The beautiful Island of Lesvos and the poet Sappho

Sometimes cultural gems or natural beauties are just at your side but you need to open your eyes and soul and do some research to dig it out .

One day spontaneously we decide to go to the Island of Lesvos or Midilli or Mythelene as it is also called .

The island is just 10 km from the Turkish mainland and therefore very easy to access.

We just jump into our car and withing 4-5 hours via the new highway we arrive at Ayvalik .

Our passports are ready , our tickets for the ferryboat as well and also the permission for our car for the transfer to Greece .

Here we are in the North Eagean region .

It is a September day and on the ferry the September sun and the North Eagean wind are just touching our faces .We are on the way to Mythelene which is the biggest city of the island .

The boattrip takes about 1.5 hours and then we arrive at Mythelene Port where a different world is welcoming us .

Our hotel is in Molivos which is about 60 km north of the island and so it takes another one hour drive with our car through the green unknown little roads of this beautiful island.

Our hotel is so wonderful as the hotel villas are located in a huge natural garden of olive and lemon trees with a huge swimmingpool and a gorgeous view that we have .From the balcony of each villa you have a view to the Castle of Molivos which is from Byzanthine times from the 14th century that lies in front of us with all its magnificence .

Lesvos is the third biggest island of Greece after Crete and Evoria and has a very long history .

Since the neolothic times people are living on this island and due to its proximity to the Turkish mainland there was always much more cultural influence from Anaolia than from the mainland of Greece to this piece of land .Since the Bronze Age the island was under the Persians , Genuese ,Greek and Byzanthine governments .

From 1462-1912 Lesvos Island was part of the Ottoman Empire before it was 1912 again given back to Greece .

The capital city of Lesvos is Mythelene and was founded in the 11th century .It is said that the name name of the island is probably having its origin in the Hitite culture .Lesvos is also mentioned in the Iliada of Homeros and hints that Lesvos was also one part of the ancient Empire of Troia .

For this reason you may find traces of so many different epoques and cultures on the island eg in one corner you will see temples of Appollon and Demeter , god and goddess of the Greek Mythology or in another corner of the island you will find a sanctuary of Dionysius .On the other hand you will also see traces of Cybele , Goddess of Mother Earth of Anatolia as well .

All these location which have along and multicultural history are so special for me . The beauty of this deep history gives the location a different touch of maturity and wisdom .This is what I feel and which gives me some kind of happiness .

In the evening we are sitting on our terrace of our villa and watching the beautiful Molivos Castle .It is full moon and the sky is deep marineblue .We can see the stars and hear nature .In the air we can smell the different herbs mixed with the smell of the trees and in front of us the castle is shining under the moonlight .All that is such an amazing ambiance .It is a real gift to us .

The next day we are on the way to the old city of Molivos since we want to explore the old castle and the old port .

We are walking through the old streets .

Here , especially at the port you have the feeling that this location has nothing to do with the rest of the world .It is far far away from the rest of civilization , even time seems to stand still over here and its own life is just flowing here very very slowly.In the afternoon the sun is just blinking in our eyes between the octopus lines that are hanging over here to be dried for the meal .

The little , colorful boats are slightly swinging on the water.The little shops are so cute .

Their doors are widely open with cute wooden , sometimes colored chairs in front and decorated with lots of local objects waiting to be sold to visitors of the island.

The cats and dogs have just found some nice place in the shadow to take a little rest from the hot day.

The small restaurants already started their preparations for dinner .

They organize their tables, their meze and their catering for the evening . Their daily routine life is so quiet and so nice .One has the feeling that life over here was always going on like this since centuries and has nothing to do with the world outside that is rushing and crashing outside .

This natural and ballanced atmosphere is so embracing and is so healing for our souls .

the restaurant owners are smiling and doing everything to serve us well .In the evening Greek music is beginning to play and the tourists are coming along to the port to have their dinner with its fish , its meze , its seafood , its dolmadaki , its Greek salad ,Greek cheese and local desserts.

Every day we are on the road to explore the island – beaches , little villages in the mountains , cute little village coffeehouses with their elderly people and their wooden chairs , forgotten old hamams at the seashores , beautiful geological formations , mini lost restaurants and shops with stunning views at the oceanside .So many things to see and to discover .

Everywhere we can smell the trees and the salty waves of the ocean .During our tours one of the locations that I liked most was the little village of Skala Kallonis .

On that day weather was not bright but dark clouds at the sky ready to start raining over us when we were about to arrive at this cute little village .When we were sitting down at a little restaurant we had the feeling that we are sitting in mid of a painting because of the little port with its colorful little boats at our side , a very wavy sea and dark clouds in the sky at our background and a soft wind wawing into our hairs and faces . The local village people did not care about the weather conditions and they were just sitting as usual in their cafes and enjoying their chats with each other .

We were so hungry and happy to have found a dry place to sit under the umbrellas in front of our restaurant . When the restuarant owner came along he proposed to manage the menu for us and bring his specialities of the house .We agreed with his proposal and it came out that it was a good decision .

I think I will never forget the gorgeous taste of the different special meze and meal that we tried over there which have been unknown to us and the great hospitality that the restaurant owner to us .

This warmhearted service that we enjoyed here touched our souls and made this day unforgettable for us .If one day you will also visit Lesvos Island you should try its specialities such as Chachles ,Kydonato ,Revihato, Ladotry Mytilinis,Selinato,Sfougato, Skafoudes, Sougania,Platseda ,Finikia ,Amygdalota and Retseli. Don”t forget to try the sardinias as they are worldwide known .

Another characteristic about the island are also the well know poets of Lesvos .

The most important one is for sure the woman poet Sappho who was living in the 6-7th century BC on the island and was known for her poems on love , especially the love between women .She was so poular and impressive in her metier that Plato called her the 10th Muse after the 9 daughters of Zeus which were calles “muses ” and which were dedicated to music and art .

It is said that Sappho had created 10.000 of lines of poetry and was a very well respected poet in the Antique era and also in the Hellenistic era in Alexandria .

For a long period she was influencng culture , people , history and literature but there then a time coming where people wanted her to be wiped out and forgotten .

Due to the contents of her poems on homosexual love between women and her birthplace , the island of Lesvos , sexual relationsships between women were called “lesbyian” after the 1800″s and sappho herself became the symbol of lesbyians .

If one day you are also coming to this island I would strongly recommend that you just get lost and begin to explore the gems of this place .

You will find old monasteries , churches , castles, old streets , Roman aequaducts ,old bridges, mosques, museums, temples and catacombs- all from different time and cultural zones .

You will find pertrified forests with trees which are millions of years old .

Everywhere you will find traces of old history and beautiful natural views in hidden corners .

Since there are inhabitants on this island the land is covered with olive trees , lemon trees , grapes and the local village people try to earn their daily livelihood by fishing .

It is a gorgeous location to go and to purify your soul and body from the dirty world outside .

i am personally looking forward to visit this Lesvos Island soonest again , to inhale the awesome energy of the Aegean coastline and to get lost on the depths of history at this beautiful place !

 

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