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As an alternative to the usual boring facts and statistics of travel reviews I have comprised a review based on my personal experiences and observations to try to give the reader a 'feel' for the island and what a holiday on Lesvos can or could include. Readers of my previous travel reviews know I am an avid fan of Greece and its numerous islands. Here we are going to explore Lesvos, or Lesbos as it sometimes called. Let the story begin………..
The volume increased as we climbed higher and higher. The ground giving way to white and grey visual explosions of cloud, littered with glimpses of brown and green squares dotted with lines that were only a few minutes ago, fields, roads and rail lines. Quickly these faded into a blur of distended shapes and colours as we gained more height, away from the depressive weather that hung over the countryside like a black curtain darkening a room. Living in Britain can be likened to living with a beautiful woman who is constantly sick. I settled into my seat as we cleared the cloud cover and entered a bright blaze of blue light, far above the dreary landscape below. Soon, all thoughts of wind, cloud and rain had escaped my memory, replaced by my own pleasant perceptions of the different world I was about to enter as I fell gently into a twilight world of semi-consciousness.
When I awoke, the bright blue had been replaced by a haze of cloudless blue covering the landscape below. Mountains, lakes, rivers, pastures, fields, and roads like arteries criss-crossing the vista far below all merging into one divulgence of blurred shapes. Soon the ground gave way to the azure turquoise blue sparkling clear waters of the Mediterranean soon unobtrusively merging into the Aegean and reflecting gently upwards towards me dotted with wisps of white foam from the passing ships.
The engines changed tone as our descent began towards Lesvos, the third largest of the Greek islands and the fourth I have visited. Turning south beyond the capitol Mytiline and back out across the sea, turning again to begin our approach, the airport and runway were clearly visible but appeared little more than an outpost stranded in a desert.
As the cabin doors opened and we made our exit from the aircraft a cauldron of heat filled the aircraft cabin like a hot oven door being opened. After experiencing sixty degrees in England for some days, this was almost torturous in its force and effect on my frail human body. We had arrived.
Previously hiring a car on the internet from Economycars.com before our journey started at 320Euros for two weeks, we made our way to the car hire desk to collect our keys. Five minutes later we were on our way north to our apartment destination of Molyvos.
Molyvos is unmistakable with a huge castle dating back to the 12th century dominating the town and surrounding countryside from the hill it lies on. An ancient titan bringing protection and life to those around it. Looking out over the sea it is a spectacular vantage point for some superb panoramas including the Turkish mainland, clearly visible just five kilometers away. The evening was spent with a walk through the town stocking up with supplies for the apartment. Mini-markets rather than supermarkets are the general denominator as the latter seem non-existent all over Lesvos except in the major towns and there are less than a handful of those.
One cobbled main street dominates Molyvos with the usual restaurants, trinket and tourist shops. Other paths and staircases lead down to beachside bars, the beach, and very picturesque harbour. Old cobbled streets lead upwards in a steep incline to the Molyvos marketplace with some unusual shops and galleries.
Parking in the daytime and early evening did not seem to be a problem, but later the streets are sealed off to visitors and only designated car parks are used, all are free. Food seemed to be at comparable rates to the UK and with alcohol generally slightly cheaper. However, specialist drinks such as Bacardi Breezers are more expensive. Petrol is marginally cheaper at around 1.10-1.20 GBP a litre but with the worldwide oil price situation this is obviously subject to unpredictable change. Cigarettes are a lot cheaper at around two pounds seventy for a packet of 20.
The evening was rounded off with a few beers on our balcony and a satisfactory ending to a tiring day.
Staying at the Panselinos apartments on a Thomas Cook holiday we awoke to an invitation for a welcome gathering. We long ago decided to forego these meetings and see them as just another way for the travel company to get more of your money. The trips are usually coach orientated, overpriced, and seem to be an endless plethora of picking up, and dropping people off. Local agents can usually accommodate the same trip or excursion for half the price with far less waiting around.
