The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The One Where Kelly Falls off a Wall

The following takes place on Days 201-203, June 16-18, 2011

With the riots officially finished(for now) in Athens, Kelly and I left the hostel early in the morning to catch the metro to the port to grab our first ferry ride of the trip. The closest metro station was in Syntagma Square, where all the problems from the day before were concentrated. As we were walking through the deserted, early morning streets I began to feel a strange tickling in my throat. And then my eyes began to burn. When I looked over at Kelly her eyes were a bright red. The tear gas that had been shot off the day before was still lingering in the air.

Broken glass littered sections of the sidewalk and there was garbage strewn everywhere. At one point I noticed pieces of a wall had been broken off of a building in the square. And considering how much I was being affected by the tear gas this long after it had been released I was quite glad I wasn’t right in the midst of the action. Though, imagine the pictures I would have had!

IMG_8248Finding out ferry turned out to be insanely easy. We followed the huge crowd of people with backpacks and suitcases out of the metro station and across the street onto the port. Right there in front of us was our ferry. We got on, found our seats, and settled in for the five or so hour ferry ride to Naxos.

Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, the grouping of islands that includes Santorini, that most famous of Greek islands. We had chosen it on the recommendation of the travel agent in the hostel. It is thought to be the island where Theseus and Ariadne escaped to from Crete and where Theseus ultimately abandoned Ariadne. She waited on the island until she became the wife of the God Dionysus.

IMG_8263The owner of the place we were staying at met us when we got off the ferry and that is where I learned of the mistake I had made in booking. I had ended up booking both the place in Naxos and the place in Santorini for the same dates, three days from now. The owner was so nice though and made it work. The first night we would be in a separate building and then would move to his the next day. Kelly and I quickly settled in and grabbed some food from the nearby grocery store for lunch and supper. After eating quick, we took off to explore the area around us.

IMG_8271Naxos is a large island. Very large. We ended up walking along the coast for a good couple hours, turning around only once I had waded across some chest deep water to get to a small island to grab a geocache. By the time we were back to our room we were exhausted and decided to rest. I went for a little walk as the sun was going down and noticed a sign for an outdoor movie theater. Seeing that the movie was starting soon I ran back to the room and woke Kelly up.

“Hey! You want to go see a movie at an outdoor theater? They’re playing Thor.”
“Sure, I’ve wanted to see that movie actually.”
“Good, it starts in five minutes. Lets go!”

The movie itself was alright but sitting in deck chairs, watching the movie while bats swooped around was a lot of fun.

IMG_8284The next day we enjoyed nothing more exciting than a day at the beach. With books in tow, we spent the better part of the day soaking up the sun and jumping into the crystal clear water. Kelly had even bought a new bathing suit for the trip! And I was quite happy she didn’t laugh at mine to my face. In the evening we attempted to make our way to the little peninsula on the island where an ancient gate built for Apollo stood. It is apparently the best place to see the sunset on the entire island. Unfortunately we got to the area just as the sun was finishing it’s performance but we still walked up to the gate to take in the view in the fastly fading light.

IMG_8303Considering how large Naxos is, we took the opportunity to rent a car from one of the local rental agencies. I was a bit terrified about the prospect of driving. Not just because it would be my first time driving in six and a half months, but also because a)it was my first time in a foreign country; and b) it was in a mountainous island. I’m used to flat. Lots and lots of flat. But with Kelly’s encouragement, and her ability to refrain from hitting the hazard light button(something she loved doing when she was really overtired, driving home from University), my driving skills came back.

IMG_8351We spent the entire day driving through the Northern half of the island. Of course, geeky me, we would stop at times if there was a geocache, and other times because the views were amazing. At one stop, there was a geocache along a pedestrian path between two villages. Near the coordinates, we came across two horned goats on our path. They were tied up so they couldn’t run far, but they were blocking the path. Undeterred, I hopped onto the low stone wall and made my way past the goats. On the path side, the wall was maybe a foot and a half high. On the other side, it was about five or six feet high because of the slope. Remember this.

Kelly, with a little hesitation, began to follow my path. She took more gingerly steps, testing each stone before putting her weight on it. From my point of view, it looked as though when she got passed the second goat that she felt comfortable enough to move a bit faster. A rock moved. She fell forward . . . and then sideways, pulling the top part of the wall with her. Luckily, the boulder that was about the size of a man’s torso only landed on her leg and not her head. It would’ve been one of those scenes on America’s Funniest Home Videos had I not been terrified that I had just killed my friend.

IMG_8373I scaled down the wall to where she lay and helped move the rocks around so she could get up. With her shirt ripped, her pants torn, and her legs scratched up and bruised, she looked worse than she felt. Her kinesiology classes on how to fall helped her. I wanted to quit right there and head back to the car lest something else would happen to her. She shook her head and told me that we’ve come this far, can’t quit now. In my head I was thinking “I better freaking find this geocache or else she’s going to hurt me bad.” I did find it.

Thankfully the rest of the drive was uneventful. We stopped halfway up Mount Zeus(where IMG_8382the god is supposed to have been born) to have lunch but decided against heading all the way up as the road narrowed too much for my comfort zone. We also stopped in a small village at the very top of the island for some ice cream and to swim in the water. So besides the near death experience, it was a fairly good day.

The one thing that became a bit of a running joke for us as we drove was the amounts of churches on hills on the island. At the start it was “Oh man, that’s so pretty,” but quickly faded to disinterest. “Oh look. Another church on a hill. Oh, there’s another one.”

Sometimes it’s true that you can have too much of a good thing.


  1. Well at least you do not have a pic of me falling. I have scars from the rocks on my legs still though :(

  2. Jeepers, really? You have no idea how much I was terrified at that moment. It could've been way worse though.