Greece is the Word – Day Eleven

I feel we are staying at the perfect location. Not in the centre of Naxos city but close enough and with enough restaurants and stores to keep us fed and occupied. The rest of our party is just loving the sea which is just metres from our rooms.

Hubby and I went for an early stroll along the water. It’s so peaceful and calm at that time.

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We stopped to get some coffee and pastries.

The ordering system sometimes confuses me a bit.
In any case we got a spinach pie and what we thought was a sausage and cheese pie. When we bit into it, we realised the “sausage” was a hot dog type sausage.
It was still ok, just not what we were expecting.

After checkout we headed into Naxos. We were wanting to see the older part of the city and of course, Apollo’s temple which are doorlike ruins of an ancient temple standing on a scenic point looking over the city and sea.
Here are a few pics I took on the way to and at the Temple ruins.

 

 

 

It was a very warm day and the walk up to the top of the older part/castle was challenging at times but it was really interesting to see the white buildings and the stairs going up and up and up, draped by colourful bougainvillea.

 


View from the top was breathtaking

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We started to wonder about the population here and if most of the homes are holiday homes or if there is a resident population. It would be interesting to see what it’s like in the off season.

We haven’t had pizza since we’ve been here and today was as good a day as any. I really enjoyed what we had. It was pretty cheesy!! But apparently it was not “Greek” style. We’ve got that to look forward to yet..

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Before we got back on the ferry for Athens, we stocked up on snacks like the smart people do. Next time we’ll try to remember to bring a deck of cards too!! It’s a long trip back. I was eating some of the spanokopita we’d bought, mostly out of boredom, and said to hubby “eat some too!” and he replied “why? because if I don’t eat it now there won’t be any left for me?”
He knows me well.

Oh, and both on this trip, and the trip over, I was surprised to find children begging on the boat. How do they even get on there? Do adults sneak them on to do the begging? Has someone bought them a ticket so they can beg? It’s sad to see and hard to resist. That’s probably why they do it. Who can say no to a kid saying “do you have any money so I can have something to eat?” or something similar.

The bathrooms on the ferry had an sea view by the way! I was going to take a photo but unfortunately, I fell asleep and by the time I went back there, it was already dark.

I was dreading this long trip back but actually it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sleeping through most of it probably helped.
Sadly, our time is almost to an end here in this gorgeous historical country but there may be a surprise coming up…. stay tuned!

Greece is the Word – Day Ten

It was so good to sleep-in this morning. Sleeping in for us is waking up at 7am.
It makes me feel so much better.

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Hubby and I have a room to ourselves so we got up and had a coffee and some breakfast on our balcony.

This room is advertised with a “sea view” so, here it is. (left)

Not what we expected either but our room is nice and the owners here are so accommodating. In any case, we’re only spending the one night here, tonight we will be in a different location on Naxos.

Most of our party wanted beach, swimming and relaxing today. Hubby and I aren’t really the relaxing by the beach type so we left them to enjoy the sun and headed into the town of Naxos. I don’t know if I could ever get used to these small streets and the way these people drive!

We stopped at a couple of stores to get some supplies and the workers are always so nice and wanting to chat if they’re able. There really is such a relaxed atmosphere on this island.

We went for a walk along the coast before driving into Naxos itself. It’s pretty warm here!

We then drove into Naxos and found this cute little place for lunch.

We wanted something authentic however were told that some things on the menu weren’t available. This included the spanokopita which is what we wanted to order.
The waiter then recommended the club sandwich. Not authentic at all but it was pretty huge, tasty and filling. Everything on there was seasoned so nice!
We also got a Greek Salad and this is the first time since we’ve been here that a Greek salad has come with the block of feta already broken up.

The salad also had a lot of seasoning. It was so delicious!

I love that often, when I ask a server a question like “Do you have bathrooms here” or, “May we have some water for the table” the answer isn’t just “yes” it’s “of course”. I’ve heard that so many times.

After lunch hubby and I walked down to the water and checked out some of the shops. There are so many tourists here!! And gorgeous views wherever you look. I think we walked through an older part of Naxos on the way there.