One point that I feel is important to mention is that it had already become abundantly clear that for a holiday in Lesvos and to see the island properly a car is a necessity. Only if you are a sun worshipper, or sit by the pool for the duration of your holiday can you do without one. Anywhere on this island is reachable within one and quarter hours by car. Buses are infrequent on longer destinations although locally the service is cheap and reliable albeit not very often. However many hotels and apartment complexes do offer their own bus shuttle services to nearby towns and beaches.
Leaving the apartments after a late breakfast we headed for Efdalou and the famous hot springs. Having never experienced naturally heated mineral water spouting from the earth it was something I was looking forward to. You have a choice of a private bath tub or the public baths. The public bath is 4 euros and the private bath is 5 euros. There are 6 private baths and they are popular so you may have to wait. You get 20 minutes in a private bath or 45 minutes in the public one. The water is a murky dirty brown colour, caused by the high mineral content and is said to have healing properties. It's also mildly radioactive. With temperatures approaching 40 degrees centigrade outside you have to be somewhat of a fool to immerse yourself in water approaching 43 degrees but immerse ourselves we did and it is quite an experience. I suppose you could liken it to having a sauna. A cold shower tap is available for cooling down during or after your bath and you will need it. Upstairs, a very good alternative therapist makes her living with Massages, Reiki, Aromatherapy, and charges around 30 euros for the pleasure.
The beaches along this piece of coast are predominantly shingle but have small sections of sand and rock. Parking is easy, widespread, and the beaches are relatively quiet. The problem is not actually getting into the water, but getting out, so wear beach friendly shoes.
Petra was on the agenda for the evening and this town is just 6 kilometers from Molyvos. A long flat road with the beach touching the edge of the tarmac with shops and a church high above the town amply describes this location. The whole town becomes a hive of activity during the evening with a bazaar like market and is sealed off to traffic after 8pm. As with Molyvos designated car parks have to be used. Shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and a sprinkling of small beachside clubs seemed to make this much more appealing to the younger generation without the quad and motorbike mania so common on other larger Greek islands. There seemed to be plenty of Greek native families clearly outnumbering the tourists and all joining in the carnival atmosphere.
After breakfast and a morning swim we decided to go exploring in the car. It had already become evident that the roads were very similar to Kefalonia in that there were a limited number, and most were mountainous switchbacks with a distinct lack of straight lines. It was almost impossible to get into fifth gear and most driving was done in third. The only classification of roads on Lesvos are primary roads of which there are only four, two of them go to the capitol Mytiline, and the other two transverse the Northern part of the island. The others are called carriage roads and can be comprised of dirt, dust, rocks, and tarmac, with some sections of concrete. Don't be fooled, a lot of them, especially leading to off the beaten track beaches, are high level dead ends with no barriers and can be dangerous if you don't take care.
Driving through Petra and onto Anaxos which seemed to be a smaller version of Petra we headed high into the mountains. There was not much to visit apart from a couple of Monasteries including the richest one in Greece at Limonos. However women are not allowed into the actual Monastery, just the outbuildings. At all the Monasteries in Lesvos men and women must cover their shoulders and knees.
From here we went to Vatousa, built on top of a former dome of an old volcano, and lying in the middle of a six kilometer wide ancient caldera, although apart from the fantastic views from the top there was really not much to see. We choose a different route for our return and visited Skalohori where we stopped for a short rest and a drink. The town was very traditional Greek, the café packed with men playing cards with no sign of a female anywhere. We had also noticed there seemed to be a distinct lack of tourists and the traffic was very light.
A visit to the beach at Efdalou and some snorkeling, which was outstanding amongst the rocks and eddies concluded the day.
Taking it easy, rather than my usual charging around like a March hare wanting to see everything was being put into practice with a leisurely breakfast and swim after a pre-holiday warning from the wife about 'chilling out'. In the early afternoon we drove towards Efdalou but this time we continued onto the dirt track described as a carriage road. Shake, rattle and roll off the side if you are not careful on this rollercoaster, bone shaking seven kilometer journey to the beach village of Skala Sikamineas. With a tiny white church perched on a huge rock like a lone white albatross on a crag, and barely able to hold ten people, let alone a priest, it stood like a majestic beacon brightly reflected in the afternoon sun.
