Lesbos and Patmos, Greece (Nov 13 and 14)

Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
Trip End Dec 04, 2013

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Flag of Greece  , Dodecanese,
Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tale of two stops....
Weather report: Sunny for Lesbos, showers on Patmos. Temperatures perfect.

Lesbos, Greece: Third largest Greek island with 11 MILLION olive trees. What I would like to know is who counted them??

What everyone needs to know about olive trees: Up to the age of 20 years the tree is a twig! At the age of 40-50 years they begin to produce olives, albeit at a slow pace. A really good producer is hundreds of years old! The trees on Lesbos were first planted in the 1300s. As the lady said, you do not plant olive trees for you, it is for future generations. Most trees are owned by individual owners, not companies. Once growing olive trees take care of themselves. They need very little water and protect themselves when adverse draught conditions occur. Simple pruning occurs in the spring.

Olives are black when ripe. Green ones are immature. When initially picked they are very bitter and need to be soaked in water for a month or so before being processed further. They are picked by spreading a tarp on the ground around the tree; someone climbs the tree and shakes the heck out of it and you gather up the olives.

We visited the small village of Agiasos up in the mountains where a monk brought a famous icon around the year of 1200 to hide it. A village grew up around his church, which we got to see. The icon is still there but heavily damaged. It is a delightful village with cobble stoned, grape ivy draped streets. A few small shops selling locally made ceramics, one of which called out to me, so we now own a small blue appetizer dish with kissing fish on it. I sensed it needed a home on Miller Bay.

I also bought a bag of local candy from a lady selling it outside her house. It is made from some sort of tree material, rolled in sesame seeds- it tastes like nougat.

Patmos-the island that Saint John made famous.....

In 95 AD St. John was banished to Patmos by the Roman emperor. While here (2 years) he lived in a cave and wrote the Book of Revelations. We got to visit the cave, which is now a chapel. We also visited the monastery built in 1088 where currently 40 monks reside. The role of the monastery over the centuries was to create manuscripts, the oldest date back to 941AD. Besides the actual Orthodox Church there we toured their extensive museum of religious icons, jewelry and vestments dating back to 1088.

We also visited a local home built in the 16 the century and still occupied by the same family. It has become a living museum of all sort of clothing, appliances, etc(similar to the house we saw in Croatia). The current owner is in her early 90s and still crochets (without her glasses, she says).

Only 3000 people live on this island and the cave and monastery are UNESCO heritage sites. They say they have no crime on the island.

Next stop is the island of Rhodes, also part of Greece.
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