Promenade in Naxos
We wake up to another beautiful day with sun and a mild breeze. The morning stroll goes along the promenade to the tip of the pier. From here there is a great view to Etna, the huge and mighty volcano that dominates this island in more than one sense.
Click to enlarge
The peak is covered in snow, but a column of smoke shows that the fiery giant is just sleeping. Despite its size the volcano seems far away, but the black lava flows on the pier's southern side testify Etna's power and reach.
From the pier you also have a good view of Giardini Naxos in the bay and Taormina and Castelmola in the hills to the right. There are fishing boats in the harbour. The water is crystal clear. Divers from the Carabinieri dress in wetsuits and sail off in a dinghy. It is probably an exercise - they look pretty relaxed.
Back on the promenade we relax with an espresso at Venus Bar. When the waiter arrives with the coffee he pretends to drop a cup on Helle. Helle instinctively retreats to avoid the flow of coffee, but the cup is empty - the coffee is in his other hand. He laughs and we join him half-heartedly - he has probably performed that stunt many times. "What is the Italian word for clown?", Helle asks.
There is an ATM just beside the bar, and Helle manages to withdraw some money. It is a bit difficult, because the sun makes it almost impossible to read the screen.
At the restaurants they prepare for the lunch guests. Waiters wipe the glasses again, brush the table cloths for imaginary crumbs and fiddle with the cutlery. Helle wants to bring some almond wine back to Denmark so we visit the supermarket Sigma. We also buy Parmesan and a local Pecorino with black peppercorns.
There is a lot of traffic on the beach promenade - cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians. It is obviously a holiday. Some 30 persons on the lido enjoy the sun, play ball, flirt and do what people do on a Sicilian beach in April. However I do not see anyone in the water - it is probably too cold. It definitely does not attract us - we prefer fishes on a plate.
After lunch and siesta I wake up at three and demand ice cream! We get it at Café Chantal and eat in a race against meltdown.
The museum of natural history
The Museum of Natural History is open and it is free. There are a few fossils and shells, but most exhibits are minerals (stones and crystals) from all over the world. Many are polished and brightly coloured like stones for jewellery. My guess is that it was once a private collection.
On an empty cupboard a sign warns you not to get too close - there is a risk that the ceiling may fall down, it says. And sure enough: about a square metre of the plaster looks a bit loose, but it does not look dangerous. I would be much more concerned about the supporting pillar with deep cracks!
A female custodian asks us to please write our names in the guest book. I guess it is important to be able to document the number of visitors - the town is not crowded with traditional must-sees.
Life on the beach promenade and evening at Da Antonio's
The town is not crowded with traditional waterholes either; places where you can have a drink without plates and cutlery. However I have spotted a place, l'Isola del Gelato, close to the pen-church. We get a table on the small terrace and ask for two glasses of white wine. They are served with roasted salted corn and some delicious green olives. Three men sit in a corner. They do not drink or eat anything, and they do not say a word. They just sit. At another table some men have a lively discussion: what is the problem with Sicilian wines compared to the mainland's?
We enter Antonis' early, and that is a smart move because soon the place is full and people must wait outside to get a table. This place is really popular with the locals. Among the guests are some school children (teenagers at 13-14). They are like a bag of fleas and are very noisy. The kids' favourite pizza is one with French fries on top.
Helle and I share a table for four because I did not want to sit next to the open door. We are almost embarrassed, because at other tables people are squeezed in - but it pays off to be early. Helle gets spaghetti carbonara as primo, and I get a wonderful linguine with scampi and zucchine. The dish is arranged artistically on an oval plate with the head and claws at one end and the tail at the other.
As secondo we both get grilled swordfish with salad and slices of grilled aubergine. With this half a litre of the house white and some sparkling water. Helle gets homemade tiramisu for dessert and I get panna cotta. 50 € for the whole lot minus 10 % Startour discount is cheap.
The entire teenage population seems to be on the beach promenade Saturday evening. They gather in groups, and it is no coincidence that the groups stand in front of the ice cream shops. Horns honk and beep while we try to fall asleep.