Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Part 3 - Naxos

23 September - 25 September 2009

23 September 2009
We decided to leave the beautiful Mykonos today and brought two tickets to Naxos. Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture.
We brought the wrong tickets but ended up on a super fast boat and got there in half the time, which wasn’t such a bad thing. Today we managed to get accommodation for 10 euros (it was the worst place we stayed at) whilst it was still clean and fine, it was a mish and a half to lock the door with the ancient key!

As we were still close to town that avo we walked around the headland to have a look around.

Whilst Naxos wasn’t as pretty and maybe that is because it wasn’t as touristy it still had its highlights – which we see tomorrow.

24 September 2009
Today we decided to check out all the touristy things in Naxos

The Venetian Castle - Naxos town is located under the Venetian Castle built by Marco Sanudo after the fourth crusade. The Kastro was built on dense constructions of the Middle Ages. The "Barozzi" House is located at the southwestern gate of the Kastro and is still in property of the family. The Barozzis were one of the 7 families who founded Venice and were barons on Santorini. One of the houses has a nice shop "Antico Venetico" selling old dishes, furniture and textiles in the backroom, reminding the rule of the dukes. Actually, it is more or less a museum and has 4 columns of classical temples.

The castle is basically a whole bunch of buildings (mostly the brown in the photo above) and winding paths up the top of the hill. We decided to do a castle tour which included:

- The Venetian House Museum - which is a small private museum run by the decendants of the original owners.
- Taste of the traditional drink which I can't quite remember the name of

- History of the castle

- Archaeological Museum

- Byzantine Museum

After the tour we headed to The Antico Veneziano Shop which is just down the path from the Venetian House Museum. The Shop is housed in another Venetian House and is well worth a visit.

We were also told about the The Mycenaean city – which is located in the area of Grotta, in Naxos Town. Some ruins still stand, while part of the city is under water. According to recent findings, the agora of the ancient city stood in the area.

This is a little church on an island in the port of Naxos, there seemed to be some festival going on whilst we were there. --->

After the tour we headed to the gate which you can see for miles. Naxos Gate: This is all that is left of what was once to become a grand Apollon temple. The construction of the temple was started during times of prosperity around the year 530 b.c, but was never finished, and throughout the years most of the blocks of marble have been removed and used in the construction of other buildings. What is left of the temple today is only this 6 metre high frontal gate, as well as parts of the foundation wall. The idea of this gate standing like this for more than 2500 years without collapsing is incredible. Especially considering the number of powerful earthquakes that have hit the area throughout the years.

On my Greek Island Hopping book I got there was a picture of this gate on the front cover with someone standing in the doorway. The gate however was fenced off with, well, a fence that is just asking to be jumped over. When the coast was clear me and Casey jumped the fence and took our picture in the centre just like the book and quickly ran away again just in case 2009 was the year it was all going to come tumbling down! Can you imagine it – “Struck down by Ancient Ruins” “Two female tourists living in the UK were struck down my ancient ruins in Naxos Greece whilst trying to copy book cover”.

After spending the morning at the castle we decided to catch a bus to shark rock. I had been looking forward to this since I read it in my book and had the instructions on how to make it look like a shark to hand! (anyone who knows me, especially Debra, will know how excited I would get about something like this!). We jumped off the bus and walked towards shark rock, as we walked up the hill I was starting to get excited and then Casey yelled “there it is” I took one look to my right and then started power walking away. “What are you doing?” yelled Casey. “OMG did you not see that man, that was all I saw, I didn’t even see the bloody rock”. “No” she says and has a look again. Ewe ewe w ewe ew was all we could say and quickly walked away. OMG what a freak, lets get out of here and come back later and hopefully he has gone. Now you are probably all wondering what we saw, lets just say … this man must get excited by rocks that look like sharks and wondering tourists. So we walked down the other side of the hill, down the board walk and stumbled upon a nudist beach, eyes down we kept walking and then I saw somebody on top of the sand dunes, naked and staring right at us. OMG I say, what kinda place is this, just a free for all to pleasure yourself. Ewe w ewew ewwe ewe. So we kept walking and after about 30 minutes decided to brave it and walk back to take a very far away picture with super zoom, of shark rock. The boardwalk was clear, phew and we got to the top of shark rock hill. We made it and creepy man wasn’t there, snap, snap, snap and then suddenly from behind the rock creepy man pops out. "Run!" I yell he was coming towards us and because I had sneakers on I just bolted through the bushes, once I stopped I thought crap where is Casey? Some friend I am, just running and leaving her behind. Fortunately she made it down again and we power walked back to the bus stop to get out of this creepy place!

25 September 2009
Today Casey decided to do a bus tour of the island whilst I decided to go to the beach for a tan. Unfortunately the weather wasn't that flash hot so just had a few quick dips and had an afternoon nap.

For dinner we headed to Susanna’s an Italian Restaurant that had amazing mussels and homemade wine. We walked home and then settled in with the ipod speakers and some drinks to get ready to go out. Being a Friday night and being in the know (ie. Don’t go out until midnight) we were ready for a good night. So we walked into town at 12ish and looked for the hot spots. Hmmm, there was music blasting but no many people, so we walked up and down the main street for a bit, hmm no one, ok lets just sit down and have a few strawberry frozen daiquiris and hang out and wait for a bit at 1.30am we were like, what this sucks, lets go home to bed. I am not sure where you are supposed to go there but it was pretty dumb!

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