Greece

Sanctuary of Mesa (or Messon)

by Jennifer on

During our holiday to Lesvos this year we saw many beautiful things, but there was one location that made a deep impression on all of us: The Sanctuary of Mesa (or The Sanctuary of Messon, as it is also referred to).

Messa

Specially for Rob visiting Mesa/Messon was very high on his wish list. His interest for Lesvos and its history is great and there is already so much he knows about it.
And I have to admit that now I have been there, it made a deep impression on me. Even so deep that now I want to know more about it. Since our return to The Netherlands I have been reading a lot about this Sanctuary (online and offline). “I have been touched by its magic” as Rob calls it and it is quite contagious according him.


The temple is near the town of Agia Paraskevi (Αγία Παρασκευή) and is the biggest temple on the island. It was dedicated to Greek deities Hera, Zeus and Dionysus or the so called “The Lesbian Triad” (and no, that has nothing to do with the sexual preference, but with the geographic location).

There are two inscriptions from the second century BC where the name Sanctuary of Messon is preserved. It served as seat of the Kalloni Commonwealth. But the Sanctuary was already as early as the sixth century before BC a place for pilgrims to come from all over the island, but even from various cities of Asia Minor. It is told that beauty contents and dances related to fertility were hosted there.

Messa

When we visited the Sanctuary we were the only visitors and that made it even more special. The silence was breath taking. The atmosphere was very peaceful. Mostly I am always very down to earth, but here you could literately feel that this place has a very rich history and that important events took place here.

Messa

Rob had a long talk with the local guide of this historic temple and excavation site. He asked many and many questions. He wanted to know as much as possible about this place and he impressed the guide with his knowledge about Lesvos. And yes, he really knows a lot about this island.

And yes, this is one of the places that I never will forget…

Jennifer


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Palm trees

by Marion on

Palm trees

When I saw this photo again I realized that I want palm trees in my garden…

… and then, with a big smile, I know one day I will!

Now the days are getting colder again (and no, we can not complain this far this year) the longing for our beloved island Lesvos is growing strong again…

This photo is made at main square of Plomari.

Marion

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Sea Bass for dinner

by Rob on

In Plomari, a city on the isle of Lesvos, there is a sea food restaurant called “The Seven Seas”. During our stay at Plomari we visited that restaurant 3 times. Yes, 3 times! The fish was just wonderful there. Twice I had a wonderful grilled sea bass there.

So once back in The Netherlands I wanted to make sea bass once myself. So I asked at the local fish store if they two sea basses for me. Yesterday I could collect them. The owner of the fish store cleaned them for me, removed the organs and scales for me. And tonight I prepared them on the grill…

Sea bass

… and it tasted wonderful. The taste of the sea bass is just awesome. Just as I love it.

Sadly the skin of the fishes was a bit damaged on the grill. Maybe there is a trick to prevent that from happening (Miranda?). Not that this had any negative influence on the taste, but it just might just have looked better on the table.

I think there will be more experiments with fish *THUMBS*

Rob
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I have a very healthy interest in astronomy. I love to read about the planets, the stars, the galaxies, super nova’s, black holes and the universe. It feeds my imagination and triggers my will to learn new things. And the more I learn about this the more I realize we know nothing yet.

But when here on Lesvos my interest in astronomy suddenly gets stronger again and I know why…


It is really simple: Wait until it is dark in the evening and look up to the sky…

When home in The Netherlands I will see just a few stars.

But here on Lesvos, and especially when I move to a spot with no artificial lighting, the sky is covered with stars. Hundreds, no even thousands and more of them. The sky is literally covered with stars. An amazing sight to see!

The reason for the difference is also very simple: light pollution!

Sure, when in a Greek city one will also not able to see all the stars. But there is a difference, The Netherlands is so densely populated that there is literally no place in the country where you can see the real sky with stars, even not in the middle of areas where no one lives.
When I look from my home in the direction of Amsterdam, I see a thick layer of light.

Is light pollution a problem? Apart from the sorry fact that we only can see a fragment of the beautiful stars, yes it is. Light pollution has a negative influence on the balance between day and night. Specially plants and night animals are suffering from this.

Anyway, back to the stars at the Greek sky *SMILE* .

When I see a bright star here, I start to ask myself right away questions. What is the name of that star? How many light-years is it away from here? Is it part of a constellation and do I know that constellation? Is there anything special to know about that star?

Luckily I have two great apps on my iPad that gives me the answers on this questions I might have: “Solar Walk 2” and “Star Walk 2” (luckily it was my iPhone that was stolen this holiday and not my iPad even when the iPad is WiFi only). These two apps are great for any astronomy enthusiast.

So quite often when the others are already sleeping, I sit on the balcony of our hotel room or make a small walk to study the skies, looking at the stars and constellations, looking up all there is to know about them. Great fun.

