Escape from the Isle of Lesvos...
Trip Start Oct 15, 2007
17Trip End Dec 20, 2007
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This is an experience of pure bliss. I'm on a boat on the Mediterranean cruising from Athens to the island of Lesvos. It's a brilliant sunny day...with a t-shirt I'm completely warm on the back deck. Each of my senses feels completely attended to...that's probably why this experience of bliss...let's see....the view is beautiful...islands pass me by (Greece is made up of over 5000 islands - only about 100 are inhabited). The sea is reflecting the sunlight...my eyes have this gorgeous panorama to take in. The air is clean and there is not even anyone smoking out here on this deck...I just finished eating two of the best gyros I've ever eaten...crunchy, crispy, juicy, spicy pork with tomatoes and onions and yogurt sauce....wish I had a third...and I'm listening to this truly inspired collection of music on my IPOD - thanks to you Corey! Does that cover all my senses? I think so... It's so nice to be on the water....
Ayvalik or Dikili that is the question.... It's time to leave Lesvos for Turkey. Now Lesvos is a beautiful place, and the boat ride over here --- exquisite...Grigoris, a very sweet couchsurfer picks us up at the statue of liberty near the dock...we go out for a late night snack (in Greece it's always late night when you go out), with some of his friends and all sorts of things begin to appear on small plates. A point of information for your travels in Greece---there's a difference between cafes and restaurants, and it's hard to tell one from the other sometimes... Restaurants serve food/meals, they're harder to find....but there are lots of cafes where people drink and then the waiter simply brings you plates of food to accompany your drinking. Not just pretzels and popcorn but here, with Grigoris and his friends, we have tasty things, one after another brought over to us. A big fried squid, eggplant and sauce, some beety/garlic/yogurt dish, little shrimp, cauliflower heads, sardines, fish roe and potatoes, the list continues. We're thinking of going home, it's late, but Grigoris tell us the next plates are about to be brought over...I want to stick around and check out some more tasty things....and it's well worth it. The evening is a nice introduction to the pace of life in Lesvos.
All is well .we hang out in Mytilini...eat some great baklava, pay reverence to the statue of Sappho, chat with a relocated Greek-Long Islander who is frighteningly enthusiastic to see us....but then it starts to rain. The rain had been predicted, no surprise, but this is a hard, driving rain...and there isn't any sign of it letting up on the Poseidon radar. And although Grigoris is a delightful and generous host, he lives in a one-room apartment, which is fine, except when it rains and there's nowhere else to go. So we make the best of it by renting some mobility....a little car that gives us the power to explore the island. Lesvos is the third largest Greek island, with about 50,000 people...it's very, very hilly and steep with the narrowest streets I've ever seen...walking up them to go back home is a nice after-dinner workout. I can see how this would be a lovely place to spend the summer....but it's not summer and even though it's not particularly cold, the rain sends a chill through your bones. I'd like to visit Eressus, the birthplace of Sappho, and the petrified forest on the west side of the island as well as the little towns tucked into crevices around the island. But when I go to rent the car and inquire as to the schedule of boats to Turkey for our eventual exodus, I hear that phrase that sounds like a bad joke...you can't get there from here...it's winter...no you can't fly... Of course, I'm dealing with an evident communication barrier so I go to about 5 travel places that sell the ferry tickets and the best answer I get is that boats don't run much this time of year....maybe there'll be one tomorrow morning, weather dependent, maybe (but probably not) Saturday morning, maybe, maybe, maybe...as the last man says "I am not God...I cannot predict..." Well the future now seems a bit uncertain...will we ever get off of the beautiful island of Lesvos?
Time to take a tour of the island....driving around we see that its covered by olive trees...with these thick, gnarly trunks that have probably been around for centuries...it seems lots of things in Greece have been around for centuries. We visit a Greek Orthodox monastery....WAY up on the hill surrounded by olive trees, clean air, great view, the aesthetics are covered... not a bad place to spend the rest of ones life, I'm thinking....we continue along the shore...the road runs right next to waves slapping the island...it's still windy and once again, I'm wishing there were a few guardrails...
A really pleasant day...followed by a scrumptious dinner...the waiter again keeps bringing unordered food...starting with a shot of some strong alcohol and ending with a sweet yogurt and honey plate. We're tempted to stick around in Lesvos but there's the boat situation we have to work with. Which is why right now, we're on a boat to Dikili, Turkey, a couple of days earlier than planned but it's market day on the other side and that's when there's likely to be boats...and then we'll have more days to spend in Turkey. This boat uncertainty affects travel planning, no doubt. But right now, the ferry is vibrating across the Aegean Sea, Lisa is passed out on the bench, and we'll be in Turkey in about an hour.....a whole different world...