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Phespirit goes to Lesvos
Molyvos     September 2002


Map of Lesvos

1 Molyvos  [Μόλυβος]

As delightful as Molyvos is, Phespirit only ventured into town for a look around the fortress and for food.

The fortress was built by the Byzantines, extensively repaired and enlarged by the Genoese, conquered and preserved by the Turks.

Today it is a shell of walls strewn inside with rubble, but the views are superb once past the fearsome dog tied up in the courtyard.

For food: The Captain's Table by the harbour's edge. Phespirit can recommend their Special Grilled Chicken, or a nice freshly caught White Bream, followed by the lemon cheesecake for dessert, with a crisp bottle of the Limnos to wash it all down. Mmmm.

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2 Eftalou  [Εφταλού]

Hot springs, secluded bays, quiet beaches and the warm water of the north Aegean .....

..... is Eftalou.

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3 Leimonos Monastery  [Λειμώνος]

On an island reknowned for the eminance and liberty of its women it is perhaps surprising that no woman may enter the main church of the historic Leimonos Monastery of St. Igantius.

All the other parts of the monastery are opened to the public, men and women alike, but the tradition of the church must be observed strictly: women are not even permitted to step into the courtyard.

They say men are banned from some convent church up the road, if that's any consolation .....

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4 Vatoussa  [Βατούσα]

Vatoussa - like Molyvos - is a settlement of red-tiled town houses frozen in character by an architectural preservation order.

Phespirit mooched round for half an hour but left disgusted by his inability to find anywhere that could sell him a Solero.

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5 Petrified Forest  [Απολιθωμένο Δάσος]

There are supposedly only two petrified forests in the world: a 300 million year-old one in Arizona and this 20 million year-old one on the western side of Lesvos. Now, hands up who knew that?

The guide book says:

  • volcanic eruptions caused huge mudflows of rain and ash;
  • dense rich forest was covered with pyroclastic materials;
  • intense hydrothermal circulation of silica-rich fluid followed;
  • organic plant material was replaced molecule by molecule;
  • an entire ecosystem became fossilised in situ;
  • trunks were preserved standing with root systems intact;

This unique park covers 150,000 hectares and is a must-see.

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6 Skala Eressou  [Σκάλα Ερεσού]

Here be Lesbians.

The resort of Skala Eressou is set on a sandy beach to the south of Eressos, birth place of the poetess Sappho. It is also the most popular gathering place for the cosmopolitan influx of homosexual women (natives do not use the word 'Lesbian' in this context) who swell the island's population each summer.

The atmosphere is easy-going in the extreme.

Phespirit had a bite to eat around the harbour before moving down the beach to catch a sublime hour of broken sunshine.

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7 Thermi On Yera  [Γέρα]

The hot spring of Thermi on Yera is not as hot as the hot spring of Eftalou, which makes it more comfortable for prolonged lounging.

The rules of the establishment here are:

  • separate bath houses for men and women;
  • no bathing costumes to be worn in the pool;
  • clothes must be left in a locker with no lock;
  • a shower to be taken before entering the pool;
  • immerse in the waters and forget about time;
  • a cold shower to be taken upon leaving;

A restaurant outside sells drinks and Soleros.

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8 Mytilene  [Μυτιλήνη]

Mytilene is the capital of the island and its biggest town by far.

It has a short single-runway airport, a large commercial harbour, a couple of noteworthy churches, a university, a filthy power station, an ouzo factory, and an important archaeological museum.

Plus a load of shops and restaurants and stuff.

Phespirit bought two bottles of Mini ouzo, some Havana Club rum and some Strawberry brandy, then went off for an hour around the museum where he particularly admired the Menander mosaics.

Outside, for ten minutes, it chucked down rain like never before.

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  1. Molyvos
  2. Eftalou
  3. Leimonos Monastery
  4. Vatoussa
  5. Petrified Forest
  6. Skala Eressou
  7. Thermi On Yera
  8. Mytilene
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Molyvos Eftalou Leimonos Monastery Vatoussa Petrified Forest Skala Eressou Thermi On Yera Mytilene