After a couple of hours we headed back. We were a bit excited because we’ve changed hotel rooms and our new location is in a fantastic area. Lots of restaurants and beaches full of people and umbrellas.

Hubby and I walked around and I snapped some photos. We stopped for a drink and watched the rest of the world go by. Very relaxing!

And I’m sure you’ll agree that the view from this room is way better than our last place!
“Sea View” or not!

Oh, and when we got into our new hotel room, we noticed there was only a sheet on the bed – no cover. So I went down to the desk and asked if we could have a cover. She looked at me as if I’d asked the most ridiculous question. “But it’s hot” she said.
We left with mo cover.
I’m going to trust her judgement.

The sun was just starting to set as we began thinking about dinner.

Our group went back into Naxos for dinner and we were just checking out different restaurants along the port area. As we were going past one, an older woman came out and said “just look at the menu, just look” It was such low pressure we had to look right?

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And as we were looking she was telling us the history of the restaurant and a bit about their menu. She then said she’d just made a fresh batch of moussaka and I know I said I was all moussaka’d out but I just HAD to have some after I heard her talking about it! She said it would be the best moussaka we’ve ever had and you now what, she was right!
It was so creamy and so full of flavour. Hubby said the only thing wrong with it was that there wasn’t enough of it in the plate! haha. It really was so good.

So interesting to walk along the coast watching people enjoying this place.
I’m going to be so sorry to leave tomorrow.

 

Greece is the Word – Day Nine

4.10am is way too early to get up if you’ve only gone to bed at 12.30am. We are certainly living every minute while away.

Last night, time just flew by as we caught up and laughed with new friends and relatives.

The early start was due to having to be at Pireaus by 5.45 am, to catch the 6.45am ferry to Naxos.
Luckily, we had picked up the tickets yesterday as it was just a mass of confusion when we got there. It wasn’t clear where we had to go. We were almost going onto one ferry when told no that was the wrong one. The guy pointed in the direction we had to go but there were so many ferries there and it’s just not marked. We had no idea! there didn’t seem to be any clear lines either.
This is Greece.

 

When we did finally get the car on, there was a guy there telling us how to back into the spot he wanted us to be in. “left, left, Pull left, LEFT!!! Go, Go, Right, Pull right, Left, left LEFT LEFT, STOPPP.
By this time it was only the driver in the car and it was just too funny to watch it happening from our vantage point. And by the way, the driver did NOT need instructions as to how to back into a spot!

The ferry is a lot bigger than I imagined. I took a photo of a few others that were around. Ours looked a  lot like these (below)

I also took a lot of pictures while we were waiting to leave and along the way. The journey was six hours with a stop in Paros but it was so peaceful and relaxing!

 


The next lot of photos were as we were pulling into Paros, and a few more on the way to Naxos.

 

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Soon we were in Naxos. Just breathtaking!! I can’t wait to explore this town!

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First stop was the supermarket to stock up on supplies. Ooo, look what I found!

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Unfortunately the label was turned away but both of those bottles are huge bottles of wine!

After the supermarket it was time to unwind at the hotel.

We found ourselves once again going the wrong way on a one way street but by now, it doesn’t even bother me.

Somehow it all works out. Most of the drivers are so helpful also, the way they roll their windows down and make sure you’re aware you’re going the wrong way but pointing in the opposite direction.
The only law is that there is no law.

It took a bit of driving on gravel roads to get to the place we’re staying at on Naxos. It’s about 20-25 minutes out of the main town.
It seemed a bit barren getting out there but the beach is pretty nice and the rooms themselves are pretty good!

 


We got changed and headed for the beach. Such a perfect beach with few people there as it’s a bit off the beaten track.

 

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We were told there was a track going down to the beach from our rooms but hubby and I tried to find it and had no luck.

The first road we went down ended up being part of someone’s property.

The second one (left) we went down became so overgrown that it would have been impossible to get through.

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In the end hubby and I decided to just get there via road. The rest of our party were already there so we just kept walking via the only route we knew.

We stopped and had a glass of rose’.

