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Magic Green Vegetables

Last week I went for a beautiful walk with some friends in the southern part of the island. I had heard of an organic farm close to a village called Milies and had been thinking of going to visit it.

Well, spring was in the air, and on Saturday night over a glass of wine we decided to go – “we” being Melinda, Evelina, Amber and me.

We have all been living on Lesvos for a long time. Melinda has been here since she was a toddler, Evelina is from Molivos, grew up in Athens, but has been back here for nearly 20 years now.

I have also been in town for nearly 20 years and Amber, who is Dutch like me, has been here nearly 10 years. But, since the island is so big, there is still lots we haven’t seen yet. Amber is actually the  real explorer. She loves to go walking with her dog Bella every day or with friends and her uncle Jan, who lives here as well.

In the end we were lucky, because Jan decided to come as well and he has a jeep so we didn’t have to make a detour, but could drive from the village of Agiassos and past the former mental sanitorium that is now used as an official shelter home for young refugees under 16, often from Afghanistan, who have landed here by boat from Turkey.

After the shelter the road became a dirt track with fantastic views over the bay of Geras and some steep slopes. I have a terrible fear of heights  but  was quite relaxed about it as the slopes are covered in pine trees so I couldn’t really see how high we were. After about an hour we arrived in Karionas, where we parked the car at the local taverna. It was closed, but in typically trusting Greek fashion, a big bag of bread was hanging outside the door, so we were pretty sure that on our way back we would be able to have a nice lunch there.

In Karionas we split up, because Amber and Jan had done the walk already and were going to do another one this time. Evelina, Melinda and I hit the road to the farm.It was a dirt track again, through pine forest and olive groves. It was nice to see that most of the olive groves had signs saying they were organic.More and more olive  farmers around Molyvos have also changed to organic farming which means no spraying of the trees with chemical pesticides.

After less then an hour we reached the farm. It is also a holiday place with some cottages, a café and stables for horses. The horses are used to explore the surroundings, but there are also mountain bikes and guided tours on foot. However, although we had phoned to say we were coming, we didn’t find anybody and, after a look around, we decided to go to Milies, the next village, which is now nearly deserted with only 2 or 3 inhabitants. (there were around 400 in 1920).

We rested at the fountain next to the church and refilled our water bottles because it was going to be uphill on the way back and very warm, I had stripped down to a t-shirt.

For more shade we took a small paved path. We saw some horses and passed the farm again. Now the café was open and an old lady greeted us warmly. We had missed her before because she had been cleaning the cottages as they were expecting guests. Unbelievable! She was 85 years old and still working hard. The timing wasn’t so good because it was now her lunchtime so we just drank a glass of water, had a little chat with her, and then left her to her lunch, which was standing on the table and was no more than bread and a plate of wild greens that she had probably gathered herself.

No wonder she was still cleaning rooms at her age. We had got quite hungry ourselves and were eager to go back to the taverna at Karionas and have lunch. We knew what we wanted for our veggies!

The timing was perfect. Jan and Amber had just arrived. But the taverna was closed even though the bread was gone and there was a car there that hadn’t been there that morning.

So we drove to Perama, a beautiful fishing village at the golf of Geras, and ,besides a big variety of fish, what was on the menu?…. magic wild greens. Why do I call them magic? Because from now on, I’ll be eating them. Who knows – maybe I will be still cleaning my own holiday house when I am 85.

Karen



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