Canada Goose Parka Finding an island paradise in the Cyclades Canada Goose Parka
I had never visited the Greek islands and, perhaps because of this, there has always been a Greek island of my imagination: an idyllic union of clear, azure water, rocky coves and barren hillsides, barely another creature in evidence aside from the occasional ambling donkey, one or two lizards scuttling out of sight, and the family who run the taverna nestled into the nape of a bay at the sea’s edge that I’ll always stumble upon precisely when hunger or thirst requires it. I’m not quite sure what inspired this idealised flight of fancy in the first place a snatch of film, or a photograph, or something I once read, no doubt, though I have no memory of it but in September I decided it was finally time to discover whether I could actually find anything like the Greek island experience that I’d invented cheap canada goose uk in my head.
I was well aware that this might prove a foolish quest. A little research quickly told me that, for one thing, I was probably at least 30 years too late. Still, a little further research suggested that, if anything like my imaginary Greek island existed, my best chance might lie in some of the smaller islands in the group known as the Cyclades. So that is where I headed.
canada goose deals To reach them, the obvious place to begin is Mykonos, itself only an easyJet hop from London. Even before arriving there, I realise that Mykonos’s role in my journey may well be to bear the first buy canada goose jacket cheap brunt of my unrealistic expectations, and so it proves. Though in different circumstances I am not averse to modest doses of this kind of neverending beach party rave, it is the antithesis of what I’m searching for right now, and while there may well be a gentler Mykonos, free from the relentless exhortations of the Black Eyed Peas, I don’t hang around to find it. canada goose deals
Canada Goose online Anyone who plans to travel in any kind of semi adventurous manner in the Greek islands has to grapple with the Greek ferry system. Reading up on the subject beforehand, Canada Goose UK Outlet it seemed daunting the variety of competing ferries of different speeds and qualities, the non transferable tickets, the complex and ever changing timetables, and the unlikelihood that everything will anyway run as it is supposed to. (Hidden Greece, the travel company that has put together most of my itinerary, offers this unusual holiday advice in its guidance notes: ‚To enjoy being in Greece it is best to adopt a sense of placid resignation.’) Canada Goose online
Canada Goose sale I hope that the ferries can’t be as tricky as it appears, but it’s not simple. Today my first leg is from Mykonos to Paros; the hotel kindly offers to take me to the ticket office on the way to the ferry terminal Canada Goose sale (naturally the ticket offices are not at the terminal), but even they get the wrong office and we www.canadagoosediscount.co.uk have to backtrack to a competing operator. Then, after disembarking in Paros, I have to buy the right bus ticket and find the bus that takes one down the island to a canada goose factory sale different port, where I must buy a new ticket for the small ferry that takes me to my destination for the next two nights, the island of Antiparos. Canada Goose sale
Antiparos seems pleasant enough perfect for families who want to drink, eat, canada goose uk outlet and bathe in calm, shallow water canada goose uk black friday but I have a rather frustrating two days there, walking miles in the baking sun up and down steep hills to remote coves that seem alluring from a distance. Canada Goose Jackets The first time I spot one, I briefly imagine canada goose black friday sale that this is all it takes a plane, a couple of ferries, a bus and some sturdy walking to find Greek island paradise. I picture the scene a few minutes ahead: bounding on to the empty beach, stripping off my clothes, diving into the clean, translucent sea. And then, as I get closer, I discover the beach, such as it is, is made of some kind of dried and rather disgusting sea vegetation over which is scattered mounds of battered, washed up, sea weathered plastic. Paradise proves more elusive than that.
I hadn’t particularly been looking forward to Naxos. It is the largest and most populated of the islands on my itinerary, and might well not be on it at all were it not the departure point for the smaller Cyclades. But, when I look back, Naxos will seem to me where this journey first begins to make sense.
