This is the second time I have visited my family’s island where three of my grandparents were born. Both my Mum’s parents were born at Lesvos in the town, Agiassos, and my Dad’s mother, was born in Agia Pareskevi. For our second visit, we stayed with my Dad’s auntie, Thia Eni, who also lives in Australia but goes back to Greece every six months. She picked us up from the Mytiline airport, and we stayed two weeks with her. She showed us the whole island, driving all three of us everywhere, as you can see on the map. The only place we were not able to visit was Plomari as my Thia told us that the road to the town was too windy and tricky. I would love to talk about the ancient sites we visited on the island that is the setting of my Third Novel – but I will leave that to my next post. Thia Eni drove us to Molyvos (Mithymna), and it literally is a mini Santorini. I was awestruck by the place, and that there were ruins right in the middle of the town life! Even the sunset that we watched, from Mithymna’s Byzantine Castle, was exactly like the Oia Sunset at Santorini, except there were no white and blue houses.
I got a lot of inspiration from being at Lesvos, walking in the towns that my grandparents grew up in, and learning more about my culture and where my ancestry comes from. I will definitely be visiting Lesvos again. The beaches are beautiful, I lost track with how many we went to because every day, Thia Eni had us up on our feet doing stuff. Then we would have dinner, have our siestas, then at around 9pm, we would walk down to the chorio (village) for the night life. Everyone was out, the old men at the cafes drinking with their mates, the children playing on the streets and footpaths, and all the way down, past the old people and the cafes, were the bars and loud music. We would sit and drink, and enjoy the night. The Greeks are very laid back.
We spent nineteen days on Lesvos, but we needed more time. There is just so much to see. Thia Eni drove us everywhere, she took us to:
- Mantamados where the Taxiarch Church is of Agios Taxiarchis
- The Monastery of Ipsilou
- The Panagia church at Sykamnia
- Anaxos Beaches
- Petra and to the church of Panagia Glykofilousa (Our Lady of the Sweet Kiss)
- We enjoyed Greek night at Kalloni Village
- The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest – but did not go to the actual sites, yet.
- Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production on Lesvos
I’m probably forgetting other places she took us to, because we went to so many, and I was really grateful; my Thia was our personal tour guide of Lesvos . By ourselves we went to Thermi and stayed there for our five last days in Greece, and went to the Agios Raphael Monastery and the prehistoric site of Thermi. However, we were unable to see Thermi’s thermal baths, as they were closed this year.
I need to go back to Lesvos, it still has so much to offer me. These are a couple of books I bought while I was on the island, and I also bought a map and a DVD. I am also very lucky that my grandparents and Thia Eni contributed their memories of growing up on Lesvos to this book, Our Homeland: Lesvos, Words and Images of Australian Migrants from Lesvos by Vasilios Vasilas. It is good for grandchildren to appreciate where their family has come from, and to have this book means the world to me.
Till next time,