Mikri Vigla, Portara Sunset and Grandma Loses her S***!

Despite the events of the day before I’m still determined to seek out somewhere away from the crowds. I’d love to attempt another trip up to Koronos but we really don’t have the time.

The Grandadults are going to the small water park today. It’s in walking distance of the hotel in Stelida and it will make a change from lying on the beach. It looks like good fun too.


One place that I want to visit is the abandoned hotel in Alyko which has now been turned into a graffiti art installation. Close by is a Cedar forest that I’d also like to see.

I looked it up on the map a few days earlier to try to see if there is a bus that will get us there. Now I don’t know what happened between then and today but I’ve got my destinations and bus stops mixed up and inadvertently have it it my mind that we need to get the bus to Mikri Vigla. Let’s put this down to the trauma of the previous day or horror of horrors, maybe even a senior moment.

Peter and I arrive at Mikri Vigla and we resign ourselves to the fact that it is too far to walk to Alyko. There isn’t another bus that will get us there today so we decide to make the most of where we are.

We are dropped close to the Asterias taverna and from here walk across salt flats to the beach. At one end of the beach is a cluster of sun beds and umbrella’s but the rest of the beach is beautifully natural and backed by low sand dunes. This is the place to go kite surfing. Mikri Vigla is the small bit of headland that you can see jutting out from Plaka and catches the wind from the South West of the island. The sand is gorgeous. The stuff that your feet just sink into. Because of this we walk along the shoreline where the wet sand has melded together somewhat. We walk in just far enough to wet and cool our feet and ankles.

I still have a little bit of hope that we will be able to walk all the way to Alyko, but I try to push it to the back of my mind. We make it as far as Kastraki and although we’ve only walked about 2-3 kilometres, it feels like more as the sand really slows you down. We rest under some tamarisk trees where the sea spills over the rocks to our feet.

We now absolutely give up on the idea of walking to Alyko. We haven’t even made it half way. Instead we head inland away from the beach just have a little bit of an explore.

What we see is evidence of further developments. Cookie cutter dwellings still in their raw and un-whitewashed state. They look as though they were thrown up in a hurry and then ran out of steam or money – or maybe both. They must have been built some time ago as they appear on Google Maps. Not that I know how often the satellite does its scans but I would hazard a guess at a couple of years since they were erected. When you look at the area on Google Maps it seems that there is a lot of green areas surrounding the development. The land being so close to the beach may be infertile and this could be why it has been designated for development. I’m just hazarding guesses here.

Although there are other new completed developments there isn’t much evidence of facilities such as a supermarket or taverna’s. I guess this is all to come. Let’s just hope that we don’t see the beach succumb to the sunbed frenzy that we have seen on Agios Prokopios.

There isn’t much more to see here so we decide to head back for the bus. It will be hit and miss if we make it. Taking the shoreline again, walking fast is hard going. We miss the bus by minutes. We while away the next hour or so in Asterias Cafe Bar.

In all it has been a lovely day with some good exercise and far less stress than yesterday. For our return journey we have a seat on the bus and all is good with the world.

Back at the hotel the GA’s are showered and changed ready for dinner. They had a great time at the water park. It is small with only a few water slides to ride but they enjoyed it immensely.

I’m conscious at this point in the holiday that the GA’s may be getting a little ‘beach weary’. I know the beach, sunbathing and relaxing was high on the agenda of the girls who wanted some chill time after work and A Levels. They are a well travelled family but have been spoilt by the ‘five star’ experience from a young age. In recent years for personal family reasons and other commitments, the family haven’t been on holiday for some time. I thought that they all deserved a nice break and hoped that they would also love an island hopping experience. I really wanted to spend more time with them. As children turn in to teenagers they develop their own lives and interests and they would soon be at that threshold where they no longer want to holiday with Grandma.

It has been difficult trying to strike a balance between giving them their own space and making sure that they are getting the most out of their stay (whatever that may mean to them). I suggest to them that the day after tomorrow we do the organised bus trip to the South Beaches. This will take us to the Kouros at Melanes, the marble quarry, Panagia Drosiani, Filoti, the pottery and ancient olive press at Damalas and ending the day at the beach of Pyrgaki. They are all up for it which I’m really happy about. This will be a nice end to our stay on Naxos.

I’ve been itching to take the GA’s into Naxos Town so suggest that we do this, this evening. I propose that we walk out to the Portara for sunset and then back into town for something to eat and everyone is in agreement.

We arrive in Naxos Town and we have timed it just perfectly. The sky is on the turn. It is still windy today and we play ‘dodge the waves’ as we walk along the straight to the little islet.

There is already a crowd here and this is definitely the busiest I’ve ever seen it. It is an absolute ‘must do’ when on Naxos! In the past you could move freely across the islet but there now seems to be some kind of one way system in place. Everyone takes their turn at taking their selfie in front of the Portara. It reminds me a bit of when we visited Lenin’s tomb in Moscow where you have your 10 seconds and then are swiftly moved on by the next in line.

Peter is always dancing to the tune of his own song and decides to walk out onto the man made groyne or breakwater. I spot him out on the rocks like a Where’s Wally picture. The sun is setting and it will go dark very quickly. It is very precarious climbing over those rocks and to be honest they are not meant for walking on. This sets me on edge somewhat and I phone him asking him to come back. “Don’t worry” he says “Relax” knowing that this will only add to my anxiety. He does eventually, in his true Egyptian style return without any sense for urgency.

Right – now back to the sunset. I think the sunset here at the Portara on Naxos is as good as any sunset you will see on Santorini – just a different landscape. I really want to see the sunset here and I want the GA’s to see it too. To feel it and appreciate its magnificence. Instead they are grumbling that they are hungry and spend most of their time sitting on a rock looking at their phones, engrossed in whatever is going on in their social media circle and group of friends back home.

This irritates me. The crowds of people applauding the sunset irritate me. Peter is irritating me. All of a sudden something comes over me. My shizzle is lost, my patience is worn and I’ve had enough. Thinking about it retrospectively I wonder if it’s down to the pressure of trying to make this a great holiday for everyone combined with exhaustion from our crazy itinerary, the cumulative stress of the bus experience and lord alone knows what else. I tell Peter and the GA’s that I’m going into the town and that they can have dinner without me this evening. They can eat whatever they want – burgers, pizza, pasta – I just don’t care and off I go! (This is the short version of events.)

I head up to the area that I know best – the Kastro. It may sound selfish but I think a bit of solitude is just what I needed. However, I spoke too soon. As I climb the cobbled streets, stopping only occasionally to take photographs I turn around to see that I am being stalked. As I spin around, Peter and the GA’s freeze in their tracks – a bit like a game of “What time is it Mr Wolf!”

I tell Peter that I don’t want to be followed and ask him to take the GA’s for something to eat. Initially they choose to ignore this and the game of cat and mouse continues. Every time I turn around the gang of five would be there pretending to nonchalantly admire whatever happens to be in closest proximity to them. I know these streets better than Peter does (not that he’d remember them anyway) and I up my pace and then take a sudden dive into a hidden alleyway.

They’ve gone. I’ve either shaken them off or they’ve given up. Either way I can’t help but feeling a bit disappointed. Disappointed in myself. But this is real life right? I can quite easily paint everything as a picture of perfection but we’re all human – and that is how it is.

My heart really isn’t in exploring the Kastro so I find an empty little café where I order something sweet and a shot. Only other introverts will really understand the need for the occasional spell of solitude. Being in the company of others for too long can be exhausting. All I need is a little spell on my own. Cake and Masticha will also help.

Tomorrow everything will all be fine. We are a resilient family if nothing else.

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