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Sunset on Naxos
Our last night on Naxos, we stayed out on the beach until the last possible moment, wanting to savor every little bit of it. We were rewarded with a killer sunset!
Chris in his element.

Goodbye Naxos! Perhaps we’ll be back someday!

 

Chillin’ in Naxos
I think if we were planning this trip all over again, in hindsight we would have been sorely tempted to just stay on Naxos the entire week. I can totally see now why, when others talk about Greek island hopping, they plan for months at a time and some never leave. It doesn't get much better than breakfast alfresco next to the bright blue Meditteranean Sea with nowhere to go but the beach!
 
A few observations about Naxos:
  • We picked Naxos after researching the Cyclades Islands because it claimed to be the most lush of all of them. I think in this case “lush” is relative.
  • The farther you get from the main touristy spots the more naked people get. The Naxians sure like to feel the breeze around their nethers…that's all I have to say.
  • There isn't a lot to do on Naxos besides relax and eat good food. There are a few ruins, but they are far inland and from the postcards we saw they didn't seem worth visiting. Shopping is limited, and there isn't much in the way of snorkling, diving, or other water sports. It's really great in that way though because you really can just sit and relax without feeling like you are missing out on something exciting elsewhere. A perfect place for me and Chris! I can actually chill without getting antsy about seizing the day and seeing it all, and Chris actually gets to relax without me pretending to relax, but really just dragging him off the beach on on to some adventure elsewhere :)
  • Be prepared to drink A LOT of bottled water. While the tap water is technically potable, it tastes pretty bad. And that's coming from a girl who grew up on Vegas tapwater!
  • There were definite perks to going during the off-season. We basically had the hotel and beach to ourselves. The restaurants weren't crowded. Everything was just chill. The one downside is a lot of the menu items weren't available. The theme of the trip became, “We no have.” The food they did have though… delicious!
 
 

 

The Journey to Naxos

Last year on our cruise with TCSE we spent a port day in Athens, and we weren't too sold on it truth be told. So when Chris and Michi invited us to meet up with them in Greece as part of their grand Euro-tour we knew we didn't want to spend an entire week in the city.

Besides, everyone's primary reason for wanting to go to Greece was BEACHES, which are few and far between in land-locked Athens. So after meeting up with Chris and Michi in the capital, we hopped a ferry and skipped off to the Cyclades Islands!

Ha-ha. Skipped. We actually RAN our butts off to the islands because we all forgot to set our clocks an hour ahead and woke up with JUST enough time to run like crazy people (with the baby stroller flying and the baby's cheeks jiggling like Jell-O) through the streets of Piraeus. But by some incredible blessing from on high we made it, catching the ferry as it was practically leaving the port!

Luckily, the rest of the 5-hour ferry ride to Naxos was more or less uneventful. For us childless-folk at least. The baby threw up all over a sweet Greek lady and Michi had to deal with it in pantomime because the woman spoke only Greek. The lady was as kind and smiley as could be though while she wiped baby barf off of her shoes. The perils of new-motherhood are universal :)
All of the craziness of the morning and ferry ride was IMMEDIATELY forgotten when we pulled into Naxos harbor.
I mean…. is this real life??
 
Naxos was gorgeous!! We were back to skipping again as we set off to find our hotel. Our crazy journey to our Grecian beach paradise was not over yet, though! We figured out the bus system and caught the right bus, but for some reason it only got us part of the way around the island to our hotel. We had to walk about 30 minutes the rest of the way, dragging our luggage and the baby stroller in the open sunshine through hot sand.
 
But you know, despite the hot sun and the need to dodge the plethora of scooter-flattened lizards dotting the road… it really is tough to be upset about the whole thing when you have the gorgeous, sparkling Meditteranean Sea blowing breezes at you :)
We also saw lots of butts a long the way. Lots and lots of butts of aaaallll shapes and sizes.
And again, when we finally got to our hotel, it was all worth it! We were staying at The Marine Dream, which is a tiny little guesthouse practically right on the beach and totally secluded. Maria, the owner, came outside to greet us as soon as we walked up the path (doesn't that only happen in movies??) and showed us to our own private section of the guesthouse.
Casa Hoeger/Hill
 
And did we mention it was practically on the beach? Cuz it was.
Chris and I couldn't wait! We dropped our stuff on our bed, left the Hoegers to put the baby down for a nap, and were immediately flying back out the door to go enjoy us some Meditterannean Sea! Not 5 minutes out though, and we were both limping back to shore. I tripped on a submerged rock and skinned my knee something fierce and Chris stepped on a nasty critter that left thick black spines embedded in his foot.

