Noteable Naxos

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A smaller island in comparison to restaurants, hotel choices and shopping of other Greek islands but is however the largest Cycladic island in size.  Naxos is known not only for the production of potatoes, Gruyere (Graviera) cheese and an aperitif called Kitron but for the archeological structure of Apollo’s Temple entrance (Portara). 

Portara Naxos

Adventuring away from the coastal towns one will be pleasantly impressed with a couple of the quant villages found in the mountains.  There you can expect to eat quality foods, especially the meat and cheese dishes.  Don’t be surprised to find Italian eateries and wine bars in some populated as well as isolated places.  Naxos was inhabited by the Venetians in the early 1200’s  The town castle, architecture and various dishes have a touch of Italia.

A half an hour away from the main town is a small elevated village called Apeiranthos.  This quaint town was once inhabited by Cretans who had been expelled from Crete for their acts of crime or because they weren’t conforming to the island’s ways.  They were in a way rejected and found a home in this mountainous place.  Very few of the original Cretans still remain however it is still possible to see one of the last black clad mustached gentlemen walking the streets. The Greek language here can include a mixture of Cretan dialect.   This is also the hometown of one of Greece’s most famous politicians, Manolis Glezos.  (Mr. Glezos along with Apostolos Santas took down the German swastika flag from the Acropolis on May 30, 1941.)  The Apeiranthos people were very good at crafts and cultural as they didn’t have other means for making a living.  Also unlike other villages, due to a lack of income, they weren’t able to renovate or build new houses which has actually been a gift to its keeping history in the buildings that have stayed beautiful and unchanged.

Apeiranthos

One of the best kept secrets, is the beautiful town of Chalkis.  This was the first capital of the island and definitely has cultural and style  The village continues today to organize special events revolving around small musical performances..  The night I visited the locals were watching a silent movie on the side of the wall next to a church in what looked like an alley way.   I felt something emotional as I watched them watching the silent movie.  It felt as if I had been transported back into time.  This village often has musicals and theatrical plays under the stars and moon.  The food was delicious at Yianni’s taverna and afterwards we found ourselves buying fresh jam made from peaches, grapes, and figs. 

Naxos Taverna

A distillery for Kitron production and a unique art gallery kept our attention as we walked around looking for more unique things that this village had to offer.  The little town was full of stone buildings decorated with an abundance of colorful bouganvillas!

Naxos Chalkis

Chalkis Naxos

I heard plenty of French and Italian; I guess the English speaking countries have yet to discover the charms of Naxos.  I hope to visit this memorable island again one day.  I will miss Naxos but did leave with about 7 kilos (15 pounds) of Gruyere cheese, 2 bottles of Kitron aperitif (which I was sold on after being notified that it will help in digestion..) and fresh baked bread, and will now have something to look forward to after the ferry boat ride back home!

Gruyere Cheese Naxos

Naxos Cheese Gruyere

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