Naxos – the nourishing island

Five Star Greece still on the road – May 24th  

We just made our ferry to Naxos – we left the bashed-up car at the Paros car rental with an airy “Magna Travel will pick up the bill” (This is why we love Nasos and Co.) and boarded the “Aeolos Kenteris,” named after the Greek Olympic athlete who lost his medal after being caught using steroids. That’s how fast the boat is.

A South African couple were too late getting off the boat in Paros and found themselves willy- nilly on their way to Naxos. They were clearly going to lose the screaming match they started with the crew, so we stepped in, soothed hurt Greek feelings and comforted the South Africans, and arranged for them to be met on Naxos by someone with tickets for the next boat back to Paros. All in a day’s service.

The owner of Naxos 1M scooped us up in his jeep; a very distinguished-looking gentleman with a twinkle in his eye, a bouzouki in the boot of his jeep,  and a hoard of stories about his misspent youth, who took us for lunch in Filotis,  half way up Naxos’ mountain which lies half an hour’s drive from his house, and  is his nearest village. The Naxiotes, apart from the women having been the wet-nurses of choice to the upper classes in times gone by,  have their own herds and flocks, make their own wine, cheese, grow their own fruit and vegetables, and are scornful about the muck that they say is eaten by the rest of Greece. A nourishing island.  We ate tender little broad beans stewed with dill and lemon, tasting like artichoke hearts, washed down with just a little amber-coloured wine made by the taverna owner and finished with apple slices dusted with cinammon.

 A majestic drive down to the southern end of Naxos, to Kalado where the house is, across the mountains

and through herds of sheep and goats, with little hilltop chapels dotting the landscape.

Down at the sea again, the jeep was put into  4 wheel drive, the twinkle in Mr Naxos 1M’s eye became a manic gleam, and we hurtled across a marsh, along the beach, up a little cliff and around sheer rock, till we ground to a halt by his gate.

“There is a perfectly good road” he said, “But this is more fun, isn’t it.”

The house is adorable, a cosy and stylish nest with dreamy views across to the islands of the Lesser Cyclades (Schinoussa,  Koufonissia, Irakleia) and a beach below. A place to detox and relax and fill your eyes with beauty.

Leave the teenagers behind though as the nearest bar or shop is back in Filotis.  Unless you call the water taxi or Kaiki fishing boat to take you across to Schinoussa island, in which case the nearest shop is only 10 minutes away. The little marina near the house has a small taverna with a grill, and mooring for a speedboat that guests here can hire to make the most of the location in the middle of the Lesser Cycladic archipelago.

For popping down to the shops

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