OK, I left off in Santorini. After a couple of days, I felt like I had pretty much seen what I wanted to, so I hopped on a ferry to Ios. I'd heard Ios was basically a big party, but what I didn't realize was that there's basically nothing else to do there. Ios is kind of a small island, and except for a decrepit ancient tomb that is rumored to be Homer's, a tomb that is almost impossible to get to without renting a moped for the day, all anybody does there is party at night and sleep it off in the day, or maybe go to the beach. I mean, the restaurants serve breakfast (and only breakfast) until about 3pm!
I was staying in a room with two Canucks from Vancouver (Dan and Chad, who, it turns out, just graduated with physics degrees) and an Aussie (Dave) on a break from working in London. Dan and Chad had been on the island for a week already, and knew their way around quite well - they took Dave and me to their favorite haunts and got us in free to a few places. The next morning, I slept. And slept. And slept and slept and slept. When I finally got up, it was waaaay past checkout time, so I stayed for another day. Oh well, it gave me time to check out the beach... (beach was very nice, BTW).
Friday the 23rd I forced myself to get up much earlier than my body wanted to and went to Naxos. Or rather, I went to the dock to wait for the ferry to Naxos. And wait. And wait... the ferry finally showed up about two hours late (two hours in which I would MUCH rather have been sleeping!) and I was on my way.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades, but it's still not all that impressive. I kept expecting gorgeous beaches, lush interiors, the whole works - but the Greek islands are actually pretty dull. There are some nice beaches, sure, but a lot more of the coast is not so nice beaches, or just plain rocky hills rolling out into the sea. The interiors are rather barren, with dirt and grass and low bushes and very few trees. At least the interior of Naxos was sort of interesting, in that every single hill had been terraced, all the way up and all the way down. It's still not that interesting, though.
Naxos does have the portara, however. You can climb all over it and I spent most of the first evening there, watching the sunset and the stars come out.
I left Naxos on the 24th on an overnight ferry to Athens, where I got far too little sleep... I checked in to a hostel for ~$20 a night and then went to explore the town. I saw the changing of the guard at the parliament building - the fancy Sunday morning one with the military band and a legion of soldiers parading in, and lots of ceremony and silly walks as the guards changed over. I meant to see everything that day (yesterday, in fact!) but ended up spending so much time at the ancient Athenian Agora that I would have only had an hour at the Acropolis. Instead, I climbed an ancient staircase hacked into a nearby marble-topped hill where the marble had been polished by so many feet it was slick as ice. From the hill you could look up to the Acropolis, or down at the city. I stayed until after sunset, then came back to the hostel and caught up on some much needed sleep.
Today I made the arrangements for a ferry to Italy tomorrow, and then went to the National Archaeological Museum. 7 hours later...
So I didn't see the Acropolis today either. I know, I know! I'll get up early tomorrow and check it out in the morning light, and tomorrow afternoon I'll hop on a bus to begin my long journey to Rome.
Don't forget - send me your address, and I'll send you a postcard!