A LOVE LETTER TO NAXOS
Choice doesn't come quickly or easily for me. I prefer to make deliberate decisions when it comes to shopping, picking my favourite photos... or even the best magnet for my tacky fridge collection.
When planning our honeymoon, picking the best Greek island to visit was tough. Each island's personality is reflected in its local life, landscape, and history. We knew Santorini was a lock, so with the time we had (one week), we chose one other place.
That place was Naxos. I'm so glad it was. If Naxos was a man, he would be effortlessly handsome with rugged features. A man who can pull off the most simple outfits and look stunning. Someone humble, calm, easy to be around, and who brings the best out in everyone.
In Naxos, I felt so far away from everything. It fulfilled all of the dreams I had of Europe and its timeless beauty. The love story began on our very first night. Starving yet so happy to finally be there after our long trip from Toronto, we set out to do the first thing one does upon arrival anywhere - feed. We chose a family tavern called Boulamatsis. For the rest of the trip, I couldn't get over this place and its delicious home cooked meals and lovely atmosphere. The staff, all relatives, had a determinedly busy yet friendly attitude. They took pride in their food and the establishment. One of the owners showed us around the vast assortment of pre-cooked meals - stuffed vegetables, roasted goat, orzo, moussaka, lamb - and we made our picks. We washed it all down with carafes of locally made rose and I was hooked.
Though the way to my heart is through my stomach, whether or not I truly love a place comes down to the intangibles. The visuals and the feelings that I associate with the places we travel are what stay with me for a long time. We forget about our meals and the names of the coffee shops we visit, but we remember how we feel when we step onto that perfect beach and admire it in all of its colours, shapes, and dynamics. When I picture Naxos, I see arid mountains, every part of the landscape washed out to beige, cream, and pastel green tones, as if sandblasted. Water so clear, so inviting that all the locals head down to their favourite swimming spots every day. Towns that are not quite stunning but beautiful because they're not trying to be. Space, so much wide open space. Freedom to do whatever you like and see whatever you want. The way I feel when I remember Naxos comes down to all of this and more, which I'm finding difficult to put into words.
When your time comes to choose your spots in the Cyclades Islands, take your time. Look closely at the photos and videos and go for the one that feels right.
I chose some of my favourite photos from Naxos in an attempt to share the reasons why I loved it so much.