Canada Goose Jackets The city of Naxos itself, where the ferries arrive, is big and fairly busy, but it still feels very different to anywhere I’ve yet been. Its unusual tone is set by the large rectangular doorway, the Portara, supposedly the remains of an unfinished temple to Apollo built around 50bc, sitting on a headland to the north of the harbour as you enter it. On one side, white spumed waves from the open sea batter enthusiastically; on the other, a gigantic Blue Star ferry sits in the still harbour. Canada Goose Jackets
canada goose clearance Behind sits the old town of Canada Goose Coats On Sale Naxos on its small hilltop, and far behind that looms the summit of Mount Zeus, the highest point in the Greek islands. Inside the causeway that arcs out to the Portara, some stone steps lead down into the water canada goose clearance for bathers. It doesn’t seem a popular swimming spot aside from me there is only an elderly Greek man and an extremely old Greek woman in a bathing cap and it has none of the remoteness I hanker for, but there is something agreeable about the hodgepodge of quaint, historic, busy, ghastly and serene that surrounds you as you float, and I’m already beginning to uk canada goose outlet like it here. canada goose clearance
The island is too big to explore easily on foot so in the morning I rent a car ( for 24 hours; insurance not mentioned). I head northwards, keeping as close to the west coast as roads will allow, taking the occasional dead end to the ocean, always looking out for a beautiful and deserted beach or bay.
canada goose coats on sale I stop for a while to clamber around the ruins of the Tower of Ayia, and shortly before the island’s northernmost tip I spot a promising small bay far below, and make my way down a series of increasingly discouraging dirt tracks. The last hundred feet I have to do on foot. The beach uk canada goose is not without a little of the manmade flotsam I’m beginning to think of as the predominant indigenous Greek island species, but once I’m lying face down in the water, the sun’s refractions forming magical shifting tessellations on the rock and sand below, I find that I’m not too bothered by that, or anything else. canada goose coats on sale
cheap Canada Goose Reinvigorated, I head onwards. One of the decisions I’ve implicitly canada goose coats made is that I don’t plan to spend my time on the Greek islands trudging from antiquity to antiquity (if what I’m after is not quite modern Greece, nor is it Ancient Greece), but I am keen to see Naxos’s fallen kouros. cheap Canada Goose
Marble for statues was quarried in Naxos, and there are three famous examples where near completed figures were abandoned on the ground. (The most common explanation for this is that a fault was detected in the marble, though it’s also suggested that the customers who commissioned them may have died before completion. Interpretations change with the time in which they’re made, of course. Nowadays one’s instinctive hypothesis might well be ’40 per cent government spending cuts’.)
The most famous of these abandoned kouros, a near finished male nearly 30ft high, dating from the seventh century bc, lies on a hillside in the north of the island near Apollonas. To be honest, it’s a little less impressive than I’d expected as pitted and weathered as it is, incomplete and abandoned for so long, it looks a little like a giant papier mch model made by a kid who lost interest in the project when canada goose coats on sale he realised how difficult arms were to do.
canadian goose jacket The principal goal I have set myself for today is to climb Mount Zeus, something the guide books agree takes no special expertise but some substantial effort. Particularly under this sun. In early September not only do the holiday crowds thin but the temperatures are also supposed to drop. Not this September. Throughout my trip, the midday hours will be unseasonably baking never below 26C and so I’ve adopted a rhythm of saving my greatest exertions for the hours after dawn and before dusk. canadian goose jacket
Canada Goose Outlet Today, I canada goose clearance sale set off uphill at 4.45pm, but it is still breath stealingly hot. It’s a long slog, too, and I only arrive on top at 6.15pm, the time I’d marked as the latest I should begin my descent. But the view is mesmerising in every direction. Back behind me, over lower mountains topped with small churches, I can see the town of Naxos. Far in the distance, more than 50 miles away, is the edge of the Greek mainland. Ahead, I can see islands splattered over the sea including, close by, the four of the smaller Cyclades where I plan to spend Canada Goose Parka the next few days: Iraklia, Schoinoussa, Koufonissia and Kato Koufonissia. (The view goes both ways, of course. Just as the islands seem close to me from here, for the next week I will able to look up from almost anywhere I am on these islands and see this summit rising in the distance.) Canada Goose Outlet
Inevitably, I end up starting my descent Canada Goose Online far later than I had intended, and, coming down, I relearn several obvious and important lessons. One is that it is a lot easier to find your way up a mountain to a single point than to retrace your steps down over the complicated and sometimes befuddling three dimensional curves that make up this planet.
