27.05.2011 - 27.05.2011 22 °C
The day started off well. We knew well enough to bring a towel to dry off a wet seat, our rain coats to keep us dry AND our bathing suits for potential tanning. We also brought water and two maps. See, we learn from our mistakes. We went to a place with a sign outside that said “1 euro all coffees” We ordered two coffees (instant of course) and planned our attack. When we left to pay the owner charged us 3 euros. We weren’t in the mood for any confrontation so we paid and left. I guess maybe there was fine print in greek that said “50% surcharge for tourists.” We headed north out of town. Up into the hills.
It was a long drive, steep inclines and declines, sharp corners and magnificent views. I felt safe on the ATV though, because I knew Shane would be more careful driving it than he would be in a car. We stopped once for gas and another time at the Church of Drosiani, which I read about once we got home. It’s a very old church with frescos on the ceiling dating back from the 3rd and 4th centuries. In any other country there would have been signs telling the history, and a guide to show you along, but nothing of the sort in Greece, it seems to be commonplace to have ridiculously old buildings all around. The church was a popular place, with locals walking the paths up and down to Moni, a tiny little town built into the hillside. From the look of it there couldn’t have been more than 100 people living there. There were geckos galore (Shane was in heaven) and the wildflowers were in full bloom (they are everywhere, the colours are amazing all over the landscape) and the olive grove was very pretty.
Olive trees and wildflowers in a multitude of colours are in abundance all over Greece. We’ve learned what an olive tree looks like from sight. There are these yellow bushes that prosper in the landscape here, you’ll see them covering everything. It just so happens that they smell A-MAZ-ING! You could say the scent we associate with Greece is the smell of these flowers, they perfumed our drive. We headed from the interior towards the town of Apollon on the Northeastern coast, but along the way we passed Sifnos(?) where for a brief moment I could see both sides of the island, from ocean to ocean, at once.
We stopped at Apollon for a much needed break and some lunch. We wandered the very small town for a few minutes, opting for a restaurant away from the super touristy ones along the water. It still was by the water, but we were the only patrons. I ordered a salt cod dish that came with a garlic sauce. Garlic sauce that was very strong and SOOOO good! We asked him what it was. Minced garlic, fresh bread soaked in water, garlic vinegar, olive oil and salt. We will be making this for sure! When Shane ordered the sausage dish the guy said to us “it’s going to be a while, I have to make it” Of course this made us very excited. A few minutes later we saw an old lady, she must have been in her late 70s or early 80s come downstairs, walk into the restaurant and put on an apron. The waiter (owner) fired up the grill. The older woman took off her apron and went back upstairs. The waiter brought out our meal. The sausage was even better than the day before! We left nice and full, with enough garlic on our breaths to slay a vampire.
We took the coastal road towards Hora (where we are staying) stopping once at Ayia Tower, where my best research can only tell me was a bombed out tower from the war. And once again when we spotted a large amount of beehives, obviously making the amazing Naxos honey.
When we got back into town we stopped at a grocery store where I bought some honey (in a tin so it can’t break) and continued along to Plaka beach from some sun tanning. The sun stayed out for all of 25 minutes before the clouds rolled in and the temperature plummeted. We gave up and rolled home. After showers to get rid of all the sand (it was windy on the beach) we drove the ATV back to the shop and walked to dinner. We ate at the same grill house as last night and had an even better dinner, if that was possible! A roasted chicken, those amazing roasted Naxos potatoes, greek salad, and a soft salty cheese I don’t know the name of. The place has only a Greek name from the outside, but in the letters that look closest in English I see, XAEANOTABEPNA. You (when you go) need to look for the letters in the Greek equivalent.
We walked home and packed, preparing for the day to come.