The village itself with its tiny harbour and selection of Tavernas and restaurants, and fisherman going about their daily business, gave you a feeling of calm tranquility. Together with the Octopi hanging on lines in the sun to dry this was very definitely a traditional Greek village.
After spending some time here we returned to the apartments through the mountains and more of those devilish switchbacks passing Sikaminea, Lepethmnos, Argenos, and Vafios. Above Lepethmnos there is an abandoned village of houses and stores which you can see from the road which was abandoned in the sixties due to landslides and heavy rains.
I had started to realize that Lesvos was not like the other three Greek islands I had visited previously. This was a much less commercialised island and considering it was August I expected it to be a much livelier place. There were much less children, certainly less teenagers, motorbikes, and quad bikes, and a seeming abundance in numbers of natives outnumbering the tourists. Lesvos was starting to hold a rustic unique individual mysticism for me, and it was a feeling I was really starting to enjoy.
In the mood for exploring we headed west in the car with the intention of visiting the petrified prehistoric forest near Sigri. The journey was a myriad of mountain switchbacks, and hugely differing fauna and landscapes. From green valleys, rocky gorges, volcano craters, flat fields, flowers, and trees, to alien planet resembling plains of heat scorched earth it was certainly a fiesta of aesthetic panoramic diversity.
The Petrified Forest Park was two euros to enter for adults and children alike but be warned it is very hot and vulnerable to the full power of the sun. The vegetation or lack of it certainly gave this eerie landscape a feel of the death and destruction that unleashed itself on this part of the island twenty million years ago. Not much has changed. Even the basic toilets are prehistoric as just holes in the floor.
Sigri is the nearest town and has a castle sitting quaintly on a rocky outcrop above the town. The natural harbour protected by the island of Megalonisi looks like it's far too big for the purpose it is used. Only a few small boats were moored here. The beach which lies to the east of the town is small but lively and we didn't stop. On the hill overlooking the harbour lies an old windmill renovated into a house. The town appeared deserted as we drove through and only the sole taverna had any occupants. On the hill opposite the windmill sits the museum of the Petrified Forest.
After leaving Sigri we headed for Skala Eresou a beach resort which appeared to be progressively commercialising. A long sandy beach and a fresh water lagoon holding large turtles seemed to be the attraction but of the turtles there was no sign. The beach was busy with plenty of parking and lots of tents and campers with some water sports and beachside cafes.
After an ice cream and a drink we returned through the mountains to the apartment via an ancient volcanic river bed with some interesting rock formations. The feeling of rustic mysticism was joined by a feeling that Lesvos is not for the traveler who indulges in the extravagant bonanzas of theme parks, aqua parks, fun fairs, or large tourist sites, but more for the tranquil enjoyment of nature and tradition at its best. In fact Lesvos has no theme parks or any aqua parks and the Petrified Forest is the only officially listed tourist site on the island.
I was tired and the heat seemed to have taken on a new intensity with raised humidity. We decided to drive to the castle at Molyvos then find a beach and sit under a tree. Entrance to the castle is 2 euros each and affords great views to Petra, Anaxos, and Molyvos town. The Turkish mainland is clearly visible and the panoramas are awesome. However we lasted all of five minutes before the heat got the better of us and we went and found a tree to shelter from the unrelenting heat of the sun. Quite often there is a breeze, especially in the evenings but it doesn't really give much relief to the heat. A good suggestion for the traveler is to put a litre bottle of water in the fridge icebox overnight and take this with you the next day. It can give instant relief as a cooler and you will also have a cold drink if no shops can be found, are isolated, or its siesta time.
For the disabled I was surprised to find some ramps clearly marked at some beaches which allow you to take wheelchairs to the waters edge. They are not widespread but we saw two in Petra, and one in Molyvos.