The other even more obvious lesson is: when you hurry you make mistakes. Skipping from pointy boulder to pointy boulder, my left boot tiredly, clumsily, catches on a piece of rock I hadn’t seen. I go over in stages, and even as I topple, I am imagining a night on the mountain, and stretchers. I come to rest a little scuffed and scraped and stretched, but basically fine. Further down I take my mobile from my trouser pocket to check the time and discover that a spear of rock has completely pulverised it, and presumably would have otherwise skewered my thigh. Lucky.
buy canada goose jacket cheap Almost back at the car, I allow myself a few minutes to hobble inside what is known as the Zeus cave, where, according to legend, the young Zeus was hidden. He had to be secreted because his father, Kronos, having being told that one of his sons would dethrone him, was in the habit of eating his newborns. In Zeus’s case, Kronos was tricked into swallowing a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes instead. This cave, incidentally, is only one of several in Greece claiming this honour. I like the idea that there are competing claims cheap Canada Goose as to where something that didn’t really happen happened; the squabbles of mythology. buy canada goose jacket cheap
The smaller Cyclades are most conveniently connected by a modestly sized ferry called the Express Skopelitis, which travels in one direction between canada goose them on most (but not all) days during the summer months. The first stop on leaving Naxos, and hence my first destination, is Iraklia. At sea, I read in the guidebook Greek Island Hopping about Iraklia’s principal settlement, Agios Georgios: ‚The village boasts all the usual lack of amenities I’m the sort of traveller whose heart soars at the sound of ‚lack of amenities’.
canada goose coats Once I’ve settled into the Sunset Rooms a few minutes’ walk out of town, where I stay on a ridge that provides an attractively desolate view I hike across to Livadi beach, canada goose store stopping on the way back for some food at an open air restaurant overlooking the harbour. canada goose coats
canada goose black friday sale In the reading I’d done before coming here, the Greek island food is often mentioned as something of an impediment. The omnipresence of octopus on the menu is one of the common drawbacks people refer to, but I’m rather fond of it. Greek menus are often criticised for being narrow and predictable, and they can seem that way at first glance, but I eat far more interestingly than I expect to. canada goose black friday sale
There are the unfamiliar local greens I discover, for instance I particularly like horta, a tasty, stringy vegetable, and the slightly spicy leaves of glistrada. And the same dish, anyway, rarely turns out to be the same dish. I order octopus pretty much every day, and it is never prepared exactly the same way. Sometimes I’ll be given two or three huge tentacles, sometimes marinated, sometimes oily, sometimes canada goose uk shop slightly spicy, sometimes canadian goose jacket on a bed of something unpredictable, sometimes not.
Other times it is thinly sliced. buy canada goose jacket This evening’s, in Iraklia, comes in small chunks in a light olive oil and garlic sauce. (One other small upside of ordering the octopus: the waiters always seem rather surprised, and pleased, rather as though I’ve chosen to say something complimentary about the Greek flag.)
canada goose When I set off on a long hike the next afternoon, there is not a single cloud in the sky. My route Canada Goose online taken from Dieter Graf’s Walking the Greek Islands: Eastern Northern Cyclades, which becomes my bible on this trip guides me through a deserted inland village where birds spookily perch on wires. I am heading for some caves at the far end of the island. canada goose
One of these, which can be entered only by crawling through a low opening, has a ceremonial importance to the islanders, who all gather here each year for a church service on August 28. Inside, there is a small altar, a flame still burning; other spent candles sit on top of stalagmites deeper in. In the entrance, to save one’s knees, someone has kindly put down the world’s dirtiest carpet.
canada goose clearance sale It turns out that on Sundays there are no ferries to my next destination, Schoinoussa, but eventually I find myself negotiating with a man sitting outside the supermarket cutting up a squid, and manage to charter my own inter island ferry for I have no pre booked accommodation, but Grispos Villas, which Canada Goose Outlet I see advertised on a telegraph pole in the harbour, turns out to be a fortuitous choice. canada goose clearance sale
buy canada goose jacket The bay it sits above is more beautiful than the ad allows, and my room leads out to a small balcony from which I can survey it all. The long beach below has a few chairs on it, but there are fewer than a dozen people along the whole stretch, and it’s fairly delightful. I read, snorkel and doze, then retire to the hotel’s outdoor restaurant where I have a lazy lunch and some wine from the owner’s brother’s Schoinoussa vineyard. (One more thing I like about eating in the Greek islands: more often than not the design of the paper tablecloths is of a map of the island you are on. Often these are more detailed than those in the guidebooks.) buy canada goose jacket
canada goose store There’s not much to do on Schoinoussa you can explore the island on foot, as I do extensively; swim in the sea; lounge by the sea; eat; drink. I imagine some might find it a little boring. It’s the kind of boredom I could tolerate for quite some time. And when, after two days here, I head on, my bill for two nights’ board in the nicest room I will stay in on this trip, two breakfasts, two lunches, one dinner, sundry drinks and my ferry ticket onwards (the hotel owners turn out also to be the local ferry agents) is less than canada goose store.