At home, I use apps also every now and then, but there they tend to make me a bit sad because these apps show very clearly what I should be able to see but cannot see because of the light pollution…

Rob

 

 

 

The pictures in this article are screenshots from Star Walk 2 and Solar Walk 2.


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The small wonders of Lesvos

by Miranda on

That Lesvos is an island that has so many faces to show may be known by now. I mean from the olive and pine trees to the emptiness of the west.

It is so nice that you can wander around, make a turn and see something completely unexpected. And that is what happened today again.

We were wandering west of Agios Isidoros, a lovely small town near Plomari. The small road led us through beautiful views of mountains and olive tree orchards.

So we were enjoying our surroundings while I was having an interesting talk with Richard. We followed the road in a curve around a rock formation and then we saw this…

Stairs

Everyone of us had a “WOW” experience. This is what I call using the surroundings of your house. The stairs up to the house really embedded in the rocks of the mountain. So wonderful!

As I already said, I truly love how this was built, but I don’t want to think about carrying groceries or any alike up those stairs.

Later, back at the hotel I saw the same people laying in the full sun that were there already when we some hours earlier left for our walk. And they were there the days before too.
They will be missing all these wonderful things (and I even don’t want to think about what this amount of direct sunlight is doing to their skin).

Miranda
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The Weather we soon will see….

by Marissa on

The weather we will have next week…

Weather 1

And it looks like it is going to stay that way…

Weather 2

I think just as the last time, the first two days we will have it extremely warm. After two days we are used to it. And as long you keep drinking and protect your head, there is no real problem.

Marissa
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Some time ago I took down my photo-site. Marion always found it a pity that I have done this.
Now she asked me if I would be willing if would make photo-books of the best photo’s I made. And especially if I would update and expand the photo-book “Living as Gods and Goddesses on Lesvos” that I already made some time ago.
I promised Marion that I would do this.

Below the first photo of the Church of Panagia Glykofiloussa, which I made on 25 September 2015 (you can click on the photo to zoom in).

“It is in the village of Petra built on a rock, with114 steps curved on it and which have to be stepped by the pilgrim. The first church possibly hase been built in the year 1609 as the Catholic of a women’s Monastery. The architectural style of the church belongs to the Genuate period and this is proved by the existence of a blazon of Gateluses that was curved on a slab of the garden’s cobble paved floor. Inside the church there are wonderful and rare Byzantine icons and an artistic Metropolitan throne. The extremely fortificated site of the church give to the observer the impression that it was probably built during the pirates’ in cursions of the post-Byzantine period. The church has been reconstructed in 1840. A plethora of pilgrims visit the church especially during the first fortnight of August ( the Assumption of Virgin Mary ). We have to notice here that the view from the yard is fantastic as it combines the picturesque village of Petra, with the Aegean Sea and the isles of the area.”
(Source: Imerti
)

Rob
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About DNA

by Rob on

Some time I ago I saw the video below and it made a deep impression on me. The video is about what our DNA can tell us about our heritage and where our roots in the world are. The people in this video faced some big surprises about their biological heritage. Watch the video…

After seeing this video I was curious, but I figured that such a DNA test would be quite expensive. I didn’t think about it anymore and I forgot more or less about it.

Then last year we were at the BBQ of Mel’s family on Lesvos, where I got my nickname “Μουστάκι”. Mel’s lovely grandmother who was convinced that Marion and I both must have Greek blood in our veins, this because of our love for Greece,
Personally, I don’t think we have Greek ancestors, but one can never know. A DNA test would show this and make this very clear.
But the price of such a DNA test….

A few weeks ago I saw an advertisement about a DNA test and I realized that a DNA test was not that expensive at all (anymore?) and that it was very affordable for us.
So after a small talk with Marion we ordered two of these DNA tests.

DNA test

So this weekend I will do the test and will send it away for analysing.
As Marion is using medicines at the moment, she has to wait with doing the test. I offered to wait as well, but she told me to do it this weekend. She is very curious as well.

Am I nervous about the result of the test?
No, anything will be fine. Dutch, Greek, Finnish, German, Moroccan, Arab… I really don’t care. The more places in my heritage, the richer I am!

And after the test is done, we just have to wait…..

Rob
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Greek Goddesses

by Marion on

When Rob was a young boy, he once went on a holiday with his parents to Hellendoorn. They stayed a week at hotel “De Uitkijk”. This hotel still exists and this year Marissa, Richard, Rob and I will go there for a long weekend.

Anyway, when Rob stayed there with his family, he went often to a nearby amusement park, which also still exists. Mostly Rob, as he told me, went there to play arcade games. He mentioned an arcade game where you are in a submarine and have to destroy enemy ships.