Internet facilities are widespread, and in Petra and Molyvos there is a 24 hour Doctor and Pharmacy. You can buy a lot of drugs in Greece from the pharmacies that would need a prescription in England and cost a lot of money. If you need to top up and save yourself some money then ask if they are available. I use Allopurinol for gout and it costs me nearly seven pounds a month from the Doctor. In Lesvos it was two pounds for the identical drug. There is only one hospital on Lesvos and it is in the capitol Mytiline although other towns do have clinics which could best be described as walk-in centres.
For the rest of the day we swam and rested.
Off on another mission of exploration we headed south towards the town of Kalloni. Located inland it is the beginning of a large flat area of highly fertile agricultural terrain. The trip to Kalloni also contained some nice flat straight sections of road, the first I had experienced and a chance to drive faster. Two kilometers after Kalloni begins the bay of Kalloni, one of two large saltwater inlets on Lesvos. The area contains some superb bird watching, and free lookouts for many migrating birds from Africa to Europe. There is also a salt works which contains many unusually shaped water traps.
The scenery once again changed type, shape and colour, sometimes dramatically and was an unfettered amalgam of natural and unspoilt beauty. Continuing south to the far side of the bay we drove through thick green pine forests with perfectly straight avenues that would put a modern city to shame. Pyramids of rock built by ancient settlers, and mile upon mile of deserted untouched beaches bordered by huge reeds resembling triffids. We stopped at a café in a small village called Achladeri and embraced the moment.
Returning towards Kalloni we quickly visited a hot spring at Livorno but decided it was too hot and the site lacked appeal, being at the end of a road in the middle of nowhere manned by four Greek men. Instead we divulged ourselves with a swim in the deserted bay and the tepid shallow clear blue waters.
Refreshed and ready to return we drove through the now deserted town of Kalloni stopping for an ice cream and a drink. It was siesta time and Lesvos enters a gentle ambient sleepy slumber with the inhabitants sensibly retreating into their shaded abodes. With the sun releasing its deadly rays, the air conditioning fan struggling to cope, whining like a demented demon, it is only tourists like ourselves who are foolhardy enough to continue our quest into the sun.
Dalia, Arisvi, Keramio, and Vassilika were all villages we drove through en-route but there was nothing outstanding or special that stood out for a mention.
In the evening we relaxed and visited Molyvos for our evening jaunt and booked seats for the open air cinema and bar which shows English speaking films every day at 21.30. So on Sunday night we are off to the cinema to watch Mamma Mia and get drunk at the same time. Beer has got to be better than popcorn.
Our return to the apartment had some excitement as we passed an olive grove, and someone who I can only consider a fool had thrown a cigarette from their passing car and set light to a field which also had grazing horses. I phoned the fire brigade on 199 and helped some Greek locals fight the fire until they arrived.
After a very enjoyable day we had lived life on the wild side with a grand finale.
This was a day of unbridled rest and recreation. We investigated and discussed the availability of alternate things to do. For your interest there are donkey safaris, both during daylight and night time. For the water lovers, sunset and starlight cruises, fishing trips, diving trips, and boat BBQs. For the very adventurous a day in Turkey which is 50 euros plus another 20 if you visit the ancient ruins at Pergamon, but includes lunch. It is a long day starting at 7am and returning at 10pm. There are off road jeep safaris into the mountains for the more adventurous drivers. For the ladies there are shopping trips to the capitol Mytiline and visits to traditional villages for handbags and shoes. The more unusual are one day traditional cooking courses in a remote village, and coach trips to the villages looking at more obscure crafts. Alternative therapies seem to be common, for example yoga in the mountains and beach group therapy.
Not surprisingly there are many hot water springs around the island as Lesvos sits on a huge volcanic rift crossing the Aegean and Mediterranean, some are remote, others well known and easy to access. Monasteries are in abundance although most are out of the way and located on dirt tracks but some of the constructions are quite magnificent. There are also some old archeological sites but certainly not on a grandiose scale of Crete's Knossos. The locations are much smaller and most can be visited and studied in a few minutes. These are predominantly Roman and Byzantium.
