I boarded the ferry with my three best friends; our anticipation was not lessened due to the early hour of the morning. We were ready for a Spring Break adventure!
Our first stop was Naxos; we had planned our spring break to the Greek island of Naxos for two reasons. First, Naxos is not as dependent on tourism as the other islands, so our expenses would be more manageable and it would not be over crowded. Second, it has a wide variety of things to do ranging from archaeological sites to beaches to mountain climbing and in the summer water sports. The second destination was the small island of Amorgos. We choose Amorgos for its beauty that was unlike any other island and it complete independence of tourism. It has a few sights but is more a destination for rich Europeans to have their summer houses and was the location of the filming of the 1980’s The Big Blue.
Before docking at Naxos’s port, the first image that greeted us was the beautiful remains of the Temple to Apollo. Six hours after boarding the ferry we stepped ashore and were warmly greeted by Pension Sofia’s management. We crammed into the van with another group of Greek girls, like clowns in a Volks Wagon, and were brought to the pension.
Our room was still being cleaned when we arrived. But we were generously offered homemade wine and finger snacks by the owner to fill the short amount of time until the room was ready for us. Little did we know this time spent with Papa, as he was called, would be a prominent part of our trip. At every opportunity, he would call us into reception and offer homemade wine, raki, olives, cheese or fruit from his farm.
Walking into the room was like walking into a postcard. The periwinkle, pale yellow, light and dark blue color scheme complemented the fuchsia flowers that clung to the balcony. After many conjectures on the beauty of the room, we changed and went to explore the town.
The sun was beginning to descend towards the sea as we ascended the small, daisy covered hill to the Temple to Apollo. It is three blocks of white marble that perfectly frames the sky. We progressed through the boardwalk, scoping out the perfect tavern for dinner. While walking on the board walk, to the left are small alleys that lead to the old castro and to the right is port. We moseyed up an alley, and around a couple of corners and up a staircase, and then we were struck with the view of the sun setting over the ocean. The pinkness of the sky was a perfect backdrop for the white and blue Cycladic architecture.
The next two days were spent touring the island in a little Kia. We visited both of the kouros that had been left behind. The giant statues had been hidden from time and tyranny on the island. On the way to Halki we stopped to pay homage to Zeus at the cave where he first received his insignia, thunderbolts, from an eagle. Then we toured the Citron distillery, tastes the three kinds of Citron and a flavored Raki (a traditional hard Greek liqueur). Next we made offerings of wild flowers to Demeter, at her shinning temple on a hill of landscaped and wild flowers in the center of the island. Of course, throughout the two days we stopped at nearly every church and picturesque view.
Sunday in Greece is free museum day. We spent the morning discussing Cycladic funerary figures at the Archaeological Museum. Then admired the Catholic Church in the main square of the old castro. We descended to port where the Minoan ruins were uncovered. The afternoon was spent at the beach, relaxing on the white sand, wading in the shallow waters and walking along the shore.
Our final day was spent shopping along the boardwalk and at the beach. We stumbled upon a small glassware shop on the first night while exploring the town. We returned and were gratified for returning. The small shop was full of handmade glass wear, all unique. Again the afternoon was spent relaxing on the white sand beach. Then we set off to Amorgos.
Our ferry arrived at 1 AM on Tuesday. Again we were picked up by the Pension owner, and taken to our room, passing out as soon as we got there. The next morning we opened the curtains and stepped out on the balcony to embrace the beauty. Even though prepared, I was still taken back by the sight, mountains in the background with a turquoise lagoon in the foreground, with wild flowers and buzzing bees inbetween.
We made our way across the island via taxi; the buses were not working since it was “Great Tuesday” (the Tuesday before Easter). We arrived about a half hour later slightly green because of the 100 kilometer per hour around hairpin turns. We settled into Pension Amorgos and then hit the beach.
Lunch at the beach Greek style is a great way to relax, and that is exactly what we did. After buying a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, some cheese and olives we scoped out the beach. We found a sunny place on the deserted beach. We stuck the wine in the shoreline, to keep cool and began munching on bread, cheese and olives. After lying out for a while, we fetched the wine. It was then that we realized we had no tool to open the bottle. Luckily, there was bamboo lying near us, and it fit the mouth of the bottle perfectly. We looked like three cave women trying to open a bottle of wine with bamboo, one holding the bottle, one pushing the bamboo down and one directing the bamboo, our fourth just sat laughing.
The next day, we went hiking in search of the Minoan ruins. The guide book said 30 minutes from town, but after hiking for a little over an hour we hitch hiked the rest of the way up. The man, who gave us the ride, just happened to be the only American on the island. He told us about how he came to live on Amorgos and a little about the island. When he dropped us off my camera fell out of my pocket without notice. When we were walking up the hill, and saw the sight I reached for my camera, which was in my back pocket … no camera. Uh-oh. I frantically traced my steps back down the hill, no camera. It had fallen out in the van. We continued to look around the sight, on our way back to town we saw the white van come back. Not only did I get my camera back but we got a ride back to town.
Our last morning was spent at the port waiting for the ferry. We boarded and said good bye to beautiful Amorgos. We were heading back to school, back to our apartment in Athens.
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