God how awful Athens Airport is. We'd booked Olympic Airways all the way to Naxos, but had to change planes at Athens. Just a couple of hours to wait on the way, not too bad. The nightmare was to be on the way back home in a fortnight's time, but for now we were happy that our baggage was booked all the way through, so we didn't have to wrestle with it as we made our way from international arrivals to domestic departures.
Short onward domestic flight to Naxos, fairly low so we got a good look at the islands that we passed on the way.
Half an hour's drive to our room in the Iria Apartments, in the village of Agia Anna, on the west of the island, with the bus stop, a couple of small supermarkets, a cocktail bar, and lots of good tavernas within a few minutes walking distance.
Although there was an adequate beach in the centre of the village, we preferred the fantastic beach a few minutes walk south - beautiful, deep, soft, golden sand, quiet and not built behind. We saw that it was possible to get an all-over tan there. It was a bit stony off the beach, but you could swim off the rocks at the end of the beach.
After a day or so the meltemi blew solidly for a week, so for several days we went by bus further south to the beaches round Aliko, where it was possible to find shelter.
The bus service on Naxos is famous throughout Greece for its punctuality. One day we took the bus to the pretty mountain village of Filoti - well worth a visit. We also sat by the harbour in Naxos town for a beer.
We took a day trip by boat from the harbour at Agia Anna down to a beautiful remote beach at Ormos Kalandou, where a beach barbecue was set up. On the way back we stopped off at a scenic cove for a swim in the clear water.
Everybody congregated on the beach to watch the Sun set over Paros. Just as the lower rim of the sun touched the mountains of Paros, the
cocktail bar by the harbour started playing "Also sprach Zarathustra" (the music from the film "2001").
It was timed impeccably - just as the final chords of the introductory music crashed out round the harbour, the last rays of the sun winked out as it dropped behind Paros. The entire beach burst into spontaneous applause !
On the way home, the nightmare - an air traffic controller's strike meant that we waited at Athens airport for 12 hours for our plane. Complete chaos - nowhere to sit except the floor, and only determined and lengthy arguments with the airport staff by some of the more voluble passengers produced a meal and something to drink.
Nevertheless, a wonderful holiday - we decided that this is one of the few places that we would definitely go back to.