Friday, June 23, 2017

Greek Island Scooter Rally: Naxos

Island number two was Naxos.

Naxos was the largest of the three islands and provided the most roads, many through the mountains of the north half of the island.  

We arrived by ferry to the town of Naxos, where we boarded a bus to the scooter rental shop to pick up our rides for the next four days.  Sarah and I got a Kymco People GTi 300.  I liked it a lot because it looked not much different from the others while providing enough power to get two of us up the hills.

We rode those back into town where we had lunch with several others in the group.  Then the long ride along the coast to our hotel in Apollonas, the Hotel Adonis.  This place was run by a fine fellow named Stamatis, who looks after his customers for six months of the year, spending the remainder at his house in Athens.  He couldn't be nicer or more helpful to all of us.  

Upon arrival, several of the guys wanted to hit the mountain roads, so we had a quick ride up to the nearest gas station, 13 km into the hills. At the stop, we ran into the SF Scooter Girls who were returning from their lunch in Apeiranthos.  They wanted to eat at Lauren's favorite restaurant in the world, but it was closed for repairs that day.  We would return.

That night Stamatis and his family prepared dinner for all of us, dining on the large hotel porch.

The next day had us riding as a group to a beach in Panermos, far to the south end of the island.  We stopped for lunch in Apeiranthos, then Moutsouna and Apeiranthos again for breaks on the way back to the hotel.

The south end of Naxos is more like Paros, hilly with much straighter roads.

Sarah and I ate dinner by ourselves that night at Nicos, across from the hotel.

We got up the following morning for a long ride to another beach on the southwest end of the island.  This ride included a stop at the Temple of Demeter that involved some narrow goat trails to get there on Warren's route.  I bring this up because the leader takes a lot of grief on these rides.  I know because I lead a lot of club rides at home and often get complaints.  But Warren did a great job getting us around to see the island.

We had lunch at Notos Seaside Restaurant, where the service was overwhelmed, but friendly.  Poor Kristin never got her Greek Salad, but everyone shared theirs so she could eat.  The place had some wonderful fried zucchini that was shared by Patsi.

On the return, we stopped at the Olive Press Museum, where we saw how they prepared olive oil in the old days.  Sarah was purchasing some products when the group decided to leave, so we made it back to the hotel solo.  On the way we saw a herd of goats moving along the side of the road.  There must have been 25 or more, with one, we called Roland, watching over all of them from the rear. That goat was standing on a rock bleating and looking around to make sure that no goat was left behind. 

We dined again at Nicos that night with several of the others this time.

The last full day in Naxos had no planned rides, so Sarah and I decided to make a ride just for us.  We had also wanted to see Stamatis' garden near the hotel, so he gave us a tour with Ardy.  

We then headed into the mountains and through several of the mountain towns that we had passed through on the earlier rides.  These included Kinidaros, Moni and Chalkio, where we met up with many of the group at a distillery and shops.  Several of them decided to eat there, but we wanted to try Lauren's favorite restaurant and headed to Appeiranthos, where we found half of our group at Lefteris.  We were not disappointed by the fine food on the terrace.

After lunch we had heard of a cool, small beach town near the hotel called Lionis, where we were told that there were two restaurants where the owners would wave you in to enjoy their food and drinks.  Getting there involved some steep grades with hairpin turns, fun for us on the scooter.  We got down to the town and were called in just as we were told.  We ordered espresso, but there, that included Ouzo and cookies.  Lorrie and Don came by after we got started, but we waved them in as well.  When leaving the owners and staff waved us off like close relatives.  I am sure that they do that for everyone, but it is nice.

The ride back was beautiful with a low sun on the hills, making for some nice moments.

We walked into town for dinner and ate at one of the waterfront structures.  It didn't take long for maybe ten of our group to find and join us for dinner and conversation.  

Transfer day followed with us riding solo back into Naxos to return the scooters.  Sarah and I were the second to get there and had coffee in the little resort area south of town where the Moto shop was located.  The remainder of the group arrived just after I turned in our scooter and we waited for a couple of hours for the bus to take us into town to catch the ferry.

Naxos could easily be a place that deserves a return visit.

On the short ferry ride to Naxos

Our scooter for the island, a Kymco People 300 GTi.  Nice scooter.

The port town of Naxos

The scenic seaside ride to the hotel in Apollonas

A horse on the side of the road on the ride

Naxos is known for its fine roads.  It didn't disappoint.

The Hotel Adonis, our fine hotel for the stay.

The guys decided to ride up to the gas station 13 km away from town.  It was a faster than usual ride and a lot of fun.

Roland, Michelle, Warren, Me and Dan

The lighting was so good on the ride back to the hotel that I had to take loads of photos.

Our room with a balcony and a view

Dinner at the hotel, welcome to Naxos.

Nightime view of the beach at Appolonas.

Moonrise shot at Appolonas.

Ken and Diane

Riding the length of the island to the beach at Panermos.  Mountains first.

Through a few towns along the way.

Bagel, Dan, Sarah, Warren, Ken Jim, Kristin, Me, Roland, Don, Chris, Patsi, Laurence, Diane and Lynn at a stop along the way/

Mountain roads

Church on a mountain top.

Ken, Diane and Sarah at Apeiranthos for lunch

View from our restaurant

Back on the road

The mountains turned into hills the further south we rode.

The water was blue

The harbor at the beach

The beach

Riding back to the hotel.  It was around 50 km each way.

Another stop in Apeiranthos

More mountain roads between Apeiranthos and Apollonas

Starting day two at the hotel, for a ride to the Temple of Demeter and lunch at Notos Seaside Restaurant.

Bagel, Sarah and Patsi at the entrance to the temple.

Gathering hay at the temple.

The Temple of Demeter

Connie and Diane

Warren setting up a group photo...until someone offered to take the shot.

Back Row:  Lorrie. Don, Sarah, Me, Patsi, Dan, Ken, Roland, Bagel and Jim.
Front Row:  Warren, Connie, Laurence, Kristin and Diane. 

View south from the temple.

Krintin, Jim and Bagel at lunch.  Kristin never got her food and ate our leftovers.

Patsi and Dan

We had a few dirt roads on this day.  This was the widest and smoothest.

Don pressing olives at the Olive Press Museum.

Warren checking on how they pressed the olives.

Jim and Kristin

Back of Roland's head, Dan, Warren, Patsi and Don

Patsi, Don and Lorrie

Sarah and I were on our own getting back from the Olive Oil Museum and ran into this goat herd.

This one we called Roland, because he stayed behind to make sure everyone stayed with the group.

Silver store and church in Apollonas.  One got more business from us than the other.

Stamatis showing us his garden

An example of the roads in the mountains

They sell chickens out of the back of a van.  These poor souls have a few hours left.

Panigia Drosiani Church


The shopping street in Chalkio

Warren, Michelle, Lauren and Penni dining at Lefteris, Lauren's favorite restaurant in the world.

Sarah and I took a side trip to Lionas heading back to the hotel.  We ordered coffee and ended up with ouzo, cookies and these friendly people.

Following Don and Lorrie back to the hotel.

Scooter parking at the hotel from our balcony

Dining in Apollonos

And with this group, often dining alone leads to a group experience.  Laurence and Michelle here.

Diane, Chris, Bagel and Ardy joined in as well.

Saying goodbye to Apollonas from the road above

Terraces along the way

Waiting for the bus

But luckily, Lauren entertained us with her bubbles.

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