Beaches are plentiful and of every type. Long, short, small, large, sandy, rocky, shingle, isolated, shallow, deep, lively, shady or sunny, they are all here. We had no problem at all on our whole holiday finding a comfortable space, or a quiet beach almost at will at any time of the day.
After sleeping, reading and swimming in the pool all day we were more relaxed than a pair of paralytic drunks after a party.
Energised by our previous days rest and relaxation, and rising for an early breakfast we decided to visit the castle at Molyvos we had abandoned previously due to the heat. This time we managed to circumvent the whole building even though the heat was unrelenting. I would recommend a visit as it has a long history and provides excellent material for the photographers amongst you. Try to get there early or late in the day. It opens at 8am and closes at 7.30pm although during the summer there are quite often musical concerts and stage plays until late. Tickets are generally around 10 Euros.
We returned to the apartment for refreshments and a cool down before it was back in the car and off to explore once more.
This time we headed East towards Palios and the site of some ancient sculptured graves. However after navigating several remote dirt tracks we were unable to locate them. After doubling back on our tracks we followed a road to a little known village called Tsonia. Little known it might be to tourists but the Greeks certainly know about it and what a hidden paradise it turned out to be. The roads to this place were very erratic turning from dirt track to cobbles, tarmac carriageway, and back to dirt with what must have been a one in three incline thrown in for good measure. Just as you think the road enters a dead end with a narrowed stretch of dirt track it opens up into the most wonderful secluded beach imaginable.
With a surprisingly modern car park and beach fronted area the beach is approximately half a kilometer wide in a wide shaped curve with a small harbour at one end and a collection of rocks terminating the other. It was comprised of coarse red sand with two Taverna's, one in the beach front area, and the other half way down the beach actually nestling onto the sand. There could not have been more than fifty people inhabiting the sand and it had plenty of shade with pine and olive trees lining the beach, and some actually growing on it. We swam and snorkeled with some lovely wide variations of sea life and I would highly recommend this beach to anyone visiting Lesvos with or without a snorkel.
After an afternoon of dreamy blissful relaxation without hordes of people spoiling the atmosphere we decided to have a meal in the beach Taverna. Rustic once again came to mind with this family run establishment quaintly called 'Noakes Nest' with the Mater older than the island itself and the lines on her face to prove it. Daughter almost matched her with a face like an ancient coin but she was clearly the chef. Grandson took the orders, and all this awhile the Mater looked on with a watchful eye sitting silently in the corner supping her Ouzo.
With benches looking like they had been borrowed from the local church and single seats with not a match amongst them, tablecloths clearly rescued from Oxfam, the bamboo slatted roof full of holes, and old oil drums being used as giant plant pots, it was perfect.
The service was smashing and the menu surprisingly was in Greek and English although none of them understood one word of our language. The ordering was done by pointing out what we wanted.
The meal arrived and I can only say it was perfectly cooked and delivered with a bonus of free iced water and a free desert. With full stomachs, and a slow laboured walk we made our way back along the red sandy beach to the car, reluctant to leave such a perfect tranquil place, a happy and tired couple but with a promise to return.
Once again the heat got the better of me and I was lethargic and tired after a restless humid nights sleep. Even my early morning swim failed miserably to give me any motivation or alleviate my lethargy. After a short visit to Petra to book tickets for a starlight cruise (available at 19euros each) it was another day of rest and relaxation.
In the evening it was another story altogether. Invigorated by the days rest we headed for Petra once again and boarded our boat for the cruise. The boat leaves from Petra and goes firstly to Molyvos to pick up some more passengers. We decided to use Petra instead of Molyvos as the parking is easier and nearer the departure point. (Plus you get longer on the boat) From there you sail to Skala Mikaneas, the harbour with the tiny white church (Called the church of the virgin mermaid) I have previously mentioned. Here you disembark for dinner for which you have around two hours.
There was a huge added bonus with a full Greek wedding taking place on the harbour side. With colours all shades of the rainbow and more, a party atmosphere, and a band playing music on the quayside it was quite a show, and a shame we had to leave the party early.
