Thursday, November 9, 2017

Greece through the Eyes of the Best Post Five

Naxos Island
First let me apologize for any confusion on the previous post.  The activity was squashing grapes not olives.  Olives do not come into season until about now or a little later, and that would be nearly 6 weeks since we were in Naxos.  I changed the Youtube an will also change edit the post.

This was our last day on Naxos and since we had only a little more than a half day, we decided to take it easy and visit with Nic and Sylvie as much as sight-see.  Theoretically, this should have been a "chill" day with the high speed ferry taking us to Athens.  As always there are ends to the story.

We had a nice breakfast at Nic and Sylvie's flat and picked up all our things from the other guest house. A Fond farewell to the beauty of the little houses and the beach.

We then went round the island to see the Statue of Kouros Apollonas and the Aqueduct.  We said goodbye to Sylvie's daughter Sophie and visited with her kitties before we drove to the town of Apollonas.

We had been told about Costa's bees, a topic in which Quail was very eager to discuss when he and Pat were there and we were told that there were only a certain number of gallons that you could get from the bees, but that they had very good honey.  I can attest that it was good.  This is a not so good photo of the beehives.

Apparently the statue(s) below were considered to be of Apollo, but because of the beard on him, he now is believed to be Dionysus.  He is one of 3 in Naxos but the biggest.  It was remarkable that he was just sort of lying there with other rubble.

The arms of these Kouros' were always carved with their arms at their sides.  They were huge.
The climb in and out down a nice tree-lined path
We walked from the Kouros to the old Aqueduct.  This really was amazing.  I hope that you can read the description about it.  The reason that Naxos was a developed island was because of the water.  And the reason for the water availability was that the springs at the top of the mountains were corralled by the Aqueduct which wove all around the island up hills and down and north to south east to west.  It is an incredibly complex work of art.
The explanation of the Ancient Aqueduct
Aqueduct itself
I have a hard time thinking of crawling in there to do any repairs but apparently people did.
Direction of the Aqueduct
So, after we left this remarkable area, we wended our way down to the harbor and walked around there for a while thinking that our fast ferry would come.  Remember what I said about the ferry?  This was the actual day when Nic said it, "Oh there is your ferry coming" and we were just sitting around enjoying the day having a bite of lunch.  We still did not have a clue that Pat and Quail's disaster would soon be linked with ours.
The old Gate of Apollo

A more modern marble sculpture of Ariadne on the way to the Palatia

Venetian Palace in center of town
Both Nic and Sylvie had promised that the ferries are never late, yet ours seemed to be very late.  We watched as one Blue Star came in and left and then when the next one came, we asked where it was going and was told Crete.  It was at that point that Sylvie and John went to the Ferry ticket office and came back with the bad news.  Of course Nic had been right for both days.  Pat and Quail got on the Ferry to Crete because the Ferry to Athens had left at least 3 hours earlier.  Our only choice was to wait until 6pm and get the slower Blue Star back to Athens.  The Blue Star was packed with people.  No one would offer you a seat, people were smoking outside and our arrival time in Athens was about 1am.  Sylvie had kindly offered to call their regular taxi driver and she set us up with him to pick us up.  I'm not sure when I have been so tired as this day.  We finally got seats and managed to stay awake, have a very good bite to eat and a cold beer, and finally get off the ferry, be joyous that Demetrius was indeed there to pick us up and very happy to take us to the hotel even though it was nearly an hour drive from the dock.  Live and learn.  Always check your ticket before being stranded on an island, even if it is a beautiful one!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Greece through the Eyes of the Best Post Four

A Huge Day in Naxos

Hope you enjoy this video of a man squashing grapes undoubtedly for wine.  These would not be the best probably, but it was fascinating watching him.

On this Day, Pat and Quail were leaving but not before a beautiful drive from one side of Naxos to the other, a visit to a lovely village with lots of history, a visit to the Church in Which Terrie and Greg Emmanuel were married and Nikoli Christened.  At the end of the day a farewell to Pat and Quail who did not know the disaster/comedy that would occur as they left Naxos.

I am at a loss to know exactly how to strip the pictures from this beautiful packed day.  We left as early as possible in order to drop the rental car off and voyage on to see a few churches and to village of Apiranthos and to the Monastery of Fotodotis and then to take Pat and Quail to the Ferry.
Sign for Naxos Town

 Sylvie dropping rental car off

Sweet Downtown view

Narrow streets of Naxos
I want to be clear in this blog (all of them in Naxos) that the roads everywhere are very narrow, and my devotion to Sylvie and her daughter only grew as they dived down little side streets, unpaved, barely graveled, sometimes opening goat gates to go through and always dodging other cars, most of which were small but occasionally huge lorries with insane amounts of "stuff" on the top.  I was blown away by their skill set!

