I KNOW it's been like a week (more, now) since our last post, but you're going to have to cut us a little slack - we are packing to move out of the country, after all! Husbear's parents are coming into town this weekend, and they're bringing a large vehicle equipped with an even larger trailer, so most of our house is currently missing under a giant pile of boxes and garbage bags. We did have some excitement last weekend, when someone (ahem) accidentally carried a wasp nest into the house, but since these were the wussiest wasps I've ever seen, the outcome was not nearly as horror-movie as it could have been. (Care to take a guess how many individual wasp nests were stuck to different areas of our porch? At last count, SEVEN. Anyway.)
Though we did have a rather late night prior to leaving Santorini, we were still up and out for an early morning ferry to Naxos. We strapped on our backpacks and caught a bus to Santorini's port, Athinios.
After a short wait, our ferry arrived. We boarded and waved goodbye to Santorini, one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.
(If you look closely, you can see the path people and donkeys take from the old port up to Fira.)
The ferry was actually pretty pimp, and very comfortable. We grabbed a table and an order of fries - well, we were hungry. The fries came with a tiny plastic fork. How civilized! This way, we didn't get grease and mayo and ketchup (American sauce) all over our grubby sausage-fingers.
The ferry ride was short. We stopped briefly (at Paros, maybe?) before arriving in Naxos.
We pulled into the port, right near the island's main town of Hora (Many Greek islands call their main town Hora, in fact). The approach to Naxos was not nearly as dramatic as the one to Santorini - but really, I'm not sure anything is, so you can't hold that against it.
We hopped off of the ferry and headed towards town.
Some sort of construction project, I believe - looks really similar to the signs you see by the side of the road around here, "$250 billion of your tax dollars are going to build this toll road, which we will then charge you to use."
Our hotel, Chateau Zevgoli, was really easy to find in the tangle of narrow roads making up the old town of Hora. Signs tacked to the corners of buildings pointed the way to various sights, hotels, and restaurants.
The inside of the hotel was an oasis, all cool marble and plants and sunlight. We came to find out that Naxos is positively stuffed with beautiful marble. (wait until I get to talking about Apiranthos!)
Our room was lovely and relaxing, with marble floors and a little courtyard.
After freshening up a bit, we went up to the hotel's rooftop garden to check out the view - which was spectacular. Dangit.
We could see out over the rooftops, past the portara (the only chunk remaining of a once - impressive temple to Apollo, plundered by the Venetians to build their castle atop Hora) to the sea. It was one of those moments when you think to yourself, "it is not possible for me to be standing here, seeing this."
After we shook the cognitive dissonance, we realized we were getting pretty hungry. Looking through our guidebook, we found a restaurant called Lucullus which had been open since 1908. Figuring they had to be pretty good, we wandered through the tiny streets towards the restuarant.
First, we had to run the gauntlet of touts trying to get us into their restaurants - no biggie, except this time the restaurant across from Lucullus was a little pushier than normal. While Lucullus' sign boasts that they are the oldest restaurant in the area, this restaurant had a sign emphasizing that they were the oldest family-run restaurant in town. We smelled a rivalry!
The rivalry smelled like really wonderful tasty food.
At Lucullus, the sons run the front of the house, Mom cooks in the back, and Grandma fills in. That's Grandma's home-made sheep's-milk cheese on the salad!
Lucullus had great food. We ordered a good sampling of the vegetarian choices on the menu, including the aforementioned fresh and wonderful salad, an eggplant salad (melitzanosalata) with pomegranate seeds, a lovely and comforting milk soup, skordalia (a nut/potato/garlic dip, the ingredients of which vary across the country), beet salad, bread, and wine.
As we sat, eating and oohing and aahing, suddenly we began to hear a series of worrisome noises. First, barking; then yelling and crashing. The waiters in our restaurant all ran out into the street, one of them grabbing a pizzle (a whip made from the dessicated penis of a bull, of course!) off the wall as he tore out of the building. Husbear also ran out into the street, to see what was going on - I could see him through the window, but was unable to see what was happening outside.
The yelling and clatter continued from outside - then I heard a particularly loud and resounding crash (complete with tinkling sound at the end), and Husbear turned and ran back into the restaurant. A few seconds later, one of Lucullus' waiters came back into the restaurant, holding his hand to his face - right behind him, another waiter with his hand over his nose. The restaurant's front-house manager (the son, mentioned above) walked back in and apologized to all of us, saying "But, you have to understand, they were speaking about my mother. In Greece, you do not do this!" Of course, we all nodded in quick agreement.
While outside, Husbear saw one man get thrown into the restaurant across the street, landing on a table between two very surprised diners (who were apparently not very quick on the uptake). A trio of Australians converged on the fight from three different directions, rolling up their sleeves and demanding to know if anyone needed their help. Dogs and men were tangling everywhere. I'm glad I stayed in the restaurant!
For our "trouble", everyone eating at Lucullus that night got a free glass of a dessert wine made on Naxos.
All in all - a great meal, though I can't say I recommend the floor show. (Ha. Ha. Ha.) Really, the people at Lucullus were wonderful, and anyone who talked smack about the woman making that wonderful, wonderful food definitively deserved a beatdown.
Next time: we tour the center of Hora, see lots of kitties, and check out the Portara in the fading light.