As we left the harbour my wife had a tear in her eye but we headed into the watery darkness of a dreamy star filled ocean light hearted and happy. With luminous plankton, and flying fish accompanying us on our journey, and with bright stars shining the way it was a most enjoyable romantic ending to a nice evening as we got lost in our own starry thoughts.
Those thoughts were brought swiftly back to earth with our arrival in the harbour at Petra where we were welcomed with a gypsy encampment which had taken up residence on the sidewalk. Our car was surrounded by two trucks, and three tents, with a laid out blanket inhabited by several men, a queue of beer bottles, and several women obviously cosy and ready for a good nights sleep. A sleeping child hung from the back of one of the trucks and after a look of resignation from one of the younger men, a truck was moved and we were on our way. This was just another example of the laid back attitude of the population of this island as I thought "if they were any more laid back, they would fall over".
Another day of rest as the wife was not feeling too good. We ate a meal in the apartment complex and as in most of the establishments the menus are very alike. Daily specials are common and fish is high on the list. A meal for two with a drink each is between twenty and twenty five pounds wherever you eat. Meat dishes comprise mainly of chicken or pork, but other meats such as beef and veal are available. There are very few takeaways with only pizza seeming to be easy to obtain. There are plenty of vegetarian dishes for the healthier eater. There are no Macdonald's restaurants, and no sign of a Chinese or Indian.
The day ended with a visit to the open air cinema to see Mamma Mia and it is an enlightening experience to say the least. Picture and sound quality were quite poor compared to the high level technology we expect in England. The outside traffic added to the background noise, sometimes making it difficult to hear low level talking, and the local dogs took part in the soundtrack with regular barking at some inopportune moments. Regardless of the technical merit or lack of it, there was really something special about the ambient relaxed atmosphere and it was a very enjoyable evening not least the fact the film was based on a Greek island and we had seen almost a copycat real wedding featured in the film the night before.
Having booked some alternative therapy at the Efdalou mineral spring with the therapist I have previously spoken about called Patricia Chalkley. It was with some trepidation but an open mind as usual that I entered the room. Patricia is about forty year's old, very attractive and feminine mannered lady. The therapy I had chosen was called an intuitive session at 45 euros a session. This was loosely based I felt on a hybrid of Reiki, with Chakra readings using a crystal. Not wishing to divulge my personal information Patricia was fairly accurate with some of the information she gave me and spot on with others. Following this was a very sensuous massage starting with the feet, progressing to the hands. Patricia talks to you throughout the session about your life, what could be changed and things to improve it. This depends of course on what Chakra's are out of balance. Although some of it I felt was obvious it was very relaxing and certainly not rushed. In fact the session overran by twenty minutes. To complete the session I had a back massage finished off with some Indian head massage. Well worth the money and I recommend it if you want to indulge yourself. As she says in her brochure, there are 168 hours in a week, why shouldn't one of those be yours. I suppose you are saying any male with an attractive woman sensuously touching your body is going to say he enjoyed it. Well my wife is very definitely female and she agreed with me. You can reach Patricia at littlehummingbirds.com
The afternoon was spent on the beach, and later a visit to Molyvos including our first attendance on the beach. I must stress that I was extremely disappointed with the rocky, dusty waterfront, and it was probably the worst beach I had seen to date on the island.
The rest of the evening was spent getting ready for the upcoming trip to Turkey and an early night.
As Turkey is not part of the review I feel the visit does not warrant a commentary. However for those of you that do consider this trip if you visit Lesvos, here are some quick facts. You leave at approximately 7am and return at 10pm depending on your pick up location. It is very hot and tiring. You will need to be fit enough to climb steep steps in the midday sun if you visit the ruins at Pergamon, and later a rudimentary lunch is provided. An extra itinerary visit is added to a carpet making factory you are not told about until you have arrived in Turkey. The day is made up approximately of seven and a half hours on the various coaches, four hours on the boat, one and a half hours in the port, forty minutes for lunch, half an hour in the carpet factory, and an hour at the Pergamon ruins. For this pleasure you will be charged 70 euros. Take a hat and plenty of water. This trip is definitely not recommended for children.
