12 June 2012

Agia Anna Beach, Naxos

The ferry ride was an experience. The dock was a buzz of activity: loading cars, mopeds, containers, trucks laden with goods. The ferry itself was larger and nicer than I expected. It had a section of seats not unlike an airplane, but with much more legroom and more comfortable. It had several cafes, a bar, a convenience store, and a fast food restaurant. We went to the top of deck to enjoy the fresh air and the views offered by the Agean. All kindsof people imagineable were on board: people on vacation, people on busniness, people just going back to their normal life. Students on summer break, recent graduates touring Europe with friends, parents, children, professionals, and hippies with dreadlocks, playing guitar and smoking marijauna: it was all there.
We passed many islands far and near and watched the sunset.
After a rather uneventful five and a half hours, we arrived to the port of Naxos at 11:00pm. Ioanna from Orama Studios, picked us up right at the port as promised. Mixing English and Greek, we talked about life in Greece, life in America, educating students in foreign languages, Orthodox Christianity, and the geography of Naxos during the 7km from Naxos Town to Agia Anna, where the hotel is. She showed us the room, took us on the deck, apologized that we couldnt see the sea (because it was dark), and explained that the bells were from the sheep in the pasture. I loved it already.
Bekah and I were hungry, so we decided to walk the short distance to Agia Anna to see if a taverna was still open at midnight. As we started to walk, Ioanna picked us up and made a recommendation. Unfortunately, that was closed, but the taverna next door was open. We split a salad and homemade cheese pies. We walked home past the bells of the sheep.
 
The next morning, we awoke to a stunning view from our balcony. Beyond a few small fields and pastures was the small town of Agia Anna, and beyond that, the Agean, with Paros far in the distance.
 The hotel Orama Studios:

We ate breakfast at a taverna that offered a complimtentary umbrella/sun bed with purchase of a drink: I had a frappe, Bekah had a coffee. That woke us up for sure; Bekah's was literally as thick as mud.
We enjoyed the morning relaxing beside crystal-clear waters.



 We climbed a small rocky peninsula that jutted out into the bay with a picturesque chapel on the summit.
 For lunch, we decided to try O Patatosporos, the taverna recommended by Ioanna.

I had octopus in pasta with tomato and wine sauce, Bekah had a potato salad (with olives, capers, parsley, onions, and olive oil), and eggplant in a tomato-ouzo-feta-parsley sauce. To try to describe this culinary excellence with words would be degrading. Let me simply say it is the best food I have had in Greece. 


We spent the afternooon on the beach.
We decided that we would like to rent a moped to explore the island tomorrow. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by both moped rental stores to check on prices. Approaching the second store, I smelled church. Then I heard several Kyrie eleisons. As I approached, I saw cluster of people around a bearded man. We just happened upon the grand opening, right in the middle of the blessing. The priest blessed the holy water, sprinkled it all over the building, over all the mopeds, and on all the people. I knew where I was getting my moped tomorrow. I'm taking no chances; I'll be driving a newly-blessed moped tomorrow.
 
We cleaned up and went out for dinner. There was no discussion about which of the dozen tavernas we would visit.
  At O Patatosporos, the same friendly waiter told us the specials: catch of the day (sardines) grilled, and cuttlefish fried in its own ink. Awesome.
 We watched the sunset from the taverna.
 And stayed late over another carafe of local white wine.
 Remind me again, what's so great about Indiana?

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