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Living Your Best (Greek) Life

Greek island life is all about escape: eating … drinking … napping on the beach. And then there’s Naxos, Greece. The largest of the Cycladic island chain sits between its popular cousins, Mykonos and Paros. Its splendors range from Mt. Zeus to one of the most sought-after beaches in the Aegean Sea. But it boasts a creative underbelly steeped in ancient history.

AGEIST contributor Patricia Garcia-Gomez recently returned from an artist residency in Naxos with a short list on why the unsung island should be on our bucket list destinations this year.

Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)

On just one island, you can feel that you’ve been to eight different islands

The experiences, communities, feelings, foods and landscapes across Naxos are that varied. We started one day by climbing Mt Zeus, literally walking into the clouds to reach the highest summit in the Cyclades (also believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, god of the sky), and by the end of the day, we were strolling down cedar forest-covered dunes for a sunset swim.

Naxos
Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)

A creative life

Naxos has long been an island of artisans, from the workers of the famous Naxian white marble, to potters, weavers, and wood carvers. On the contemporary side, there is the Bazeos Tower, a former monastery that has been part of the landscape since the 16th century. Each year, a handful of international artists are invited to take over the tower and fill it with site-responsive work for a summer exhibition. Sculptors, painters, installation artists, and photographers live in the tower and establish a dialogue with the surroundings. Seeing the work here is like having many different windows into Naxos, and there are also concerts under the stars all summer long (Patricia’s work can be seen here).

Naxos
Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)

Inconvenience is greatly rewarded

While tourists crowd around the island’s better-known beaches (like Agios Prokopios, which is rated one of the best in Europe), we love the ones that you have to work harder to get to: Psili Ammos for its remoteness, Hawaii for its wildness, and Lionas for its most beautiful white stones (you will want to take them all home, but please don’t.) Things aren’t always well-marked in Naxos Greece, which lends a sense of adventure–or being lost, which often leads to something magical. We missed Psili Ammos entirely the first time we went looking for it but ended up on a gorgeous drive down the islands’ undeveloped east coast, ending up at small, super-cute Panormos, which we had to ourselves.

Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)

The way it sounds

First, the cicadas. They are an ever-present soundtrack that moves with you no matter where you are on the island. Then, the roaming goat bells. Bells that sound like waterfalls, both near and far in the distance. It’s mesmerizing. The sound becomes a part of you.

Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)

In spots it feels like life exactly as it has been forever

While enjoying some of the island’s tastiest grilled fish at The Net in the small fishing village of Moutsouna, we noticed that there was a buzz about. In the distance we heard a fiddle, then an accordion, and there was a swell of excitement as a winding wedding procession made its way through the village and into the tiniest of churches in the square. Life moves around you here (if you go slow enough).

Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)

Naxians love their island  

For a charming conversation about the history of Naxos, and oven-fired pizza, go to Mitos. Ask for Petros.

@DieterDU

And last but not least…escape

Stay at Corona Borealis, seven suites perched so perfectly in the folds of a seaside cliff that all else feels very far away. Its private beach is also one of the best swims on the island (Ask for Anita). And make sure to nap on the beach. It’s kind of a requirement.

Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)
Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)
Patricia Garcia-Gomez (garcia.gomez@mac.com)
See medical disclaimer below. ↓

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Patricia Garcia-Gomez
Patricia Garcia-Gomez is a writer and artist working with visual media and sound. She is the editor of Travel by Ageist and a contributor to the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and The Private Journal (Europe). Her work is also part of the permanent archives of the Tate Modern, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, the Buhl Collection, and The Harwood Museum in New Mexico.

 

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