The title that best describes me is 'muse' and I have various hats*:
* In real life I never wear hats. Apart from my pointy witchy one...
** Not the same as an eskimo (Inuit).
*** When I am in Greece I host holiday retreats. I also see individuals for book writing coaching and bespoke retreats.
We have travelled across the island to Skala Eressos in taxis, with friends, in hire cars and by bus. For entertainment value I recommend the bus.
It begins in Mytilini where you buy your ticket before you get on. You will have a seat number but someone else will be sitting in yours. Sit somewhere else and try not to look panic stricken when anyone gets on. If someone looks like they might ask you to move stare straight ahead or slightly tilt your head and gaze out of the window.
Even though the island is mountainous the journey isn’t scary; I have never felt like we were about to slither downwards off road to lower ground.
Greek bus drivers are multi-taskers of the highest order. Once, on the island of Syros the driver was chatting with a passenger who was standing on the steps, eating, texting and driving. We were safe because, despite all this, as Edward Enfield (Harry’s father) writes in Greece on my Wheels, “Greek bus drivers can see around corners and through granite.”
The bus will stop in random places. Sometimes people get off and new passengers get on or some get off just for a little while and then back on. If it stops somewhere in amongst other buses pay attention because you might be changing. This can seem a spur of the moment idea from the driver but is probably part of the grand plan.
On one of our bus journeys we travelled from Skala Eressos to Sigri. The bus stopped on the junction before the road sweeps down around the mountain. The driver told us to wait and he went for a lie down in the baggage hold with side doors open to let the breeze though. After about 20 minutes a bus arrived from (we think) Mytilini and 2 Greeks plus a tourist got off and alighted ours. The drivers had a chat and then off we set off once more.
On a journey Mick took alone from Skala to Mytilini the driver stopped the bus in the countryside near to Vatoussa and got off to pick a bunch of blossom. No-one batted an eyelid because this is normal.
The bus takes about 2 hours to cross the island and you will see amazing views all the way. The last part is along the straight road down into Skala and the bus will trundle into the car park, which is its final destination. As the air brakes breathe out and you hear the sea calling you know you have arrived.
It's a lot of fun for not much money.
Kos was the first place in Greece we visited. Stepping from the plane to be enveloped by the warm air I felt as though I'd arrived home. I realised my attraction wasn't Kos (lovely as it is), it was Greece.
After settling in our hotel I strolled around to a local shop and before I'd got to the checkout I had met, chatted with and been invited to have tea with the Vice Consulate's secretary. Like you do. I duly presented myself and we chatted away about all things greek. I left there a self-proclaimed expert and I was hooked.
The next few years were spent searching for the somewhere Greek where we might put down a little of our root ball. No idea where that might be but we'd be sure to know when we found it. We hopped about various islands and as in the previous post we visited Lesvos but stayed in Petra and the surrounding area with a 3 day jaunt down to Vatera. I have to give all the well-done points to Mick for his cajoling/nagging/keeping on about visiting Eressos and I agreed in an almost huffy way just to shut him up.
Well, shows how much I know. Nothing could have prepared me for the spontaneous whole body sighs that slipped forth when we arrived in Skala. I know now that this happens a lot and I see people having that same experience. Often there are no words, it is visceral; an uncontrollable feeling of joy. It might be a silent revelling and sometimes it is a smile and a nod in acknowledgement that they too are in on the secret.
I now feel that I have a personal relationship with the 'Rock' (this will feature in a future post). I pretend I am a local when I am there and no-one seems to mind. If they do they are polite enough to not say anything. Or, maybe they haven't noticed or care-such is the bohemian way.
Here is where the Siren truly calls competing with the muses for your heart and soul. Be prepared x
The picture is me 'owning' the sea early in the year before everywhere awakens.
How did we end up obsessed in love with Skala Eressos?
Mick shares our journey.
At the end of a dusty track below craggy cliffs we sat within a ring of rocks in a pool fed by a blistering hot stream cooled to a smooth sulphurs healing soup by the lapping Aegean-the silence broken only by the trickle of stones from high above as a goat impossibly traversed the cliff face.
Here with our 3 children, and no other souls near by, on the last day of a holiday to Kos many years ago, washed in a need- a desire- to return to Greece and explore the islands at any opportunity.
We first came to Lesvos 12 years ago but on that visit we didn’t make it to the Eressos - Sigri area and regarded it as ‘unfinished business.’ We put this right a few years ago and since then Eressos has had a gravitational affect drawing us back.
The bustle of Mytilini with its harbour-side bars filled with the happy throng of travellers, locals and students primes the senses for the journey through pine forest. Ancient olive groves then begrudgingly give way to new roads that descend to the astonishing Kalloni Bay. Refreshed with coffee in a street side taverna the road traces the edge of the bay then over a ridge to the mountain moonscape beyond Agra to Mesotopos. All the while the sea far below twinkles and changes with the clear light. It’s sobering to think of the farmers on these ancient terraces watching passing ships and would Helen have looked up to here whilst sailing passed - swept away to Troy?
Winding down the mountains, then the straight flat few miles fills us with anticipation for the food, the Aegean and the wonderful people in this magical corner of the world.
Right then, now what… my words.