Archive for Lesbos
Lesbos and Chios teem with natural delights, from picturesque waterfalls and sultry hot springs to forests fossilised by volcanic ash 20 million years ago. Pack your shorts for a warm spring holiday away from the tourist hordes on these two Greek islands that lie near Turkey in the north-east Aegean Sea. Wing it to Lesbos, known as Mytilíni by locals, which is a favourite spring.
All data based on Lesbos a Data from Hellenic National Meteorological Service b Data based on Molyvos resting spot on the avian migration route. In particular, Lake Metochi, the Tsiknias River and the Kalloni saltpans attract the likes of bee-eaters, olive-tree warblers, black-headed buntings and black storks. Don’t forget your boots: hundreds of miles of walking trails criss-cross Lesbos, one of Greece’s largest islands. A hike may lead through pine forests and meadows of wild orchids. Soothe your aching legs with a soak at one of the island’s hot springs – those at Eftalou in the north are on the beach. Stay at the nearby medieval town of Molyvos where red-stone houses cascade below a 14th-century castle down to a harbour and pebbly beach. Take a ferry from Lesbos to Chios to see a spectacular firework rocket war between two churches. This centuries-old battle takes place on the Saturday of Greek Orthodox Easter – a week after our own Easter – at the town of Vrontados. Stay at nearby Chios Town and don’t miss the superb Byzantine mosaics at the Unesco World Heritage site of Nea Moni, an 11th-century monastery.
Need to know
Ferries link Lesbos with other islands,
such as Chios and Limnos, but
services may be twice-weekly in April.
How to do it
The only non-stop flights in April are with Thomas Cook from Gatwick to Lesbos on Saturdays (from 18 April). A week’s package in the resort of Skala Kallonis – near the Kalloni saltpans – costs from around £400pp. Limosa, a specialist in birding holidays, has an eight-day tour of Lesbos in late April 2015 for £1,695pp, including flights.
More info: Rough Guide to the Greek islands.
Feeling excited as it was an excursion which we rarely do. Something we always plan but too busy in the summer and somehow too busy/lazy in the winter. Arranged by the committee of restaurants for the second time to cut the pita (the pie for the New Year). This is a tradition that is done all over Greece where a pie/pita (sweet) is cut with a coin inside and whoever gets the piece with the coin is lucky for the rest of the year.
A bus trip to visit olive oil factory in Yera , Ouzo factory in Plomari and lunch.
An amazing assortment of people turned up. All from restaurants in Molyvos and Scala Sikamia. People we never hang out with so it makes this excursion all the more interesting.
We passed through Kalloni with all the incredible birds in the salt flats, a working olive factory with lots of smoke pouring out of its chimney in Dipi, a flock of birds resting on electric wires, the flat as ice sea in the gulf of Yera and wonderful views through the bus windows.
Arriving in Yera village that has olive trees growing close to the water edge, there is the sign that directs you to the Olive press museum which is in the centre of the village, one of the first steam –powered factories on Lesvos. Olive oil is the second biggest income to the island after tourism.
A fantastic project. A decayed building which took 3 years to be restored. Photos of the before and after are hanging in every area of the building. It was very impressive. Personal hand held speakers in both Greek and English to direct/explain the tour of the museum. Well worth the visit!
Off to Plomari where we stopped first at the Museum of Barbayannis (one of the oldest ouzo factories) just before the main town.
Ouzo is made from pure alcohol made from sugar beet, grapes and sugar cane in factories that are over seen by the government. It must be very pure and clean alcohol so the taste is not affected. The alcohol is distilled and 35 different herbs and spices are introduced of which the main one is aniseed, that is grown for them in Lisvori and then dunked in salt water to keep the aroma of the herb longer. Once the ouzo is distilled it must be kept for 45 to 60 days in large vats which make it become sweeter and be able to be drunk.
There are 15 distilleries on Lesvos that make ouzo.
Lesvos produces over half of the total amount of ouzo produced in Greece
Ouzo is exported to over 35 countries.
Our next stop was the village Plomari. One of the largest villages of Lesvos. Once with over 12,000 inhabitants now with just under 3000 including the foreigners (we were told) . Impressed as compared to Molyvos it looked massive. Banks, supermarkets galore but many buildings in ruin. We noticed a lot of buildings built by a special green stone that created a lovely and different design.
Our final destination was lunch at a restaurant called Mouria, just outside the village of Plomari, which served us very fast and had great food.
In 2011 all of Lesbos was declared a UNESCO Geopark due the work of Nikos Zouros of the Museum of Natural History in Sigri in cooperation with numerous government agencies and the Municipality of Lesbos.
There are just over 90 Geoparks in the world. Geopark designation is given for: “A territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, not only for geological reasons but also by virtue of its archaeological, ecological or cultural value.” To keep the designation as a Geopark, the people of Lesbos and their elected leaders must show that they understand the heritage of the island and intend to protect it and make it accessible to tourists.
Lesbos has been designated a Geopark because of its geological history. Mount Olympos, the mountain where Agiassos is located, was thrust up from under the sea, along with the Alps, about 200 million years ago. This was during the time when the continents split apart from a single continent known as Pangaia. As Mount Olympos was formed of plankton under the sea, it is made up of soft marl or marble-like rock.
In contrast the whole Northwest part of the island was created between 22 million and 16 million years ago during massive volcanic explosions that formed the Aegean Sea. At that time Lesbos was connected to the mainland of Asia Minor, from which it separated only about 1 million years ago. Evidence of the volcanic explosions can also be found across the channel that now separates Lesbos from Turkey. The village of Assos, in Turkey, which can be seen from Sikamina, is built of the same type of volcanic stone used to build in Molivos.
Mount Lepetemos which towers over Molivos and Petra may have been one of the largest volcanoes the world has ever seen. Moliovos itself was a small volcanic mountain. Lava flows can still be seen in many parts of the village. The stones that were used to build the castle and the traditional buildings in Molivos are porous volcanic stone.
The rock on which the church of Petra was built was a vein of molten rock that was thrusting itself up from under the earth. It never exploded but remained in the center of a small mountain. Over time, the softer rock of the outer part of the mountain wore away, exposing the volcanic core. The monastery known as Ipsilos at the juncture of the roads to Eressos and Sigri is built on a larger exposed volcanic core. The village of Vatoussa is at the center of the crater of another very large volcano that exploded many times shaping the island as we know it today.
The volcanoes of Lesbos sometimes sent out masses of lava flow that might have taken as much as 10,000 years to cool. These flows can be seen in the shapes of the island’s mountains and hills. Other times the volcanoes threw out large boulders and great clouds of dust. Everything in the path of lava flows is burned up. But when volcanic dust settles on living things such as trees, their forms may be preserved. In Lesbos the Petrified Forest was created because dust fell at levels of several meters. Our Petrified Forest uniquely has trees still in place in the landscape with their roots, trunks, and even branches, showing exactly where they were living some 20 million years ago.
Visitors can learn more about the geological history of Lesbos in the context of the geological history of the planet at the Museum of Natural History in Sigri. A part of the Petrified Forest has been excavated on the museum grounds. There are also a series of signs called “The Lava Path” along the road from Filia to Sigri which explain the volcanic landmarks visible from the signposts. They are well-worth stopping to read as they tell an amazing story.
Carol P. Christ (Καρολινα Κριστ) is Vice President of Friends of Green Lesbos which has been working for years to protect the wetlands of Lesbos. In 2012 she ran for Greek National Parliament on the Green Party ticket in Lesbos-Limnos.