Lésvos / Lesbos

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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Lesbos or is it Lesvos?

by Marissa on

The Church of Panayia Glykofilousa
Often when I talk about Lesvos, people correct me and tell me that the island is called Lesbos. When I tell them they are wrong, some people can get really stubborn about it. I was even once told that I had no idea what I am talking about.

Well, what is the idea? I have been to the island with others here and I have now a very good friend who lives and was raised there. That is the idea!

The thing is that the letter “b” in the name Lesbos is not a “b”. We lazy foreigners just made a “b” of it.
It really is a “β”, the Greek letter beta. And the letter beta is pronounced as a “v”. What you see that by Greek people the letter beta is replaced by the letter “v” to get the sound correct.

So Λέσβος will become Lesvos and not Lesbos.

This little piece of knowledge is brought to you by the Lesvos virus that with the upcoming holiday is awaking in me. Oh, and after a nice chat with Mel and Rob.

Marissa

 

 

Photo The Church of Panayia Glykofilousa: Rob (Thank you for allowing to use it)


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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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A longing for Lesvos…

by Rob on


(Click on the image to zoom in)

Rain, cold wind, temperatures that start to call to turn on the heating, all signs autumn is really arrived. And that is how it is here now: Wet, cold and wind.

I was standing in front of a window looking outside, Marissa and Marion behind me sitting on the couch. I was only half aware of what they were talking about. Until a certain moment I understood one word very clearly: Lesvos! And right away my thoughts were 3000 kilometres away from here.

Yes, specially on days like these I am missing Lesvos. The beautiful landscapes, the mountains, the sea and the beaches. How I would love to eat a good stifado and drink a cold Mythos beer. Make long walk in the healing sun. Swim in the cooling sea. To browse among our olive trees.
And of course it would be lovely to get a big hug from our Greek friend Mel again, because there is nothing as a Greek hug… believe me!

It is hard to believe that it is already two months ago that Marion and I were on Lesvos. It feels like yesterday.
But lets be positive, in 10 months we, and then the whole group including Patricia, will be going there again. And before that we will meet Mel again some times, which will be awesome.

And meanwhile I keep dreaming of those lazy mornings at some beach on Lesvos…

Skala Sikamineas Rob

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Tokmakia

During our vacation this year we have been visiting the Eastern part of Lesvos. A beautiful area where wild horses roam and turtles can be found. Also the home of many bird species, there are more wild bird species on Lesvos than anywhere else in Europe.

At a certain moment we made a break aside a road that led along the East coast of Lesvos. I looked over the sea and saw there some islands. I turned to Mel, our Greek friend from Lesvos, and pointed towards the islands.
Before I even could say something she confirmed smiling that these were the Tokmakia islands (when you look at the photo above, the islands more to the horizon, not the small one closer to the coast).

Last year, when we travelled with our best friends as a group to Lesvos (and Mel certainly belongs to that group), we sailed around Lesvos with Richard as our “captain” as he his the skills and experience to handle a sailboat as the one we rented.
The Tokmakia islands was the place where we dropped the anchor.

It is said that the Tokmakia islands attract, like the ancient Sirens, everyone who is passing by. And that is true, when you are standing on your boat and you see those islands you will feel a strong desire to explore those islands.

The water around the Tokmakia islands is crystal clear, it almost looks as if there is no water. It creates the image that your boat is floating in the air.
The islands are home to many bird and plant species, a wonderful place for those who are interested in these.

As said, last year with visited these islands. The water was too shallow near the beaches, so Richard decided to drop the anchor on some distance. After we made sure that the anchor was properly secured, we swam as true explorers to the island holding food and other stuff above our heads so it would not become wet. After a few times to the sailboat and back we had anything we wanted on the beach of one of the islands (the one called “Ασπρονήσια” or Aspronisia).

On the beach we had the nicest pick nick and even a small BBQ (very good secured so nothing could go wrong).
We swam in the crystal clear water of the sea, we enjoyed the sun on the beach, we explored the island and were amazed by the beauty all around us.

Our time on Ασπρονήσια was truly amazing. Something never to forget. When we left (and made sure no garbage or anything else was left behind) we all were feeling great.
Back on the boat we prepared to sail away and when the anchor was raised I heard Richard say to Marissa that they would come back to these islands.
And oh yes, one day we will go back there…

I must have been standing there for a while, dreaming and watching the Tokmakia islands there out in the sea. Suddenly I felt an arm around my shoulders… Rob… He smiled. And do you know what he whispered in my ear? “We will go back there… “.

And now I know for sure that we will return to the Tokmakia islands one day!

(The photo’s below were made during our holiday of 2016, when we visited as group these wonderful islands).

Marion Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia

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