We next went to pick Sophia up and while she was getting ready, I admired her view.  I took a video of one of her cats stretching and slowly moving to a new sitting place but better sense of others had me delete this video. I do feel sad that there electric wires everywhere on the island and many lovely shots are sort of destroyed by them.  But here you see both the division of property with the stone wall and just the spectacular view from their porch.  This family are hard workers making both wine and olive oil, and fishing and helping with EMT support for our brand of "safari holiday makers" gone wrong (deep sea diving without proper knowledge).  So something is always going on with them, and they are amazing.  But back to the day.

We first went to a lovely old church with the best frescoes we had seen.  I believe it was St. Isadore.
old old frescoes

destroyed and refurbished frescoes

Love the tinkly bells addition
We drove on from this church through the mountains.  We had spectacular views.  We were headed for Apiranthous which is on the other side of the city.
The marble mine

Definitely the Marble Quarry--can you see sparkles of crystal

Rock formations

beautiful drives

oops stopping, is everything ok?
We were on our way to Apiranthos Village--meaning "Plenty of Flowers".  It certainly did, and it certainly had a huge history.  Apparently the people here are very different from those on the rest of the island.  They were largely Athenian but had strong bonds that resisted the outside. This village was one of my favorite stopping places.
This monument about struggle and strife gives us entrance 
We missed a few of tourist buses for which I am grateful.  This tiny village would be inundated before the day was done.
This is the site of the Old Fort with the new wall 
The old Fort protected the village for many years but finally there was much bloodshed.  But the people of the village have maintained their old ways as much as possible, have established museums to the old ways and archeological finds that are just incredible.

Museum of Archeological finding
We spent a very long time in the Archeological museum and found that the Museum of Fine arts was a gallery with paintings for sale.

Two favorite pot pictures

Lots of gifts bought here!

View of the mountains

Lots more gifts bought here

More favorite pots

Proof Picture that Quail, Pat and Sophia are actually there.  Me, too

We left the village of Apiranthos with some sadness.  We had coffee in one of the tiny houses and thought about beer but it was early.  Our last vision was of Quail singing to Juliet on this little picture.
Quail and his soliloquy
As we gathered outside the village, we saw a really awesome windmill except that it cannot generate wind anymore...
The old windmill open
The old windmill closed
One of the places that I really wanted to go for personal reasons was the Monastery of Fotodotis where my friends Greg and Terrie (and the son and daughter-in-law) of our friends Sylive and Nic were married and their son was christened.  I had heard hysterical stories of their marriage from Terrie, but I had no idea how all of that fit together.  Sophia and Sylvie were happy to show us, and wow, I understand why Terrie hunted this place out and why her hysterical runs to the villages to get materials for the reception etc, were so difficult.  Obviously, it must have been quite an experience, but the place was magical.
mts to sea from the opposite side of Naxos

Favorite view picture from near the Monastery-Church
Curvy Roads!!!! Get to the Monastery alive

Goats on the curvy road!
The walk to the Monastery
Thinking about this beautiful place
When we got down to the edge of the entrance to the Monastery, Sophia lifted the goat fence and we walked under and down to the monastery.  No way to describe it.
The Bell at the Monastery

Come on in!

In we go

Entrance to the Monastery

The Monastery of Fotodotis
 After we left the Monastery (we could not get inside unfortunately) but it was time to get to Naxos town and deliver Pat and Quail to the ferry.

So, I don't know how to describe the next issues.  Pat and I had looked on line (in fairness to the ferry department) and the ferry time was totally different than the ticket time that we had personally bought and checked several times.  We had not received any notification of change of times.  We assumed that our ticket times were right.  But, sadly, Pat and Quail got on the ferry headed for Crete and that would be several hours the wrong directions from Athens.  She WhatsApp'd me and we went through all the possible scenarios to get them to their plane the next day.  Sylie knew that the slow ferry would be coming through and recommended that they take it.  And suggested that they get a room. This was a good plan.  The last note we got from them was a picture of them having wine and dinner in their "stateroom" as they were going to be all night on the ferry getting back to Greece.
They look so happy despite the horror of the day.

For us it was one more night and a morning and day with Nic and Sylvie.  So there we were. Delicious dinner at Faros, and sunset in our flat on Naxos.

Good night for now