Today is one of those days of travel that becomes a good “story” later on. In the moment(s) though, it is often frustrating, tiring, and throwing kids’ feelings into the mix is just icing on the cake.
I’ll tell our time in Naxos a bit in reverse. To be honest, Naxos wasn’t going to get its own post because it’s been so chill and not very busy, I didn’t think there was much to say. Until now. I write this from the floor of a “premium” cabin on an overcrowded ferry to Santorini. This is not to say anything negative about Naxos. In fact, I think it is well worth visiting, and I would absolutely go back. Just bear with me.
Our day started with Josh waking up just after midnight with food poisoning. I’m pretty sure it will be years before he orders lobster gnocchi again. Poor guy. I feel really terrible for him. He’s a trooper though.
We knew today would be windy. We’d heard about catamaran cruises being canceled for a few days (we were lucky to go on ours on Sunday…more on that later), but we didn’t realize how much it would affect the ferry routes. Seems like these boats push through anything! Anyway. We checked out of our villa, Josh seeming to be on a path of feeling better and get to the port. While there, our Greek representative of our travel agency notified us that our ferry would be delayed from 10:25 to 2:05. Damn. We had all our luggage and kids and there is not much but a little cafe with some drinks by the port. We shrugged our shoulders and walked the short distance back toward Naxos town where luckily we found a luggage storage business right on the main road. 12 euros for 3 hours. We’ll take it!
With our large bags put away we decided to walk over to the Temple of Apollo. We’d read about it and seen it from afar many times. It is super simple, no museum around it, just some ropes around the grounds to try to preserve the small bit of it left. This was a quick 15 minute walk around so we then challenged the kids up some super tiny winding streets to find an old church/castle/tower on top of a hill overlooking the town.
This was also a nice walk. Seeing a part of the old town we had definitely not explored… all of us felt some gratitude for this extra time. Even if mine/Josh’s gratitude was a little stronger 😉. We even passed this sign in a store that I feel like should be my meme for today.
At any rate, at the top of the hill we found a rooftop restaurant with brunch food and thought the boys could use a break. Josh still wasn’t ready to eat much but the boys took down these Nutella pancakes that might be the best pancakes I have ever tasted.
The views here are gorgeous and the building itself used to be part of a monastery. Some of the tiled floors were hundreds of years old. We felt refreshed and ready to take on the day! We retrieved our things from storage and made our way back to the port a bit early for our 2:05 ferry.
The messages kept coming in from our poor planner who was glued to the updated schedules and keeping us posted. “It will be at least 2:30,” he said. Caleb and I decided to go for a walk back to the Temple of Apollo and got back around 2:30, just as a message came in that it would now be 3:30. At this point the boys were ready to mutiny and Josh’s energy was failing. We decided to leave the cafe spot where we’d been sitting and find the kids some ice cream. Sometimes you just have to keep shoveling in the treats to keep everyone happy, right? (And if you disagree more power to ya).
We lugged ALL the things to a restaurant that was basically back to the Temple of Apollo. This is across a parking lot, over cobblestones, and a sea wall that took a lot of waves. Just to set the scene. It is normally a 10 minute walk but a bit longer with luggage. We shouldn’t have gone that far away but we did. We ordered ice cream and some bread for Josh and a drink for me and basically as soon as it all came to the table we needed to start heading back. We sped back (as fast as you can pulling four suitcases over cobblestone) and could see the ferry making its way to our port. Now normally I think the disembarking/embarking process is a little more organized, but I guess because of the winds we were rushed aboard, left our items below deck, and boarded a very crowded ferry. Our planner had purchased premium tix but by the time we found that cabin it was at capacity with all the passengers whose Santorini ferries had been delayed. Luckily we must’ve looked pitiful enough that one of the servers found 3 seats. I put Josh in one hoping he would sleep, the boys in the other two, and I plopped myself right on the floor. At least we were on our way, right?
Here’s how the rest of the trip went.
We stayed in Naxian Utopia Villas and Suites, which are a 10 minute walk from Agios Prokopios beach. They are nice and serene with semi private courtyards, jacuzzi tub, and a lounge pool area with beds on them with beautiful views. I felt like we were the only people there because it was so quiet, and we rarely saw anyone. They serve breakfast but do not have a restaurant per se, although they do have little kitchen areas so you can store/make other food if you want.
The day we arrived (Saturday) we checked in and then walked the 10 minutes towards the beach. The place we’d hope to find was closed, but we found a cafe, Nikos, right on the beach with big shady umbrellas and a menu that even had something the kids were interested in. This was a great, relaxing, fun couple of hours. The kids played in the water and on the beach and Josh and I just chilled the heck out.
We grocery shopped after that for something simple to make for dinner so that we didn’t have to drag the kids back out that night. It was a good call.
Sunday we had an all day catamaran cruise around the island with Naxios Yachting. We were worried the winds would cancel it but we were able to go out. It was a long but great day on the water. We made 3 stops for swimming/snorkeling. Josh was thrilled. Caleb did a lot of swimming with Josh. Mason and I found the water a little too cold and hung out mostly on the boat after our first swim.
We met a lot of cool people, some Americans and some Europeans on the boat. It was great to hear everyone’s stories and meeting a fellow “drop the normal life and travel” woman who does contract finance work for months at a time and then travels around the world.
After our cruise we did a quick wardrobe change and headed out to dinner at Antamoma Cuisine Deli Store. We had drinks upstairs, then a great dinner downstairs
We also enjoyed star gazing from the jacuzzi that night. It really was a fun day.
Monday we had planned a mosaics workshop in an old church. In my mind this was a bit of a walking tour + tiny bit of art. In reality it was a bit of art history + 3 hours of working on my own art piece 😂 If you know me, you know I have many skills. Art is not one of them. Working on this you realize how freaking painstaking these mosaics are. Much respect. Whether it’s floor, wall, smaller decorative size…it takes so much time. Amazingly we all completed our projects with only one meltdown from Mason (though I was definitely at my limit by the end).
In hindsight, I think this was a cool activity. But, I would probably change it to a hike with the family. Or make it a shorter art session with the mosaic design preplanned and kid friendly. The instructor was lovely though and very talented.
After our workshop we were in the in between lunch/dinner time. Starving but not wanting to ruin our dinner reservations so we ate light snacks back at the villa, enjoyed our last afternoon at our pool area and talked with some family back home.
If you’re doing the math you know this would be our Il-fated dinner. If it wasn’t for Josh getting sick I’d highly recommend. It is right on the beach with beautiful views and truly the food was delicious. I won’t mention the name here because I don’t want to bad mouth them, but if you’re headed to Naxos let me know. I’ll tell you where to avoid the lobster gnocchi!
Our ferry is nearing Santorini now. We are packed like masked sardines below deck to hopefully exit soon. I expect good things from here 😊