My passion for browsing holiday brochures on cold dismal nights continued, the hubby fancied the Cyclades - a group of Greek Islands scattered across the Aegean sea of Greece - for a change from our usual choices of Crete, and Kos etc.- and as ever it was left to me to choose the appropriate dwelling for our two weeks away. I decided on Naxos, only accessible by ferry via a chartered flight to Mykonos (if partaking in a package), the largest Island in the Cyclades.
I booked and paid a small deposit of £90 to Kosmar - a Greek holiday specialist in the UK - the balance of £600 was due the following June - plenty of time to save. The hubby wanted to book flights and accommodation separately but I like the security of a package holiday!
The Outbound Journey
We leave Brum with ample time to spare, chartered flights to Mykonos in the UK only operate from Manchester and Gatwick and we chose Manchester - but tackling the M6 is never much fun!!
We check in with plenty of time to spare and board our flight to Mykonos. After the 4 hour flight we are greeted by the local rep and directed to our transport bus to the port, and are advised we can enjoy a refreshing drink at the 'Yacht Club' prior to boarding the' Naxos Star' which will transport us quite comfortably to the port of Hora - the capital of Naxos.
After a brief coach journey enjoying the splendid scenery of Mykonos, typical Greek Blue and White architecture we arrive at the port - the said 'Yacht Club' looks like Derby bus station - and I promptly trot to the nearby kiosk for 2 cans of Heineken- we celebrate our arrival in Greece in style don't you know!!
The 'Naxos Star' arrives in port following 2 rather nice looking 'Vodaphone' ferries - a local sponsor of ferries in Greece. It is by no means a 'Star' but quite old and rusty and I spend the first 30 minutes after our departure watching my precariously stacked luggage on the back of the boat - expecting it to fall into the sea at any minute. Still the beer helps, and the grumpy bar tender supplies us with more at 2 euros a shot! and I happily sit watching the scenery, and people watching!!. We dock at Paros - and several fellow travellers depart, we then continue on to Naxos - the whole sea transfer taking around 2 hours.
The arrival at the port in Naxos is scary to say the least - it is like a cattle market, we grab our cases and run - there are touts for campsites and hotels everywhere - I thought I was a superstar - i've never had so much attention in my life!!
I find our taxi driver with my name scrawled on the back of what looks like the back of a cornflake packet and breath a sigh of relief. The taxi driver then whisks us some what dangerously to 'Hotel Spiros'
We are spun around so many side streets among an unusual Greek one way system I loose my bearings, however I get a pleasant suprise, the hotel looks clean and fresh..... bearing in mind the price we paid for our package.
I walk into a brightly lit reception with a bar (very important), which I note serves a variety of breakfasts (more importantly ranging from unhealthy fry-ups.. to nice Greek yoghurt .... (depending on what mood I am in) and snacks at reasonable prices. The Bar area has also has a seating area adjacent to the swimming pool - which is small but pleasant and sparklingly clean. Then we are shown to our room.
The hotel is split into 2 sections the 'old' part and the 'new part', consisting of approximately 30 rooms. The new rooms are built around the small clean freeform swimming pool, with brightly coloured doors, and large balconies and look very appealing.
We are allocated a room in the 'old part'..
OK ....so we are over the road from the main building - there are no lifts - but these are rare in Greece (in 2 star accommodation)- and we are shown to a room on the 2nd floor. It is spacious and as ever I run to the balcony to check out the view (important with my coffee in a morning!!) - and spy a spectacular view of St Georgios Beach - I love it....
The kitchen is basic - but am I really going to cook!!, and consists of 2 cooking rings, a coffee pot, 2 plates, 2 cups and assorted utensils. Great.. coffee is all I need!. A wardrobe (not enough hangers but I am wise to this), two single beds (good when you are sweating your pants off), and a maid that visited 3 times a week... (usual removal of toilet paper and a change of sheets, towels, general sweep round etc.]
I must admit I was disappointed at first not to be in the 'new bit' but we only used the room to wash, change and sleep!! so why worry!! Also many of the rooms in the 'new bit' are lower ground floor and below swimming pool level- not ideal for early morning coffees wrapped in my usual bed sheet!
2 minutes from the spectacular St Georgios Beach.. if you like sunsets this is the place to be, I was often found at 7.30 pm in my beachwear enjoying a cocktail or 3 at the Trata bar located on the beach...
10 minutes from the town square.. ideal for lazy evenings when you cannot be bothered to walk too far. A wide range of Tavernas at hand.
12 minutes from the harbour.. if you want a spectacular ice cream to walk home with - 57 varieties (I gained 5lbs), this is the place to be.
15 minutes from the old town. winding streets.. traditional tavernas serving locally caught fish, craft shops, backgammon board shops (we challenge the owner and 'win' a board.) Wicked little cafes serving real potent Greek coffee.
.....Pure bliss if you love Greece!!
The Journey Home....
..... better left unsaid.. due to the ferocious Meltemi wind (common in the Cyclades) we left Naxos a day early and arrived home via a very choppy ferry journey to Paros ... an even choppier ferry journey to Athens, a flight from Athens to Crete and from Crete back to Manchester. and arrived home 24hrs after our expected arrival time - hence my love of a package !! (I did tell the hubby so!!) we had to pay for additional overnight accommodation costs in Paros-(see the small print in the back of the brochure!) but had we been travelling independently we wouldn't have had a leg to stand on and would have had to pay for flights and all....
Enjoy early in the season to avoid the Melteme... unless you don't mind an additional day or two on a fantastic Greek island and a hectic journey home!!
Ag. Georgios, Naxos
Tel: (0285) 24854, 23702..26141
Fax:: (0285) 25003
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Summary: A Superb little Hotel