Monday, September 22, 2014

Naxos, Greece- Part 2

There's nothing like a day of getting lost in the nooks and crannies of tiny old towns and exploring places I could never google. The island of Naxos offers all kinds of big beautiful towns for tourists to enjoy, but one of my favorite experiences on the island was hiking from the tiny village of Halki to Filoti. The trail was barely marked so it took a couple of wrong turns and some casual encounters with hungry goats before I arrived at my destination. I unexpectedly ran into a couple of locals who invited me into their home for Greek coffee, water and travel advice which left me feeling delighted and refreshed.

To see more of Naxos, see Part 1 of the blog.

I'm not one to fawn over purchasing quirky souvenirs, but Penelope's precious shop in Halki featuring her breathtaking work. She hand weaves every cloth item in her store ranging from bags and totes to stunning runners and tablecloths. Her enthusiasm for her art was clear as she showed me how to work her loom and told stories of her grandparents and great grandparents using the same designs and patterns that she uses today.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Naxos, Greece- Part 1

After visiting Mykonos and Delos I took a boat to the island of Naxos to enjoy a more rural area of the Cyclades. Not nearly as many tourists make it to this huge island, so it provided a much more relaxed atmosphere and felt less manicured for the sake of cruise ship passengers.

Naxos boasts beautiful beaches and quaint towns as well as some gorgeous hiking opportunities. It's easy to navigate the island by bus, but make sure to ask locals about where and when to buy your ticket and catch the bus. The bus route I used sold tickets at the checkout counter of a tiny supermarket. It was an unexpected place to think of purchasing bus tickets, but it worked just fine.

With three full days to explore the island I ended up with way too many photos for one blog on Naxos! Part 1 explores the main port of Naxos and Hora, the port town where my hotel was located.

The entrance to Apollo's Temple is a popular spot for tourists. It provides an excellent view of the city and is also a pretty unique set of ruins. 

My favorite hiking experience in Naxos was climbing to the top of Mt. Zas (Zeus.) Greek Mythology tells the story of Zeus being raised in a cave on this mountain, the highest point in the Cyclades. I wish I had brought a proper flashlight to explore the enormous cave in more detail, but the light from a phone had to suffice that day. I'd never been in an underground space that large and dark before, I felt like I was in a scene from Lord of the Rings. 

There were two routes up the mountain, one being much hard than the other. Taking the easy route up the mountain and the hard route down was absolutely the best solution for me. Both routes provided stunning views and I had plenty of energy for the entire climb. Fresh water from the spring at the bottom of the mountain ended the day on a refreshing note.

The final view pictured above is of the village of Filoti, one of the adorable little towns I explore in Part 2!