Oh I should mention that every time I’ve ordered wine here, they’ve brought it out in these type of glasses.

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It just doesn’t always feel like I’m drinking wine but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

Instead of going into Naxos we had dinner locally.

The sun was almost down and this was such a gorgeous setting.


The food was pretty good. A few things were different (for me)

We started with salads again. Seems to be a staple. I then chose the omelet with potato.
I’m not sure what you’re thinking when I write that but I’ll tell you what I got.
Here’s my dinner.

I expected omelet with bits of soft potato through it but what was through it were french fries. If you look closely at the picture on the right (near the top) you’ll see one coming through the egg.
Did I like it? I’m still thinking about it.

Hubby and I walked home. I was a little nervous as it was dark and there aren’t many lights. Not nervous for any potential crime, but for those cars that come racing around corners, not expecting to see a couple of tourists walking late at night.
We are not in a populated area.

Finally it was time to sleep. Maybe tomorrow morning will be the day we finally sleep in.

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Greece is the Word – Day Seven

Every evening I tell myself “I’m going to sleep in tomorrow” yet every morning I’m up as soon as the sun starts to come up. I can’t help it. I can hear movement outside, I knew the day is fresh and new and I just want to be a part of it.

It is no different here in Nafpaktos. We’re so close to the water we can smell that salty air and it’s so enticing.

We walked straight to the waters edge and continued along the coast to the area where the restaurants face the water. Even though it was early there were still people in the water or enjoying a cup of coffee at the tables.

I took a photo of the pebbles we were walking on. It looks so pretty and is so different to anything we have in Australia.

IMG_6751As part of our walk, we discovered this cute little bakery that made the BEST spanokopita.

That spinach filling was just so full of flavour and cheesy creamy. It was just delicious. We tried to go back for me to take on our journey today but she’d sold out. I almost cried real tears.

We took our spanokopita back to the beach area and found a bench to sit on while we waited for the rest of our group. As we sat there, a couple of cats started to gather round. Normally, when you’re at the beach with food it’s seagulls that start to circle you! Here it’s cats.

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And if you’re wondering, yes we did share with them. When they meow so tragically you IMG_6759really have no choice!

After a Greek Coffee or two, we did a bit of last minute Nafpaktos Tourist shopping before heading up to the castle once again. This time it was open!

It’s such an interesting place.
There’s tons of information on the internet if you’re interested but for us it was just something to think about the people who had walked the same steps we had walked in history. Thinking about when this was a working castle and the jobs people were doing.
There are also amazing views of the coast from up there and yes, it does seem as high up as it looks!


We left Nafpaktos and headed for a village where there was more family waiting to see us. The drive was going to take us through windy hilly roads again. I’m not a fan.

It’s gorgeous scenery though and the hills and mountains are dotted with wind turbines.
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It’s also not uncommon to be stopped by cattle… This happened to us more than once on our journey today!


We didn’t get to the mountain village until well after 4pm. Hubby hadn’t met his relatives before and it was all very special and emotional. We don’t speak Greek and only one of their party spoke English so the translating took a little while but it didn’t matter. It was lovely to spend the time together.
I took some photos from their balcony as the views they have are just breath taking.


They wanted us to share a meal with them so we stayed and talked about old times while eating what they had prepared. Most of what we were having had been grown on their land/property. Even the goat (I’m almost sad to say? Just quietly, it was soooo tasty!)

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This is by no means everything but there was Greek salad with home produce (the tomatoes were just so sweet!) potatoes, zucchini and feta cheese made from the milk of their own goats.

Everything was just too delicious! I ate way more than I should have just because I needed to taste more!

You may also notice the wine on the table, that was made by them as well.

Time was really moving on now and we were conscious of the long drive back to Athens, but they asked us if we wanted to see their farm. They had to go there to feed the animals.
How could we say no?

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We drove down a treacherous dirt path to get to it. I don’t know how these people use these roads every day…

Everything we saw at the farm was interesting and new.
From the goats to the cows with their baby calf.

We watched the cows feeding. I tried to take some photos but they moved back as we got close.

