Wanted: Poseidon Adventure

This blog entry about the events of Saturday, September 09, 2006 was originally posted on September 11, 2006.

DAY 16:Poseidon, King of the Seas in Greek mythology, is a deity so powerful that he can take Hollywood remakes baring his name and turn them into box office duds.  (Seriously, that was in theaters for only about two weeks.)  As King of the Seas, he is responsible for many seafaring adventures, and the one I was looking for was to be a bit tamer than The Perfect Storm.

I thought that organizing a fishing trip like I’d seen on Globe Trekker would be a straightforward affair — for some Greeks, fishing is a way of life and seafood is on the menu of every restaurant — but I was soon discovering it was not.  I made some inquiries at other places before with no luck, and I did again in Naxos Town.  I asked British expat Stuart about fishing the night before, and he regretted not having any fishing contacts.  He told me to just check out the official Naxos information office, but they told me there was nothing that could be arranged.  I asked different tour agencies, but they too were no help.  I thought about asking the family at the seafood restaurant I’d been introduced to the night before, but they were closed on Sunday.

And then I stumbled upon Dolphins, a family-run restaurant in the old port where a funny, friendly, and charming old man sat at a table on the promenade, greeting anyone walking by like a jovial grandfather.  He knew several languages and tried to make friends with everyone in their respective tongues, so that he could invite them into the restaurant.

His English got me in the doorway, to the outdoor seating area, where I dined on a mixed fish platter of red mullet, squid, and other small fish.  I figured that restaurants were the link between non-Greek speaking tourists like me and seafood-supplying fishermen and I asked the old man — Gregory was his name — about the fishing boats.  He poured me a complimentary ouzo.

“I have two fishing boats,” he told me, pointing to the marina.  “[A small one… the red.  And a bigger one.  In blue.]”

“Do you catch octopus?”

“Yes!  Every morning we go fishing at five o’clock in the morning, come back at eleven.  Fresh fish for lunch,” he told me.  “Then at three, we go and come back at six.  Fresh fish for dinner.”

My eyes widened; it wasn’t three o’clock yet.

“[But] not today.  The weather is not good.”  Looking out to see, I saw that the waves were rough and the winds were picking up.  Aeolus, King of the Winds, was play-fighting with Poseidon.  “Maybe tomorrow.”

“Can I go?”

“It’s at five o’clock in the morning,” he warned.

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

“Okay,” Gregory told me.  “Come back here tonight at ten o’clock or eleven [to see if we are going in the morning.]  If not, you get one ouzo from Gregory.”

I HAD A WHOLE AFTERNOON and evening to kill, and so I went out to explore old Naxos Town, another former Venetian settlement.  Like Santorini’s Fira, it too was a labyrinth of alleyways and archways, filled with houses, shops, boutiques, but without the designer labels.  I don’t know if it was because it was Sunday or if the tourist season was winding down, or if Naxos Town was simply not as touristy as other island towns I’d been to, but it was actually quite pleasant, being evidently a not-so-beaten path.  Wondering around, I saw that produce markets replaced Fira’s Camper stores.  I saw kids playing in the streets near their houses.  Some areas were almost deserted; I’d wondered where everyone was as I got lost in the maze of streets

Outside the maze, I saw the Metropolis church and the northern shoreline of crashing waves where things were not looking good for any possible fishing (picture above).  I went to the Archaeological Museum, holding a collection of Naxos artifacts, and even spent some time sipping on a Citron drink at Agios Giorgios Beach.

The most impressive site of the day was at the Venetian Museum, a fully-restored aristocratic house built in the garrison of Naxos’ castle, where the descendants of the the Della Rocca Barozzi family still lived and maintained the grounds.  More than a museum of rocks collecting dust, it was an impressive collection of things acquired by the French/Italian-Venetians families, displayed in each of the rooms to retaining their 700-year-old history:  the sitting room, the chapel, and the dining room (sporting corkscrews from every century since the 12th.)  More than a throwback to the past, the Della Rocca Barozzi family used their lower floors for an art museum, showcasing the work of current Naxos artists.  To make the whole thing classy, they pumped classical music throughout, and to make it even classier, they ended their tours with complimentary drinks.

Out classing that was the fact that the museum also held classical concerts in an adjacent yard at nights, this one with an attractive selling point

underlined on the bottom of their flyer.  With that read, I bought a ticket to the show, an evening showcase of traditional Naxos unlimited

booze.  Oh, and traditional music and dance — not to be confused with the shows you may see in some of the restaurants.  Striving to be authentic — it was a museum after all — they distinguished themselves to other shows that weren’t really Greek.  (Lotus-Eating Romanian Mitch pointed out that one music set in Perissa Beach was fake; the “Greek” music the tourists were listening to was actually standard Gypsy music, a culture not specific to any one country.)

