I made it to Naxos, and boy is it good to be back! Johannes and I were heavily loaded with three kayaks between us, and more bags than hands, but we collapsed into a hotel room without incident after a slow walk around the harbor. Very little has changed on Naxos and it feels great to be back eating in my favorite restaurants and catching up on a 10-month deficit of delicious Greek food. So far, I’ve been focused on getting set up. This summer is going to be far more logistically complicated than any I’ve attempted previously, and a great deal of its success will be dictated by several key relationships here on the island. Chief among them are our friends the Symenoglous. If you remember, they were the family that invited me to Easter last year. Mrs. Symenoglou runs a realty/property management company, and her husband is the vice-mayor of Naxos. Between the two of them, it seems like they know just about everyone and have been both terrifically fun to get to know better and extremely helpful.
Johannes will be staying at the same house we rented last year, but this year with a small group of students of my own, I’m looking for a separate apartment for us. It turns out that finding an apartment for 4 people (that can stretch to accommodate 6) is quite challenging in Naxos. There are lots of efficiencies available but not a lot of larger houses. After much tramping around and two apartment tours I was getting concerned that I wasn’t going to find anything that was going to fit our needs.
Finally, Mrs. Symenoglou introduced us to the local Catholic priest. It turns out that the diocese owns a beautiful dormitory in the old (parts of it are 6th century B.C.) castle overlooking the entire port of Naxos. It is newly renovated and is a part of a beautiful old museum and meeting facility. I’ll tell you more about it when I can show some pictures, but the long and the short is I just signed us up for three rooms in the turret overlooking the harbor. I can hardly wait to move in and make it home!