I woke at 4.30am to shower and dress for my ferry voyage out to the first Greek island on my journey – Naxos. The ferry was scheduled to depart Athens at 7am, so I had a bit of time to get ready. Recalling my ferry experience from my last trip to Thailand (where rickety old barges pull up, you throw your suitcases in the centre of the barge, take a seat and a beer and hold onto the side of the boat for dear life as it flies across the ocean) I dressed accordingly in shorts and t-shirt with my hair tightly pulled back into braids so that it wouldn’t get windswept and tangled with salt water. I went downstairs for the free buffet breakfast and as the first person up, had the pleasure of the full attention of the hotel owner, who was despairing over the news headline that was dominating morning TV – that the cost of a souvalaki in Athens had risen from 3.50 euros to over 5 euros in the 4 months since February. Inflation is everywhere it seems.
I checked out and arrived at the port at 6.30am. The ferry had already arrived and was being loaded with cars and it was nothing like the ferry in my mind. This was an ultra-modern vehicle with airline style seats, a full cafeteria and even a gift shop. We boarded, I took my seat and a couple of hours later I was disembarking at the charming port of Naxos.
The waterfront reminded me a lot of Hamilton Island, with it’s lovely wooden walkway adorned with cafes and shops. The island has free public wifi all along the port so that visitors can login and find their accommodation. I got a little lost but eventually found the apartment I was staying in ‘Blue Sky Summer’ and checked in. The room was just gorgeous – modern, clean, decorated with driftwood inspired furniture, with a delightful balcony overlooking a the bougainvillea draped street and great big spa bath in one corner of the room! I could just spend the rest of my holiday right here!
I unpacked a little, gave the spa a test run and then in the late-afternoon I set out exploring the area around me. The hotel was located in between the main township and Saint George beach. There are beach clubs all the way along the beach which looked awesome, but it was the old town that I really fell in love with. Dozens and dozens of higgledy piggledy little shops, bars and restaurants lining twisting, turning alleyways and staircases, all winding their way up to Naxos Castle and museum, which was right at the top.
It was nearing sunset and I wasn’t in the mood for a full sit down dinner so I bought a 3.50 euro souvlaki (they do still exist!) found myself a quiet spot on a rocky outcrop overlooking the port and watched the sun go down.