The musicians played their guitars and fiddles and bagpipe-like instruments (I forget the name), and the dancers danced in traditional garb, even drinking in between sets for the added authenticity.  We watched and clapped and drank

unlimited local wine and drinks, while a plastic barrier kept us away from Aeolus’ increasing winds.  Not surprisingly, the show ended with group participation, a dance circle, a combination of square dancing and a conga line, with dos-y-doing and skipping under each other’s chain of arms.  Nikolas, the emcee of the evening (looking a bit like Brian Johnson of AC/DC) was a class act as well, handing hecklers with finesse (yes, there was a rude, old British heckler that everyone hated), encouraging us to drink more of the unlimited

drinks, and making us feel good about ourselves for being there.  “[You are not like the other tourists.  We are here, away from the noisy motos, and the ouzo places, discos and bars because you actually have an interest in our culture.]”

THIS “OTHER KIND OF TOURIST” left the museum and head back to the Dolphins restaurant to see if Poseidon had triumphed over Aeolus for a little fishing adventure.

“Very bad weather tomorrow,” Gregory informed me.  I had a feeling that was coming.

“It’s okay, I’ll eat here anyway.”  Gregory served me marinated octopus and an ouzo as I wondered if I would go fishing at all before I left — but at least I gave it a shot.  Poseidon and Aeolus continued on, dos-y-doing the night away, with


drinks if they had any luck.

Next entry: When You’re Here, You’re Family

Previous entry: The Lotus-Eaters

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “Wanted: Poseidon Adventure”

  • Here’s another before I go into the N.I.Z. (No Internet Zone) for a day.
    Stay tuned!

    SCOTT: Ha, last time I passed out on the beach, my wallet and camera got
    stolen. Good times…

    FUNCHILDE: Really glad to hear that. Honestly. Just when I was getting
    tired and thinking that maybe this travel blogging isn’t worth it, too.
    (It’s exhausting.)

    Yes, there IS growth of insight and experience as I continue on and get
    older. Maybe if I blog every trip I do from here on out, I’ll have
    enough material as a whole to edit down when I get to be about Bill
    Bryson’s age. Thanks again!

    JESSICA: There you are. I was wondering if you were reading at all…
    Thanks for that; that is GREAT FUCKING NEWS.

    2!!! OHPAA!!!

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • Opa! Glad you got to do a little “authentic” Greek dancing. LOAP - elv

    Posted by Anonymous  on  09/11  at  04:54 PM

  • What a cool place???thanks for taking part in the authentic Greece for
    your readers(and for your thirst for unlimited booze).

    Posted by Dan 3  on  09/11  at  05:15 PM

  • I really hope you get to go fishing, and that you can reel in a big
    octopus. I think you have to beat the octopus on a rock afterwards,
    maybe to tenderize it, I have no idea. I saw fishermen doing that and it
    was kind of gross. Maybe you can get to the bottom of that for me.

    Also, this is just a random thought - I was kind of entertained by Greek
    pop music because no matter what it sounds like at first, they always
    manage to put a bouzouki guitar in there.

    Posted by sara  on  09/11  at  05:54 PM

  • so what does everyone think the bait for an octopus[sy]??

    yeah, i said…

    Posted by markyt  on  09/11  at  08:22 PM

  • Of course I’m reading! Since you aren’t around to entertain me after
    work, I’m getting my fix at work!

    Posted by Jessica  on  09/11  at  10:37 PM

  • Wow! The picture “Sanotrini Night” is totally amazing….it doesn’t look
    real. (My new wallpaper, thanks!) More alleyways, I love it. They would
    make a great coffee table book!

    Posted by Janice  on  09/12  at  01:06 AM

  • This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Posted by tallgirl

  • That town sounds fun. Those waves would have put me over the side…
    good that they were smart enough to not go out in that.

    And - have no idea what guitar hero 2 is - you’ll have to let us(maybe
    it’s only me, but not sure) know what it is.

    Posted by tallgirl

  • Oh - I totally forgot to ask you what I wanted to: What kind of camera
    are you using?

    Posted by tallgirl

  • GREETINGS FROM BACK IN NAXOS TOWN… I’m exhausted from windsurfing
    lessons, but I plan on cranking through the night to get the latest
    entries up before Greece comes to a close. I take the ferry to the
    mainland tomorrow, and then off to Germany…

    The As to the Qs:
    SARA/MARKYT: Everyone tells me that octopuses (octopi?) are caught by
    spearfishing… They are attracted to lights at night time, so they are
    lured to the boats that way.

    TALLGIRL: Sony DSC-T9. Finally went higher than 1.0 mpxl this time. BTW,
    Guitar Hero is pretty much the greatest party video game ever made…

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • hey, forgot to tell you, i have some buds at october fest as of
    tomorrow. they couldnt find a hotel so they are camping. just a heads up.

    Posted by chez lounge  on  09/12  at  06:38 PM

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This blog post is one of twenty-five travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: Tomatoes, Grease & Beer" (originally hosted by Blogger.com), which chronicled a trip to Spain's wild Tomatina festival, Greece's awe-inspiring islands, and Munich's world-renowned Oktoberfest in August/September 2006.

Next entry:
When You’re Here, You’re Family

Previous entry:
The Lotus-Eaters


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