On one of his trips to the amusement park, he bought at a souvenir shop a small replica of a statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Leda

This statue was the beginning of Rob’s interest in Greek mythology.

Over the following years he bought more statues of Greek Goddesses at all kind of places. He knew which Goddesses they were, their stories and where they original statues are.
He had and still has quite an extended knowledge of the Greek mythology. Of course, his love for Greece has come from somewhere!

Statue

Then, years later, Rob met his ex-girlfriend. I dare to say that his ex did quite some wrong to him.

Rob was during the time he went to school deeply in love with a girl. He wrote beautiful texts for this girl and made some kind of bundle of it.
His ex-girlfriend requested him to get rid of these texts and he did. These texts, expect some he got back through another resource, are gone forever. I would have loved to read those texts, even when they are about another woman. It is all long ago, it is Rob’s past. He has full right on his own past, after all, it is what made him what he is today.

More things like that happened.

Aphrofite

And then there were Rob’s Greek Goddess statues. Some of those goddesses statues are naked, which is very common for Greek statues.

And also these statues were not to the liking to Rob’s ex. He can recall that words as unfriendly for women were used. With that the statues had to go to.

I really cannot understand this. Did she not realize that these statues were important for Rob? She should have known this.
And is a replica of an old Greek statue, nude or not, woman-unfriendly? I don’t think so. Calling nudity woman-unfriendly is bringing the rights of women back to the dark ages. These day women are allowed to be proud on their bodies and don’t have to hide it under all covering clothes. And is a woman’s body not beautiful? And apart from this all, the statues are not even very detailed.

I cannot get rid of the feeling that Rob his ex tried to control and manipulate him. Something that always will fail in the end, as it did.

So some years back on one of our holidays to Greece I saw in a shop a nice replica of a statue of Aphrodite. I remembered directly what Rob told me once about these kind of statues. Of course I bought it. A present that maybe will undo a little what was done in the past. Rob was really happy with the statue. So now I try to buy on every holiday to Greece such a statue for him

So Aphrodite, Leda, Sapho and others are back in Rob’s house. As they should…

Sapho Marion
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Okay, so why Plomari?

by Mel on

Anyone ever wondered why Rob made the decision to go the town of Plomari this year? Yes, Rob made the decision for the whole group. They just wanted to go back to Lesvos and where on Lesvos was less important (the Lesvos-virus is so contagious). Yes yes Marissa, I know that you had the demand of beaches, but I really wonder how strong that demand was :-).

Anyway, as you already may have expected, there is a small story to tell on how Rob made the decision to go on their next holiday to Plomari. :-)

It started last year when Marion and Rob stayed at my place. One evening we were sitting in my garden enjoying the very nice evening. We had the pleasure of a nightingale singing for us. Did you know that nowhere in the world the nightingales sing so beautiful as here on Lesvos? No, you didn’t? Ah, there is another story to tell, but we will do that another time.

During the concert of the nightingale Rob was sipping of a glass of ouzo. He developed quite a taste for ouzo (another reason why my grandmother is so fond of Μουστάκι, which is Rob’s nickname around here). He made a remark that he tasted at the many places Marion and he have been in Greece tasted ouzo, but this was one of the best he ever enjoyed. Of course I had to brag that it was ouzo from Lesvos and everything of our island is simply the best (I know… I know… :-) ).

One day, back in The Netherlands, Rob wanted to enjoy an ouzo again, so he went to the local liquor store and asked for a bottle of ouzo. The owner of the store remembered earlier talks he had with Rob and remembered that Marion and Rob have been to Lesvos. To the surprise of Rob he told he had an ouzo from Lesvos. There was no discussion needed any more and Rob bought that ouzo.

When in the evening Rob sipped from his new ouzo, he suddenly realized with full conviction that this was the ouzo he had at my place!

He called me on Skype and we talked. He explained to me about the ouzo, he bought that day. I had to laugh because the possibility that he bought the ouzo that I always have would be very small.
I told Rob that I have always ouzo from the Isidoros Arvanitis Distillery, Plomari Ouzo.
On the screen of my laptop I saw Rob reach out beside him. When his hand returned his hand was holding a bottle. He turned the bottle around so the label was visible for me. And there it was… Ouzo of Plomari, Isidoros Arvanitis!
Unbelievable that “my” ouzo was for sale in The Netherlands. And even more special, that is for sale “around the corner” (as Rob said) from where he lives.

It was that day that Rob decided that he wanted to visit the town of Plomari. And when “the group” made Rob in charge of the planning of the upcoming holiday in August, the destination of Plomari was set.
And they will love it. Plomari and the surrounding area is just beautiful. And of course a visit to the Isidoros Arvanitis Distillery will be on the agenda for their holiday :-)

Plomari Ouzo Mel

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