Saturday, May 17, 2008

naxos in my heart

i'm writing in the middle of a midnight cornflake snack, disorientated back here in smelly Athens after a fantastic five night break on Naxos, where i strolled on long deserted beaches, ate delicous food and sat chatting to the locals until 2 am in Naxos world music cafe. Its wonderful to be so close to the sea, with so few cars around. There is an odd sense of desertion and evacuation there too, a little sad that the islands were emptied of there populations in the 60's, when people went to Athens for work. The few young adults that remain for the year seem a little lonely and bored. I'm all for decentralizing public authorities and the like, to re-populate the islands.

Long walks on the beach, good food, good boyfriend was even offered a few jobs in an excessive display of hospitality, and a few raki's with honey, the latter he accepted willingly of course.

If you are going to Naxos then I would love to suggest some hotels, restaurants, bars etc. Particularly as I was so disappointed by the lonely planet Greece guide and the rough guide to Greece. In the end we just have to write it ourselves don't we?

We stayed in the Apollon hotel---and i had a few problems with it although it wasn't bad at all. the hotel was empty, given its low season, and we stayed a full five nights, so a discount would have been fair, but we were unfortunately charged the full 50 euros a night, which is high for this season. The toilet didn't have ventilation, which is unbelievable to me.
Glaros hotel on Saint George's beach would have been better, we went to see it, and it was prettier with a nice owner and better location, and windows in the toilet. Cheaper option - Mike's studios has been recommended to me but we didn't go take a look. In August if you stay on Saint George's beach the raucous partying might play on your nerves. But in May the beach was quiet.

Restaurants were so plentiful it was hard to choose, but by far the best was The Good Heart (the sign is written in English too) on the waterfront Paralia. We ate roasts, roast lamb, pork and chicken, although they do a lot else. The family who ran it were so kind, and at about 11.00 they all sit down to a huge meal at the restaurant.

For souvlaki and fast food Kozi was really great, so much better value for money than in our neighbourhood Athens joints. We had the best pizza in Greece at Suzanna pizzeria.

Bars --- don't miss Elia (the olive tree) and Naxos Cafe both in the old town, the owners have rebelled against trendy radio hits, and the atmosphere is really intimate and nice.

There was one sore point though - the enormous mobile phone mast on OTE's building in the centre of town, with a hotel at the same level as the mast, bedroom windows only a few meters from it. Apart from an eyesore, the health effects of such masts are questionable. It is really irresponsible of Naxos to allow this in such a busy area. While i'm on the subject i must say that the masts are noticeably larger and more frequent in Greece than Sweden.


FOB said...

Hi! I'm writing poetry for a Major Work in English, based on city life. I was wondering if I could draw inspiration from your blog.
Thanks in advance.

Boris said...

Hi Gill

Boris here from LSE. Just came across your blog (Tom found it somehow). Hope things are well.
I am going to Athens and the islands in September with g/friend so your thoughts are quite useful. Let me know if you want to meet up whilst we are in Athens.