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GOODBYE TO THE MYTH OF MITHIMNA

THERE’S a myth among British birdwatchers that the ONLY place worth staying on Lesvos is Skala Kalloni.

It’s a misconception probably shared by birders from other European countries who flock to the island for each spring and autumn migration.

Only those in the know seem to choose  Molivos –  or Mithimna to give it its historic name – as their base.

Well, in my humble opinion as an avid birdwatcher, it’s about time someone banished this myth about Mithimna.

When it comes to finding a perfect place to combine birdwatching with walking in spectacular, hilly scenery, having a massive choice of eating places and history around every corner, then Molivos is the place to be

Is there any nicer place in the whole world to round off a day’s birding than with a meal on Molivos harbour side, watchingdolphins and diving terns in the fading light?

Skala Kalloni with its salt pans is only a 40 minutes drive away.

All around Molivos are superb places to seek out the birds – some of them rather rare – from dense olive groves to the magnificent coastal strip between Eftalou and Skala Sikamnia. 

Even among the narrow streets and alleyways of the old town, there are birds to be seen and heard. You just have to look and listen.

Swallows nest under almost every  canopy and overhang of buildings.  Most years, for instance, they successfully rear young on top of an ornamental coach lantern under the canopy of  The Captain’s Table restaurant on the harbour.

As darkness falls, the monotonous  call of the Scops owl can be heard around the town squares and among the eucalyptus trees alongside the school.

The sound is reminiscent of the slow “peeps” of the Greenwich time signal.

Molivos is a place where it is usual to spot the unusual.


Floodlights which illuminate the castle are a magnet to moths and other flying insects. So birds such as nightjars and little owls are quick to take advantage of the ready meals.

Last year, barn owls, little owls and kestrels all nested within a few yards of each other in stone crevices  near the castle’s main entrance.

Keep an eye on the sea, too. Some years, thousands of

Mediterranean shearwaters can be seen in the huge bay between the harbour and the Kavaki headland. At times there are so many it looks like a giant oil slick.

The headland itself, near the “disco on stilts”, is known as one of the best places in Europe to see the very rare Ruppell’s Warbler.

Inland, the reservoir off the Vafios road is a good place to see Eleanora’s falcons hunting for dragon flies. Many other birds can also be “ticked” here.

In our 16 years of holidays in Molivos – sometimes twice a year – my wife Sheila and I always  see at least 120 species.

Really keen birdwatchers can expect many more than that.

FRANK WOOD, press officer for the Bolton area of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in North West England.

The world’s best yoga spots

25 January 2011 | By Abigail Hole, Lonely Planet

Most peaceful

Angela Farmer and Victor van Kooten’s yoga hall (www.angela-victor.com) is situated deep in the Greek countryside, in a quiet olive grove in the Eftalou Valley, only five minutes from the beach. The only sound you will hear is the distant jingling of sheep bells. There are three hours of asana each morning and evening meditation and pranayama on the upstairs terrace.

Molyvos Friends

I was born in England and have been married to John ( whom I met at the tender age of eleven!) for the past 40 years. We have two sons aged 35 and 30. Over the years, we visited a number of the Greek Islands but took a break from our normal routine to holiday in Sri Lanka when we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. The following year, we were faced with a dilemma – Sri Lanka was just so wonderful, how could we follow that??? I came up with the idea of Lesvos … it seemed unspoiled by tourism and no-one I spoke to had heard of it. So we booked a holiday and the rest is history. We fell in love with the island and, ten years on, Lesvos (and especially Molyvos) is still my favourite place in the world. We introduced my sister and brother-in-law to the island on our second visit and now the four of us live for our visits to Lesvos. While John retired 12 months ago, I continue to work for an English professional football club (no wonder I need to de-stress!!) but next summer I plan to join him in retirement and together we’re dreaming of spending more of our time in our beloved Molyvos.

Rosie

Greek Army.

Hello everyone, My name is Alaine and I have lived in Molyvos since 1986,here I met Andonis and in 1988 our first son, Theo was born followed 5 years later by our other son Yianni. In 1997 we decided that yes we could afford to marry and Andonis and I “tied the knot” in the lovely coastal village of Skala Sikaminea in the tiny church perched on a rock. Whilst my life here has had it’s ups and downs(to put it mildly)I can say that I have carved out a comfortable little niche for me and mine and now I find I am walking around with a  permanent knot in my stomach.

The reason for this being the arrival of Theo’s “call up” papers and now the rapidly approaching date of his departure, 7th February where the army takes control of him for at least the next 9 months! As if the emotional side to this isn’t enough I find the anxiety of even getting him to the camp on time very harassing and I have become aware that no-one in my family is able to tell each other of how they truly feel. Weird!

We know full well the seriousness of Theo reporting to his army post on time, who doesn’t, but just a tad of help from the army powers that be would have made this a less stressful time for us all. Theo was given a sheet of paper with details of where to report and what paperwork, x-rays and medical books he had to have with him. And that was it!

After a few telephone calls we were told that if we wanted the army to pay for his travel (very funny) Theo would have to apply in Mitilene and after 2 trips down there he was issued a voucher, was this a ticket in itself? Would he have to book a ticket on the ferry? Yet again we were in the fog and only by asking around did we find anything out and the run around did not stop there, we later found out that the army base is at least 4hours from Athens by bus and realised that he would have to leave the island 2 days earlier than planned. Because the army apparently refuses to let the new-comers in to the camp any earlier than the date given we then had to either consider a hotel for 2 nights or find some kind soul to let him stay with them till he could catch the bus to Sparta.

We have so many questions still to ask and still so much to do in the short time remaining and I find the knot growing in my stomach by the minute. All in all I am finding this whole experience somewhat like being pregnant for the first time, thousands have given birth before but this is a whole new experience for each mother and treats it as such, this is my first time at sending a son into the army and I don’t know what to expect and my emotions are running riot with me.    Call me silly but I have dreaded this for the last 21 years so I say lets get this show on the road and the sensible side of me is saying the sooner he goes in, the sooner he will come out. I will pack him off with all of my love and very best wishes and will be waiting eagerly for news from him, what more can I do!

Alaine

A Greek Island Autumn Day

The end of a tiring Autumn day! Got up at 9.30 am, had a lazy breakfast and drove to the Post office to pay my health insurance and send my youngest daughter her belly button jewellery.(She has just gone off to England for a foundation year at uni, is taking a belly dancing class and REALLY needs it!)

Then I sat in the village square in the sun and had coffee with a friend, watching the fishing boat come in and the old men crowd around to buy their supper.

After various, minor household tasks, I drove over to Eftalou and had a hot bath in the natural hot spring water. It is housed in an old, domed bath house right on the beach so you have a soak, come out and swim in the sea, and then go back into the hot water. Afterwards, you feel as if the flesh is slipping off your bones. Wonderful.

A bit of proper work after that, teaching English privately, and then a lazy supper with a glass of red wine.  Phew, I hope tomorrow isn’t going to be so stressful!

Liz