12/07/16 – 18/7/16
Again we took a ferry, this time across the sea to Lesbos, about 2.5 hours ride away from Ayvalik.
As we approached Greece we saw four grey naval boats patrolling the coast line, presumably on the watch for refugees from Syria.
We had a day in Mylitini of finding the places we wanted to visit being closed before we got to them, never mind, we will know for tomorrow….
However, we happened across this tree, a ‘Solidarity tree’ in a small wood near Mylintini Castle. It has messages written on pieces of old dinghy, by refugees and those who have been supporting them.
The following day we had a bit of a cultural morning visiting the Archeological Museum and Mytilini Castle. There were lots of examples of amazing ceramics, some dating from the 5th century BC. Looking at the delicacy of the artwork you can appreciate the level of sophistication of ancient Greek culture.
We also saw mosaics from both Ancient Greek and Roman periods which were rescued from sites near Mylitini.
On the second day on the island we peddled around 25km down the coast to get to a nice little beach surrounded by pine trees, with a little taverna close by. Our ride back to Mylitini as the sun set was lovely, with gorgeous views along the coast.
After two nights on Lesvos we caught the day ferry to Chios, another Greek Island just off the coast of Turkey where we spent a few days exploring this smaller island.
We found accommodation in Karfas, a small town 8km south of the town of Chios and just a few minutes’ walk from a lovely sandy beach with beautifully clear water….
We spent our second day exploring Pyrgi, a small town in the centre of the Mastic producing area of Chios. We caught the bus since the 20km distance was along some seriously hilly terrain. The town was fascinating with lots of buildings decorated in a distinctive style with geometric patterns chisled out of the stonework and picked out in white.
We also visited the Mastic museum near the town, which told the story of the material that is harvested from trees in the surrounding countryside.
Mastic formed the mainstay of the wealth of Chios for hundreds of years. The resin , mastic, is from a particular tree that has been bred to suit the climate of the island and is used medicinally and for food purposes.
The following day we explored an area known as the Campos. This was an area where lots of citrus estates had been developed since the time of the Genoese settlement of Chios in the 15th Century.
Cycling along the narrow lanes between the high walls which surrounded each estate was fascinating … the stonework not only protected the citrus crops from theft, but it also helped to provide the suitable microclimate to allow the successful cultivation of various citrus fruits.
In between our explorations of the island we were also lucky to tale advantage of the lovely sandy beach just 5 minutes’ walk from our apartment. Lovely clear sea (Adriatic) with a comfortable temperature provided a great way to cool off from the hot sunshine of the Aegean Summer.
We’re now en route to Pireaus, the port for Athens, with our tandem safely stowed on the car deck of one of the regular ferries that connect the Greek Islands to the mainland. We plan to spend a couple of days seeing yhe sights before heading west to Corinthos and Patras….