At the risk of sounding horribly cheesey, despite our absolutely crazy day with all the things that seemed to go wrong, it was actually a really good day! I don't remember feeling upset or frustrated once. It was all one grand adventure.

And besides, picking spines out of my husband's foot as we sat on our private balony with great friends and a cute baby while listening to the ocean waves was definitely not a bad way to end our first day in Greece :)

 

The Nitty Gritty Stuff, in case anybody wants to know:

  • Getting from Athens to Naxos was 100 times easier than we expected. We were picturing a big complicated mess trying to find the port and the right ferry, but the green metro line takes you directly to the Naxos ferry port from downtown Athens. It couldn't have been simpler! You can buy your tickets right there in front of the ferry and just get right on. Definitely get there early though if you want the best cheap seats. By the time we got to the port all of the economy tickets were sold out so we had to pay an extra 10 euro for the “airplane seats.” They weren't a bad option and were actually a comfortable way to spend the 5-hour trip, but if you get there early enough you can score some great economy deck seats and save 10 euro, while getting to enjoy the view.
  • The Marine Dream was a fantastic hotel just south of Plaka and only cost $30 usd per night! For a private room with a balcony and sea view it really doesn't get much better! It was clean and airy and so secluded that the stars at night were incredible! However, while the seclusion and privacy was awesome, it was a 30 minute walk to the closest restaurant or market and further to the main parts of town. With a baby in the hot sun that was unfortunate at times. If it were only Chris and I, we probably would have opted to rent a scooter to get around the island.
  • I highly advocate travelling to Greece in September. It was the off-season, so everything was cheaper and there were NO crowds! Plus, the weather was hot and sunny, without being so hot you wanted to die.

Lastly, for want of recording this memory and not being able to find anywhere else to place it, I'm writing it down here:

Within an hour of stepping off the plane in Athens, Chris gave accurate directions to another tourist who couldn't figure out the metro system. He is a man of many talents :)

 

There’s that time in 2013 we went to Greece…

Holy cow! Is it REALLY 2014 already?

Yet again, I find myself desperately catching up on the blog from last year in order to start the new year fresh and ready to keep up with the new things happening. I realized recently that last January I was blogging about our big “summer” trip we took in September and strangely enough, this year is no different. We also took our big trip of the year in September this year and here I am writing about it in January again. At least I’m consistent :)

I have seriously had the worst case of writer’s block lately. I’ve literally been staring at a blank blog page for almost 2 months now with a completely empty brain. As soon as I open the blog to begin a post, all known language drains out of my head and I’m left slowly drooling on the keyboard until Chris comes along and snaps me out it so we can eat dinner.

I think part of it stems from the fact I had really high hopes for this series of posts on Greece. While we were there I filled pages and pages of notes and observations in the hopes that I could turn them into flowing posts of beautiful, yet hilarious prose perfectly preserving the memories of that trip forever. Now, after spending too many hours disinfecting drooled-on keyboards, I think it’s finally time to admit defeat and just write the darn things.

Writer’s block: 1 Chelsea: 0

So here we go:

This one time back in September we met up with Chris&Michi&Baby in Greece after their 2-week sojourn in Germany. Islands were hopped, beaches were relaxed upon, ruins were explored, and tzatziki was consumed in large quanities. And hey! Look! So far no drool. Opa!

 

Swedish Sea Day

One day after the temple, we tagged along with some of the ward families for a quick evening at the beach. Somehow they convinced us “wimpy Americans” to jump into the nippy Baltic water. I'm still not quite sure how that happened….

He's single, ladies. And he'll need lots of encouraging letters on his mission in the next year or so ;)

Pondering the leap…
It was pretty chilly… but I either got used to it, or just went numb because eventually it felt refreshing!
The Norwegian kids didn't even flinch!
Love this guy :)