One of the best parts of traveling abroad, for me, has always been tied to the connections you make.
The notion that somewhere across the ocean are people totally different than you and yet absolutely the same perplexes, fascinates and makes me giddy.
The second part of this week, we found ourselves on the Greek Isle Naxos, about a 2 hour ferry ride (cruise) from Ios.
Naxos is a small island known for local wines and a family atmosphere. We figured that after the insanity of Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, we could use a few relaxing days.
By the time Tuesday came around and it was time to say goodbye to Ios though, we weren’t ready and even considered an extended stay.
After a quick mental pro and con list (over morning cocktails), we decided to press ahead as planned.
Today we’re pretty thrilled we did.
On Naxos we found an authenticity missing from the other more touristy islands.
Naxos isn’t the top beach party destination or the most well-known romantic spot on the Aegean so it draws a smaller crowd.
The old town has old passageways and stone streets with charming character. The beaches are incredibly beautiful and the hotels, beach bars and restaurants are all family-run. Food is fresh and goats roam the exterior of our hotel. Travelers come from all around the world and have a habit of coming back year after year. The greetings between locals and visitors are akin to a family reunion.
Unfortunately for us, this time of year is still considered low season and beaches were largely empty.
It was time to adapt to this new atmosphere and plus…
We wanted in on the family fun.
Within an hour we had located the oldest beach bar and restaurant on Plaka beach and decided to grab a drink.
About 6 hours later we were still there, with local liquor shots, sangria and vodka drinks, laughing with the owners – two brothers -, their extended families and their friends (visitors to the island with whom they now spend every Christmas in England).
We talked and told stories as if we’d known each other for years.
It’s incredible to know that strangers with completely different lives, languages and backgrounds can come together uninhibited and laugh their asses off for an entire afternoon.
Also – the Ukrainian girl inside was thrilled for confirmation: vodka can bring anyone together.