Lesvos

Lesvos is the third largest island of Greece, located a little North of Athens and just off the coast of Turkey. The village of Molyvos is located in the Northern part of the island, and the Eftalou olive valley, where you will find the yoga school, is situated right opposite to the coast of Turkey, which is only an 8-kilometre distance away. The capital of the island, Mytiline, has a boat connection to Ayvalik in Turkey, where you can go to visit the local market, or continue to visit the ancient city of Troy or even Istanbul. The crossing from Mytiline to Ayvalik takes about three hours.

The main trades of the island include olive cultivation and olive oli trade, and the mountaneous island is full of the silvery green olive trees. The ouzo of Lesvos is also famous, a Greek speciality spirit made of grapes and spiced with aniseed, and you can find organic wine production on the island, too. Fishing is very popular. Although the fish population has grown alarmingly small over the recent years in the sea surrounding Greece, fish is still fairly plentiful around Lesvos.

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Tourism is another important trade, but the island isn't anywhere as touristic as some other islands of Greece. Here you can find a lot of original, beautiful old Greece. Some villages of the island look as one could imagine they would have looked a hundred years ago. There are no signs of the ”unrest in Greece” that media sometimes portrays in the news. Even during events such as big elections you wouldn't know something is going on in the outside world. The trouble that you may sometimes hear about belong to the big cities of the mainland, the islands are more like small states of their own. People live their lives quietly, they are extremely friendly, and despite the crisis very welcoming.

HistorY AND NATURE

Lesvos was under the Turkish rule between 1462 and 1912, and the Turkish influence can still be seen especially in architecture, as the island is not full of whites buildings such as on e.g. Santorini. Instead the houses of Lesvos are often built with stone and have red tile roofs. The Bysantine influence is also visible in the churches, which are numerous and can be found everywhere. Even Paul the Apostle is said to have visited the island in 52 AD.

The nature of Lesvos is breathtakingly beautiful. In addition to the olive trees the island is lush and fertile, the central parts especially are filled with fecund pine forests. The island gets its name, Lesvos, after a king, and the pre-historic name of the island is Lasia. Both names referring to luxuriant fecund greenery and beauty.

The Western coast of the island, on the other hand, resembles the landscapes of the Moon, nothing grows there. The village of Eressos on the Western coast is where the poetess Sapphó's school for girls was located in the ancient times. The place has since become the meeting point of lesbians from all over the world. The love between two women is thus named after the island, which has not thrilled all the locals entirely. The letter B is pronunced as V in Greek, and therefore today the island is called LESVOS.

In this area you'll also find an ancient petrified forest that is estimated to be about twenty million years old! Some of the tree trunks have a circumference of up to eight metres. The petrified forest has probably formed during a volcanic eruption. There are no volcanoes on the island, but the ground is volcanic, as there are hot springs in many places around the island. One of these is just a ten minute walk away from the yoga school. The water temperature is about 47 degrees C, it is full of beneficial minerals, and the water, as well as the whole spring, is thought to be holy and have healing qualities.

THE SEASONS

In the spring and later in the autumn the mountain sides are covered in emerald grass and thousands of different little flowers, including wild orchids.

In September the nature is at its driest after a long hot summer, but there are natural waterfalls on the island, too. The climate is especially pleasant in September and October when the air has cooled down from the unbearably hot summer temperatures, and the sea water is still warm. The high season starts to die down, so there are not too many people around either. The last regular flights usually take off at the end of October. The majority of holiday makers come from Northern European countries.

In November and December the days are still warm-ish, around 15 to 17 degrees, but the nights are getting cooler. At this time of the year it is absolutely lovely to take hikes following the ancient stone paths on the mountains. Perhaps the most exquisite thing in the late autumn and winter time are the light and colours as they are so different to the summer time. It is also fascinating to see the village fall into ”hibernation” as most of the shops and restaurants close for winter and only a few cosy little places are open for the locals.

The nature of the island is so diverse and there is so much to see that I call the island a bottomless treasure chest. I keep finding new things every year after decades of spending time on the island!

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