Portara
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Hotel Grotta: Rest for a Weary Island Hopper
Guidebooks often lack the practical pieces of advice that could save travelers some rather unpleasant moments, in the Greek Islands one such nugget of wisdom I missed in my reading was that after a late night fueled by Ouzo it is not ideal to ride in a high speed ferry. Thankfully the ferry ride from Mykonos to Naxos is a short one at under an hour. I was greeted at the terminal by part of the family that runs Hotel Grotto, a small retreat perched on the edge of the Aegean sea that would be my home while in Naxos. After weeks competing for beach chairs and being corralled down tight marble alleys in some of the more frequented islands, Hora (also known as Naxos Town) proved the perfect place to relax and experience Greece at a slower pace. Upon arriving to the hotel, the bags were taken out of my hand and replaced with a glass of wine made by “Pappa” along with local olives as I was led out to the pictured patio. The view from patio of the hotel is of the Portara, believed to be the beginning of the Temple of Apollo dated back to 530 BC and is an ideal spot to pack a picnic from the local grocery, and watch the sunset before heading into town for the night. On the walk back to the hotel rising above the town is The Venetian Castle Kastro. During the day it serves as a museum offering tours, on Sunday nights after sunset it hosts traditional music and dance made easier by the accompaniment of Kitron,a liqueur indigineous to the area.
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An Ancient Doorway Leading to Nowhere
These ruins in Naxos Harbor—consisting solely of a large marble doorway leading to nowhere—are a dramatic sight. It was once the entrance to Apollo's Temple, and now it stands guard over the Aegean Sea and the Naxian people. Perhaps now it leads to another universe. Who knows? Come here in early spring, at sundown, when the hillside is dotted with marigolds and daisies. Sometimes you'll have the whole spectacular sunset to yourself.
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