Friday, 9 May 2014

Naxos & Mykonos, Greece

White buildings, aqua blue water, green mountains, pink wildflowers, red wine!! What a colourful country we are in!We really loved Santorini for its unique black and red beaches, it's authentic bakery, it's vast scenery and it's stunning views of the Mediterranean. the adventure continues, and we must trek on...

Since then, we have explored Naxos and Mykonos via rental cars.

Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and has beautiful mountains that make you forget your on an Greek Island. It is fertile land, producing olives, grapes, figs, citrus fruit, corn and potatoes- says our Lonely planet. However, we did see evidence of the crops and tasted the olives (stinky and yucky!) and the grapes (delicious dry red wine!)..

Arriving into the port of Naxos was exciting because it would be our second Greek island and we had a lovely ferry ride over. Also, Ashton had prearranged for our "studio" owners to pick us up from the port as free pick up was listed on the website. We had read reviews where the owners had forgotten or decided not to pick up their guests.. Soo we were a little skeptical on how everything would turn out.
To our surprise the very first person we saw at the port was holding a paper sign above his head that read  ZUNTI Ashton!!..Omg how awesome!,!

We have always wanted to be greeted with our name on a sign! And to be scooped up and treated like celebrities! Haha ... Our name was on a sign!! For us! We had our own sign!! It would have been slightly more amazing had it said "Chelsey" and Ashton ZUNTI! ..but it's a start!

Sidebar!.. Last time our name was on a sign when mom and Kristen greeted us at the Saskatoon Airport after our Philippines trip. .. Something about seeing your name on a sign at the airport is just so nice! Warms me up inside! Hah a if you ever want to make me smile, greet me at the airport with my name on it. The proper spelling is C-H-E-L-S-E-Y!!,'s 'Y!' Not 'A'

Anyways we were shuttled to our studio room 20 minutes out of town. Very nice room with our own balcony, fridge, kettle and tv. Close walking proximity to the beach and a beautiful view of the mountains and the sea.

 A lot of accommodations are called studios because they are like mini apartment rooms. Typically they are family run and the owners live right on site, with 10 or so rooms. We were the only guests! So we had the best room with the fabulous view. The husband and wife owners were in their 60s and very friendly. The man picked us up from the Port but spoke little to no English, so he frequently just waved at us or attempted to speak broken English. The wife was sweet! She made sure we had new towels every days, and cleaned our room and changed the bedding. Even though we insisted that she didn't have to! (Since we are very clean people and make our bed every morning)..the first morning she brought us a plate of pastries, tea bags and two coloured eggs?! ..left over from Easter with her grand kids? Hah a.. Regardless it was sweet of her.

We rented a tiny car for three days and took off to explore!

Our pictures tell the best stories...

Beautiful isolated, long stretch of beach with aqua water just tempted us to go in. But it's still a little chilly for that.. So we had to enjoy from the sand.

Driving through the mountains was gorgeous....We stopped several times to breathe in the beauty and take pictures. (Both mental snapshots and camera photos)

 We stopped at villages along the way, and had a pit stop at the local distillery where we sampled a local liqueur...

Took in historic ruins ...

 Found our own stretch of paved highway through the mountains, and like shown above, enjoyed the scenery!

As well as stopped for goats!

 Goats on the road!.. Hehe
We also spent time roaming the narrow windy, cobbled streets of Hora (the port town) and eating Gyros!
A Gyro is a pita filled with shaved pork, taziki sauce, onion, tomato, and fries. Chelseys favourite meal. They area filling, fast and cheap. (2 € to 2.5€..about $3 each). They go really nicely with a jug of red or a Greek salad.

  The promenade of Hora is lined with restaurants and shops which cateer to tourists. We generally stay away from eating at these restaurants as they are overpriced, not authentic and filled with chain smoking tourists.

With that being said, we do enjoy picking up treats and strolling along taking it all in.
We found ourselves on the harbour watching the big digger equipment, and looking into the lives of the sailboat families. Everyone seemed to be sitting on their outdoor table enjoying supper and drinks while watching the sunset...or the digger... Since it was in perfect blocking view oft he sun! Haha...

                                                     Christmas in May?? Beer can style!
That about wraps up Naxo! It was a slice!

Mykonos!... One of the most talked about touristy islands of Greece. Researching online everyone raved about Mykonos and how it's a must see... We can understand why. Mykonos offers several beautiful beaches and is quite a trendy little Island, with brand name stores everywhere and clubs rockin all night long. Unfortunately this hasn't been our favourite Island since the wind has been so extreme that being outside isn't very pleasant. (The locals are also surprised about the nasty wind.) and the scenery doesn't compare to the last two islands. ..aaandd now that we're married, we don't go clubbin! LOL.. Wish my girl friends were here to dance all night long.

A half hour ferry to this Island cost as much as our 7 hour ferry??... Cheapest accommodation is $39/night for a basic room with no balcony..a car rental is $45/day, about $15 more per day than other islands... A Greek salad has been $7, here it's $15...a rum and coke is $15 !
So overall, a very expensive island.

Greece has been the first country we have been to where quads are street legal. We have only driven scooters and cars on our travels, so a quad would be a nice change. Where else can you tear around on roads on a quad??? We (Ashton) have been excited for this opportunity. The first 2 islands were too big for renting a quad. It would have been a long tiring day sitting on a quad. it was Much more comfortable in a car. Mykonos is the perfect size and conditions to bomb around on a quad. The distances from places are short and the roads are narrow and windy. But the days we have been here have been far too windy to rent a quad and enjoy it. I could barely shut the door of the car because of the wind. So we opted for a car again. We passed a few quads on our war and seeing people bundled up in jackets, pants, scarves and wind whipped didn't look like our idea of spending a couple days. The roads/driving here hasn't been as nice as the other 2 islands. The roads were too rough and bumpy to enjoy in a car. Ashton always had to pullover for other cars or trucks. Oh well, better than being cold and wind whipped or trying to use the public bus to get around.

Like I said, the beaches on Mykonos are quite nice... There is a beach for all goers, families, naturists, nudists!! Hah a...
Ashton(secretly me too) were eager to go the beach known for nudists... He he.. But sadly only one lady was exposed..

Because this is the party island, we decided to checkout the nightlife..and went out Dancing one night...after the bar we noticed that the souvenir and clothing shops were still open . Apparently they stay open until 2 or 3 am..

 A couple local people have told us that they live on the mainland, aka, Athens. And they come to the islands to work during the summer months (May to October). 99% of jobs are part of the tourism industry. After 6 months of work, locals retreat back to Athens to survive off their tourism money. Each one we've talked to said the youth unemployment rate is super high and that they become jobless for the winter. Some look for work, some travel, but most just hang around and await the summer season.

pretty sad to have such a high unemployment rate... Tourism makes up such a large part of their economy. Each summer, Greece expects about 15 million tourists to pass through!!! Which is an incredible amount, especially when the Greek population is only 10 million!

This blog is getting long! Hope your still reading!

Q: What do you buy when your hungry and have only 3€ Left in your pocket?....
A: two ice cream cones and a jar of pickles !

 Today we are taking a Super fast ferry from Mykonos to Crete! Hope the wind has subsided, or it'll be four hours of roughness!

Cathchya later gator!

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