Greece, Days 8 & 9: Greek Life, Chora Beaches and Our Return

It’s our last full day in Greece and we’re dedicated to a day of relaxation, a day of simple joy. I snuck out early and wandered through the winding streets of old town Chora, following the makeshift signage until I found the one shop I wanted more than anything to visit. As the reviews said, the smell of fresh baked bread was reassuring as I turned the last corner to arrive at a traditional Greek bakery.

It was sort of intimidating at first but you must go inside, you just must. The smell is otherworldly, the owner and his apprentice stern and dedicated to their trade. I purchased a half of a small loaf (I should have purchased the whole) to have with our breakfast. Down the road is a small supermarket where I purchased a few mini butters and jams for mere cents.

Walking back the streets were suddenly busy, locals rushing to make the morning mass as the bells rang. I arrived back at the pension and we had our last breakfast together on the flower draped balcony.

We decided to spend the day wandering the town and beaches in walking distance of town. Starting from the port we headed south, following the coast the whole way. We passed, first, the beginning of Agios Propokios where sunbathers were in their glory with (more) modern accommodations and crystal clear and calm waters. We walked on; my skirt pulled up through my legs and tucked in the waistband like a vineyard worker so I could dip my feet in the sea.

The wind created a sand storm of sort and we found a slightly more protected area to sit and watch the windsurfers off of Agia Anna. The sun was shining and I thought that while settled in this moment, nothing at all is wrong in the world.

We headed into town to find a spot to eat. We settled on the poorly translated meat bar located up a flight of steps from the waterfront. Oh, this was our kind of place. We each had the platter of a lamb and beef kebab with a towering pile of hand cut fries and wine, always wine.

On our way to the Temple of Apollo, the mighty structure visible as soon as you round the corner by boat to Naxos, we stopped in a small market to gather provisions for our 5 and some hour ferry back to Athens. We grabbed a re-purposed bottle filled with wine from the island and along with some leftover olives and hard-boiled eggs we had a perfect little snack.

We wandered around the temple for the hour or so before the boat was set to arrive. The structure was so strong, in reality and symbol. We settled on the jetty for a bit, watching the sky settle down and the Northern Europeans with tougher skin than I snorkel around the swimming area viewing the Cycladic ruins.

Later, the husband in the husband-wife team from our hotel met us at the dock with our bags. We thanked him profusely and before he parted he reached out and said this is a present from Rena (his wife) and proceeded to tie a bracelet on my wrist. It was the sweetest, most honest experience and for unexplained reasons almost made me cry.

The boat was delayed then overcrowded as it was the last one to Athens before the workweek. We were trapped in the formerly perfect partially outdoor area with chain smokers. I unscrewed the top of our wine as soon as we departed, stepping out to get fresh air and watch the sun set. I scored a few paper espresso cups from the bar and we had our own little party.

Arriving in Athens at a bit after 11, we pushed past the taxi drivers claiming that the metro was closed, I knew better. We made the second to last train to Thissio. Through silent streets we arrived back at City Circus, showered and fell into bed.

The next morning we stuffed ourselves silly with the same bountiful brunch that we gushed over the first day. We gathered our things and said goodbye. I walked into the busy café across the street and ordered sandwiches and treats for us for our long journey. They were so kind and patient, and if I’m being truthful my most favorite things to feel just this much more local is go to the supermarket and a café at rush hour. Though truth be told, there is no such thing in Greece.

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