All good things have to come to an end and as it was our last day we went back to the beach at Tsonia to once again savour this wonderful setting as we had promised ourselves.
In the evening we visited Molyvos for some final shopping and top up the duty free, which is getting increasingly difficult to find bargains due to the standardisation of the EEC. The Molyvos tourist shops proved to be very expensive and apart from the usual old tat we all collect from time to time to remind us of visits to these places, jewellery was extremely expensive. Shoes, shirts, and clothes in general were also expensive. We did not find anything that was unusual or unique.
The final day and the journey home. After a hearty breakfast and the last of the packing, (I had acquired some fisherman's netting for my garden I stuffed into my case) we started the journey to the airport with the knowledge we would be there first. Mytiline airport is manic. With a very small departure lounge with less than 100 seats and faced with a two hour delay we booked our luggage into the departure desk and evacuated ourselves to the beach. The beach is literally across the road.
Two hours later the aircraft taxied slowly to its take off position on the runway. The roaring sound of a fully throttling pair of Rolls Royce engines filled the air of the cabin as the aircraft released its brakes. Momentum built quickly as the giant metal bird soared almost effortlessly into the air and back towards England with its clouds, rain and wind………………………………………………………….
Lesvos had a real affect on me. It is somewhere that will remain in my memory for a long time. From its unique contrasting natural beauty, to its rustic mystical charm and tradition it seems to have a distinctive, diverse, gently vibrant aura.
From my initial reservations about booking a holiday to one of the more obscure Greek islands, I can honestly say it resulted in the most relaxing holiday I have ever had in my life.
In my opinion this island is not for the party going night lifer. It is not for the energy sapping easily bored teenager. It is for the sun lover, the pool lover, and for people wanting to relax. It is for the driver, the photographer, and the nature lover.
Facts and figures
Lesvos is the third largest Greek island. It is the largest in the Aegean. Temperatures rarely fall below 64 degrees. Rainfall is approximately 30 inches a year. The island has one of the highest hours of sunlight in the Aegean. We did not see a single cloud for the whole 14 day holiday. The island is mountainous with mount Olympus dominating the Northern area at 3176ft. It has been inhabited by the Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Athenians, Genoese, and latterly the Turkish Ottoman Empire which ceded it to Greece in 1912. Lesvos has eleven million olive trees and its economy apart from tourism is not surprisingly based on agriculture and especially olive oil. It has the second largest known Petrified Forest in the world. The word lesbian was derived from poems that Sappho (an inhabitant of Lesvos) composed that contains relevant material to strong female emotion directed towards other females, hence the attraction to lesbian visitors to her birthplace of Eresos. The island has a long volcanic history with many hot springs so it could be assumed Lesvos could be vulnerable to earthquakes. The last one was in 1922.
Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs seem to be part of the local community. Not the definition we have of a cuddly spoiled feline or canine curled up on the sofa, but more of an integrated cultural system joined to the human population very naturally. Dogs regularly patrol the streets unleashed and unidentified, clearly enjoying the freedom of the towns. They are all friendly and there was no sign of the more ferocious breed's common to England.
The cats seem almost part of the furniture and become just that if you allow it. We had visits from several cats and as lovers of the furry creatures, owning two of our own; we adopted and fed some of them during our stay. They are most unassuming and will not enter the apartment without an invite but they are the most affectionate ferrule cats I have ever encountered, and once you have fed them they will quite happily curl up on your lap and purr contentment as your friend. They have larger ears and tails than their British counterparts. We quite often were entertained by their antics in the evening watching them from the apartment balcony.
Detailed, topographic hiking / cycling map at scale 1:105,000. Relief colouring with spot ... more
heights and contours (50 m interval) indicate the terrain. Symbols mark archaeological sites, churches and monasteries, campsites, beaches, etc. Added is a short visitor's guide in Greek and English and a street plan of Mitilini 1:8,000. Place names are in both Greek and Latin script, multilingual legend includes English. Authentic Greek cartography, hard cover.