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Unfortunately hubby is allergic so we had to go and wait in the car but the kids in our group were able to watch the goats being milked and had a go at doing it themselves too! Now that’s an experience they wouldn’t get at school.

Again, the views from the farm are just breathtaking. I seem to be saying that a lot!


Everything took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t get back to their house until well after 10.30pm. They begged for us to stay rather than drive back down that awful road with minimum light but we just wanted our own beds and clean clothes so we left.

We didn’t get back to Athens until after 2.30am.

For the record, I have had my life time share of treacherous road driving.

And now, it’s definitely time for bed.
Kalinychta until tomorrow when hopefully, I will be sleeping in…

Greece is the Word – Day Four

This morning we woke up to cloudy skies and a wet ground but it was still fairly warm.
The plan was to drive along the coast to Sounio, and to see The Temple of Poseidon while we were there.

There are lots of beggars trying to get money from motorists by either selling something, offering to “wash” your windscreen, or simply by holding out a cup.
Here was one guy (above)  we encountered who was washing windscreens.
It’s a sad situation. There are so many that do it though so you’d have to think there are people that give them money? Otherwise why would they persist?

It was a beautiful drive down the coast.
There does seem to be a lot of graffiti about, no matter what part of the city we are in.

The weather cleared as we neared The Temple of Poseidon and it was even a little humid as we walked around there.
The Temple of Poseidon was rebuilt in 440BC. It’s just amazing to think this structure has been here for so many years!!

Here are a few photos we took of the Temple and views of the surrounding area.


That bird in the last picture is a “rock partridge”. At least, that’s what one of the guides told us! Noisy little things they are! The guide also said they’re considered the guardians of the Temple.

After an hour or so there we headed back towards an area just outside of Sounio where there were a whole lot of restaurants along the waterfront. The views were just gorgeous. This is Greece to me! Enjoying a beautiful meal, by the clear blue water with good company. It was such a lovely atmosphere.

As there were a few restaurants, we walked past quite a few but not before checking out their menu. We wanted to be sure we ate at the right place!
The owners would come out and try to entice us to come in. When we said we were just thinking about which one to go to, and they saw us leave, they actually got quite pushy and aggressive with one guy actually “suggesting” we move our cars (They were parked on the road almost in front of his restaurant.)

One person in our group has a severe seafood allergy so when we picked a place we thought we would eat at, we informed the server and explained that whatever was eaten could not even be cooked in the same oil that any seafood was cooked in.
He assured us that it was fine and that we had nothing to worry about. “You have nothing to fear” he stated.
Hubby, who was still looking over his shoulder at the owner from the last place we checked out whispered under his breath “the only thing we have to fear are the other owners if they see we’ve come in here”

Here are a few pics from inside the restaurant, and the water that we could see from our table. How clear and pristine is that!!


Oh and I should add that I tried to order moussaka again as I wanted to compare it to the other one I had here but guess what… although it was on the menu, it wasn’t available as they were still preparing it and it was going to take another 45 minutes!!! I swear this Moussaka curse is never going to be lifted!!

I ordered a bean dish instead and it was just so delicious!! Every dish I’ve had so far since we’ve been here has had so much oil! That has surprised me a bit. Maybe it just has to do with the food I’m ordering.

After lunch we stopped by a beach and enjoyed the sunshine. Such a picturesque little spot.

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We wanted to do a bit of shopping so we stopped at a mall  in the afternoon.

It was so like home that we almost forgot we were in Greece!!

So many familiar name brands wherever we looked…
Of course, that all changed when we went outside and tried to cross the road. Crazy drivers everywhere.

IMG_6397I had a double Greek coffee while I was there. I can say I’m a fan!

Our plan for dinner was to go back to Glifada seeing as we’re so close and it’s so beautiful there. I won’t post anymore pictures of it. It will only make you jealous!

I will share some pics of a 24 hour bakery we visited down there. I would have taken more but we were told “no pictures, it’s the policy” so I had to put my camera away

Hungry yet?

I’ll sleep tonight and dream of dodging traffic and going the wrong way on one way streets.

It’s all Greek to me!!