I was aware that we had to get up very early and consequently I had a restless night and woke prematurely sometime before the alarm because it was on my mind that we had to catch the seven thirty ferry to Naxos.
It was still dark when I got up first at about six o’clock and then used my banging about and switching the lights on technique to wake the girls. Not very sophisticated I have to concede but it worked well enough. Packing a rucksack is quite straightforward and the girls had already perfected the back-packers art of cramming without folding so it didn’t take long to get ready.
The hotel staff arranged a taxi for us to the port of Piraeus and the driver took us straight to the ship. The Blue Star ferry was much bigger that I had imagined it would be and we made directly for the top deck and found ourselves a nice seat next to a young German couple.
The ferry left precisely on time and cast off was accompanied by the sun rising majestically over the city. Unfortunately as we left port it disappeared on the other side of the boat! Being some time since I was in the Boy Scouts and not having a compass with me I had misjudged our position and direction of travel and set us down on the western side of the deck. It was a bit chilly in the shade and we had to wait about two hours before the ferry and the sun synchronised their position in our favour and we were able to fully enjoy the warm rays of the morning sun.
It was a good journey and the German couple were very entertaining. They were on their way to Santorini and had arrived the night before on a flight from Hamburg and had spent the night drinking in a bar in Piraeus, they hadn’t slept a wink and were in a very bad mood with each other. We couldn’t understand German of course but there is an international language of grumpiness and we could comprehend that well enough. We had a good rambling gossip about them and then later realised that they could speak excellent English (doh!).
It took about five and a half hours to sail the one hundred and three nautical miles to Naxos including a brief stop off in Paros and it was a good journey except that there wasn’t any Mythos in the bar. On the plus side Sally didn’t get bored at all which sort of surprised us all! I struggled with sudoku and the girls plotted alternative routes around the islands using the island hopping guide.
Being on the top deck of the ferry had kept us quite cool but when we arrived in Naxos it was one o’clock and really very hot with mid-afternoon pizza oven temperatures. We got off and ran the gauntlet of the frantically animated Greek apartment owners all imploring us to choose their accommodation. The associated chaos was not dissimilar to a French bus queue and I’m not sure which part of ‘no thank you’ they didn’t fully understand but it was an entertaining passage from harbour to town nonetheless and we knew that we would have to go through the whole experience whenever we got off of a ferry again for the entire holiday.
The sun was strong and we walked into town and using tablecloths as a primary selection criteria choose a taverna with green check and I ordered a Mythos! To my complete surprise Sally and Charlotte choose a Greek salad so just to be different I had a Naxion salad instead. I don’t think I will be having another one! It wasn’t inedible, it was just smothered in a sort of cottage cheese, which was a bit sticky and there was an awful lot of it! I had to have another Mythos to wash it down!
We decided that it was time to find our accommodation so we looked for a taxi to take us there. We found one without any difficulty at all and after loading our backpacks in the boot I jumped into the passenger seat and burnt my bum on the red-hot vinyl that had been baking in the hot sun all morning. Sizzle, sizzle no warning or anything! I felt like a griddled steak and I noticed that the driver’s seat had a towel strategically draped across the seat to offer protection but there was nothing for the passengers.
It was just a ten-minute ride to our hotel, the Agios Prokopios, which turned out to be really good. Nice people and a very good room with balconies front and back so that we could get both the morning and the afternoon sun. We quickly unpacked (well not so much unpacked but threw our bags untidily on the floor) and went to the pool where we chilled out for a while.
Only a short while because after Sally had got bored (only a matter of about five minutes or so) we walked down to the beach, which was close by and we paddled both ways along the waters edge. We sauntered back to the hotel and found a convenient little supermarket selling cheap Mythos and I bought some supplies. Back at the hotel the girls sat around the pool and I sat on the rear balcony enjoying a beer and reading Bill Bryson and later I found some neighbours to chat to.
We chilled out for the rest of the day and practiced doing nothing until the sun went down and it was time to go out to eat.
In the evening it was back to the seafront and we found a taverna with tables on the beach, rather like Shirley Valentine. I had a chicken souvlaki and the girls probably had a Greek salad but I can’t really remember because it had been a very long day and the alcohol was beginning to kick in.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and I had a very early night due to the consumption of six Mythos (give or take). It had been a very good day but sitting on the terrace knowing that my bed was on the other side of the wall and only about four feet away was too much and I made my excuses, retired and crashed out!