And, let the indulgence-begging begin!
With most spare minutes spent fretting over the continuing conspicuous lack of visas for either of us (with an occasional box-packing thrown in here and there - we leave Austin on Sunday!!!!) the blog has seen a definite lack of attention.
So, here are a few pictures of Naxos, with a little exposition thrown in just for kix.
While we had a lovely time exploring the areas of Hora (Naxos' main town, remember) that could be easily explored by foot, we thought it might be fun to convince some unsuspecting Greeks that they should lend us a l'il scooter to allow us to cover a little more territory.
I will say, Husbear can really drive a scooter - once he gets started. We only came within mere inches of hitting one parked car, so no harm done...
Hora, being so small, takes about thirty seconds to clear - and soon you're in the stunning interior of the largest island in the Cyclades. Naxos grows a lot of crops, and they're rightly proud of their vegetables.
Having the scooter (nicknamed Dionysus rather early on, given that the island was his adopted home) allowed us to see the restored temple of Demeter, just south of the town of Ano Sangri.
This temple's history is actually pretty interesting - in the 6th century BCE, a temple to Demeter was erected on the site; then, in the 6th century CE, that temple was torn down and its building materials were used to construct a church, which later fell over and sank into the swamp. A few years ago, it was discovered that all of the original materials were actually on the site, so serious reconstruction began.
The site was really interesting, but it was definitely time to go learn more about kitron, the drink of Naxos.
It's made from the leaves of the citron tree! (Otherwise known as the etrog.)
We soon found ourselves feeling hungry, so we pointed trusty Dionysus in the direction of Apiranthos, a town in Naxos' interior made of marble.
To me, marble gives off such a coolness - it immediately refreshed me after the morning on the bike.
We had the loveliest Greek salad
and strolled back to the scooter to go north.
Just a little ways outside of Apiranthos, we stumbled upon a small church held up with twine.
For some reason, we weren't allowed into the church, but there was a beautiful cemetary behind the building. I'm always drawn to cemetaries, for some reason, and this one was particularly interesting - each grave had a glass box at the top, inside which were relics, reminders of the deceased. Most held iconography, pictures of the dearly departed, and some dried flowers, though a few had more unorthodox items - cigarettes, ouzo, playing cards, etc.
Back to Dionysus - who, remarkably, had not been stolen.
Of course we both wore helmets; we're always on the forefront of fashion!
Thus ensued a long and extremely bumpy ride on a road probably not rated for about-town scooters; in actuality, I think the road had been all but washed out by recent rains. The ride popped us out on the north side of the island, so we could see the kouros near Apollon. This one is unfinished, jutting out of the island's weathered marble as if to say, "Please sit on me and take a picture. Or even two."
And my turn (though I just wanted to hang out near him)
It was getting on towards time for us to return our little scooter, so we wrestled Dionysus back onto the road, only to stop two minutes later for...
How cool is that! Mountain goats! Or just goats. On a hill. Whatever, I was impressed.
Back to Hora, where we said goodbye to our trusty steed and went back to the hotel to wash up. This is when I discovered that I actually managed to sunburn the backs of my arms. Way to go, me.
For our last night on the island before reaching Athens, and thence home, we just had to go back to Lucullus.
First, we showed off our sexy tans at a table in the middle of the street. Many Naxian restaurants had tables like this, set up on streets that really seemed too tiny to accomodate such a use.
We ordered a tasty spread, trying for ourselves the island's vegetarian bounty.
Dolmathes (grape leaves, these stuffed with rice and seasonings and served with tzatziki), a yogurt and dill soup, an olive spread for our bread, the best fried peppers EVER (ohmygawd these were so good!) and more of their delicious eggplant dip with pomegranate seeds. Perfect after a day of driving around, open to the elements, in the searing heat.
So, next time... when I can hopefully steal the computer and hide in a corner... Athens. I run into a friend I hadn't seen in ten years, the Parthenon, the Plaka, some crazy guy advocates elephant suffrage, and we sadly head back to real life.
We arrive in Firenze two weeks from Monday! (wow. wow. There is SO MUCH to DO.)