2-3 sites, all from around the same period of time. Naxos museum is a cracker. White figurines, the tallest about a foot high, of women, circa 3000BC made of white marble and in near perfect condition. So modern in style, they might have been created by Picasso. Also pottery dating back to 1200-1100BC (Odysseus time); black slip on a pale coloured clay in a wonderful free-flowing style. Mainly of octopi, with tentacles that wave wildly around the pots. Photos not allowed, so Sabrina drew one for future reference.

We hired a little white car, sharing with two young women from Vancouver of chinese origin, taking it up into the mountains and visiting villages there which time has forgotten.. Vanvi remembered having to duck into bomb shelters when the Americans were bombing N. Vietnam, and her family were among the 'boat people', ending up in Canada. Sabrina is currently reading Jane Fonda's autobiography, so we showed her the photos of Jane in Hanoi. Was she a hippy? Sophia asked. Neither of them knew of either Jane or Henry Fonda - fame is indeed fleeting! They offered us thin wafers of seaweed and cashew nut cookies for our picnic, brought all the way from Vancouver. Naxos and Paros are both sources of pure white marble, and we saw the strange site of a mountain cut into vertically, from its pointed summit down a few hundred feet. It looked like a white city.

We decided to spend our last day in Naxos on a beach (it has only just become warm enough to make this an attractive proposition); and took the bus to Plaka, a 2km long stretch of pure yellow sand, backed with sand-dunes. It's a beach where dress is optional; so we slathered ourselves in sun tan cream and made the most of it -hardly anyone else there. So, will post a pic to make you all green with envy when we can unload some memory. Beaches draw us all like a magnet, and give credence to that lovely theory that we didn't come down from trees and make for the caves...(Desmond Morris style). No, we came down to the waters' edges and lost our fur as we waded about in the shallows, babies clinging to the remaining hair on our heads.

So now it's on to Santorini, that most unusual of Islands, where a live volcano still smoulders at its very centre. A great draw for tourists so could be expensive!

1 comment:

John Welch said...

Have been following your travels with interest - and much envy! How many more weeks envying to go? Glad you found Delos was there. In ancient times it was said to come and go - there one minute and gone the next. What about Homer? Haven't heard so much about him in your last two or three posts. When are you finally going to catch him? He's an elusive character. Some say the Homer who composed the Odyssey was a woman. . .

Best from us both, John and Amanda