The ferry to Naxos was the standard three tier kind with plastic seating outside to allow you to see both the islands you were leaving and those approaching. There is also air conditioned sections with a café and toilets available. I decided to wander around the boat and got chatting to an American guy who was off to Mykonos about work availability, he had heard from some other backpackers that Naxos was good work wise. I was starting to feel a bit lost on the job front so was grateful of a positive chat to start my journey to the next island.
I was met in Naxos again by the eager locals selling their rooms and this time chose an old Greek lady all in black who looked like she may be nearing her 100th birthday!. It is customary for widows in Greece to dress all in black in mourning of their husband for the rest of their lives; men on the other hand do not have this fate and will mourn the loss of a wife by spending ever increasing hours in the local Ouzery.
My little old lady had no transport (damn!) so walked me up the biggest hills around for about twenty minutes whilst I carried my heavy backpack in the midday sun, she clearly assumed after my attempt at ‘Yassoo’ that I was fluent in Greek. We eventually arrived at a very traditional, rather run down building where she walked me up stairs to my room, I paid her the agreed price, and I tried not to notice the gaping hole in the bathroom wall every time I used the shower.
My job hunt in Naxos was rather more productive and after a few leads and a couple of free drinks I got myself a job in a new bar that was just opening. All I had to do was dress up nice and pretend to be a customer whilst drinking the free drinks and chatting to other girls there for the same purpose (yes really!!) After a few nights of this and giving out flyers to tourists on the beach by day the bar had attracted enough customers for me to start waitressing. I tried to get past my ‘tray fear’ but as the bar got busier, I panicked and dropped a tray of drinks…everywhere. Highly embarrassed, I continued through the rest of the evening (minus a tray) got paid and it was mutually agreed I would not return. Fortunately I managed pick up another ‘non tray’ waitressing job in a bar that would feed me free alcohol every time a customer placed an order (result!).
I found Naxos to be very sociable and quickly found a lovely Swedish and a cheeky English girl who were renting a room and had an extra bed, so I had also made some friends and been able to cut costs by moving in with them. I was starting to feel a lot more settled here and I had even gained a furry friend called Kalamaki whose owner had died on a Greek ferry the previous year and all the local restaurant owners would feed him scraps (very, very cute!). He got into the habit of following me to work every night, disappearing for a few hours and would magically appear as I started the walk back home, he was my guardian angel in dog form and would often sleep under my bed at nights.
I found a few more jobs in Naxos, one where I would go across to neighbouring islands and sell rooms to those coming to the island (I was rubbish at this and gave up after a few days, but it did allow me to see a few more islands) and the other was PRing outside a Greek club who wanted more tourists in. This was by far my favourite job so far. I would start work at 8pm (all day to sleep off the hangovers and top up the tan) I would work outside the club chatting and offering a free shot to tourists, I got free drinks from the start, got paid for everyone that went inside and then at midnight I would collect my wages and then could drink until 4am for free!?? Anyone who has ever worked a summer overseas will understand just how jammy this job truly was!!
I loved the history element to the islands and how you would literally just stumble on ancient ruins when out exploring. By far the most famous in Naxos is Portara which translates as ‘huge door’. It is all that remains of an unfinished temple, there is some dispute as to which god this was to for but it is definitely a grand location where you can observe the town and view one of the most incredible sunsets.I was very quickly getting used to these amazing sunset views.
A few weeks rolled into a month (maybe two?), I had made lots of lovely friends then one night while PRing I met a crazy American dude (not a word I would normally use but it suited him perfectly) who we will call Cody and he told me his next venture was Crete, apparently the job market there was immense and he offered me to join him on his journey. I was having an amazing time in Naxos and could have happily spent the rest of the summer there but I was eager to venture further into my island hopping too. A week later I decided to follow suit and we both caught the overnight ferry to Crete sleeping on a fairly comfy row of seats, I urged myself not to worry that my new friend might chop me up and feed me to the fish as I was going to have to learn to trust him on the basis we had already planned to split costs and share accommodation on arrival in Crete!
(The final part 4 to follow soon!)