And the island Lemnos...
is situated in the North Aeean. An island with lots of history and even more mythology. Zeus punished Hefaestus and send him away from Olympus to his exile place, Lemnos.
Lemnos is an impressive volcanic island. Born of volcanic eruptions deep within the Aegean Sea. Today, with the exception of some strange rock formation, there is little to remind us of its origins. Huge jagged rocks on the western coast of the island stand menacingly over sandy white beaches and the azure sea as proof of the volcanic activity.
(I just stopped myself from typing the entire mythological story of Lemnos!!!)
Everywhere in th eisland one meets scenic little harbours, wide plains, pockets of dense pine forests, traditional villages, stone houses with red teracotta roofs, murals on the streets and gardens.
The village we stayed at, Kontopouli, was peaceful and yet alive. People treated us as locals for the first day. I just feel so much more human in the islands you know. It makes me smile and it makes me happy when I go for the first time in a grocery store to buy some fruit and water and I give a note of 50 euros for a bill of 13 euros and the shop owner tells me...I don't have change, come tomorrow to pay your bill. It makes me feel that there is still trust in people.
We have traveled the Greek islands a lot with my husband. And we both concluded that Lemnos has the best beaches so far. Long and wide sandy beaches. The sand started white, but the more to the north you traveled, the more it changed its colours. It turned golden. It got almost red, like terracota. And then a few beaches with impressive rocky sides, small gulfs. You could wander a little in small dirt roads and you could find your own beach, sometimes just a small piece of sand, big enough for two beach towels next to each other, surrounded by rocks, sometimes a long golden beach strangely quiet.
I think most of the days we were alone in the beach.
We lived in a small house. It was perfect! Picture this. 5 little butter-and-egg yellow houses with hunter green windows and door and terracota tiles in the roof, each about 15 meters away from the other, in a property with lots of fruit trees and veggies: tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons, corns, damson trees, grapes, plums, quince trees, fig trees. See, EC is promoting something called agricultural tourism, and they give funds to people who will combine agricultural and touristic business. This can be a farm providing everything for a tavern, or rental houses built in agricultural properties (such as in our case), etc. The house was a studio inside, with a small kitchenette, a bath, and a bedroom/living room of about 40 square meters. And this all for 35 euros a day!!!
We would wake up in the morning, and I would walk to the village (the houses were about a kilometer outside the village in the plain) buy yogurt or eggs for Angelos' breakfast, cut some fruit or veggies, depending if he would have an omellete or yogurt, make his breakfast, drink my coffee, take the map, and plan the daily escapade.
We would look for a beach or go to the same beach as the day before, and we would usually be there at noon. And we would stay there till 8 sometimes 9 o clock in the evening. We would take lots of fruits with us. A melon, nectarines, figs, plums, grapes, and 2 bananas,,,lol,,,,Angelos can't live without bananas, while the only way I can have them is dipped in Nutella (but I had no banana in the last year or so!)
When we were alone in the beach, we would swim naked. I will tell you a secret now. The way to get in closer contact with your body is to spend time with it naked. You get more familiar and eventually more friendly towards it. I know ... Daze is just thinking that the mad woman has returned as she is reading this. But if you ever get the chance to swim naked, I promise you you will get out of the water and feel double appreciation of yourself than before entering the water!!!
We read a lot in the beach. We played lots of backgammon too (the holiday score was Argyro: 46!!!! Angelos: 45. we started with Angelos:14 Argyro: 4 hehehe...I still brag about it..and of course have refused every single game he has proposed since we returned! ) And we moved a lot too. We played rackets an hour a day. You know these wooden rackets with the tennis ball you play in the beach? hard work girlies. My legs and arms and buttocks hurt like crazy! We swam, snorkeled, played volley in the sea, and I walked each and every beach from one side to the other countless times. Sometimes vigorous walk, sometimes I spent 20 minutes in the same 100 meters picking up sea shells or pebbles or weird things I saw. And if we were alone in the beach, we would make love in the water. (It's so difficult for me to make love in our bedroom now!!!) The water was so warm! So crystal! So turquoise! When the time to go approached, I used to run and say one more swim one more swim! hint! lol
We would then return. The scenery on our way back was breathtaking. Sun setting in long golden harvested wheat fields, mingled with vineyards, tomato fields, pumpkin fields. Humidity mixing the eathy aromas. Lounge music playing loud in the car stereo, none of us talking, just breathing in the images and the smells. Lemnos has a lot of wild life too. Birds I mean. We saw so many wonderful birds the names of which I don't know even in greek! But there is one salt lake, Aliki, where hundrends and hundrends of flamingos stay. We never thought that flamingos exist in Greece. We were told that they come from Africa to spend the winter, but many of them stay the whole year! Aliki was about 7 km from our village, and no matter which way we were, we would always pass from there, and look at them as the sun setting made them all look almost purple...
We would arrive at the house, and we would turn the tv on! Angelos would take a shower and listen to the Olympics on tv, and I would make a coffee, and sit in the veranda and sip it slowly listening to the Olympics as well. We watched too little, but did listen some more! Actually we watched the opening ceremony in a tavern full of locals - quite an experience! - we watched the men in the rings (gymnastics? aint sure Im saying it right), we watched weight lifting, men's diving, and women's synchronised swimming - the next day in the beach we were doing our own numbers...lol
Then I'd shower while Angelos would do stuff like cutting his nails, look at the map to plan the next day (plans which always changed the next morning). Usually, we would then walk to the village, and have dinner in the same tavern almost every night.
Dinner was perfect. See, I was lucky! (Though not pleased with my luck while there) This island sandy beaches with not too deep waters are ideal for family vacations. So all the tavers and restaurants served more of their cooked foods for lunch, and by the time we were going for dinner, all we could have was either grilled fish or grilled meat, in a vast variety, but just that. Plus various salads and cheeses and smalls tuff, like fried small peppers, zucchinis or eggplant, yoghurt dip, veggie mixes, small fried cheese pies, etc. i would have one fried thing, lots of tzatziki (the yoghurt dip, pretty much like the sauce you have on your pitta gyros but thicker, more real), and something grilled for my main course. A glass of wine occasionally, and lots of water melon at home while we played cards at night in the veranda. That and the fruit in the beach was my only food. I ate big quantities though! I had wine 5 times, I had half an icecream cone once, I had one piece of walnut pie, I had some kind of local pasta (made with whole wheat and eggs) one night with chicken in a tomatoe sauce, the other time with lobster in tomato sauce, I had meatballs with 10 french fries once and that's it. All the other days I was eating so fine!
And I didn't really bother! It came natural. After all this energy I spent all day in the beach, the 4 km I was walking (2 in the morning to the village and back to buy things for breakfast, 2 in the night to have dinner) I just wanted to eat good stuff. And when I craved some icecream and the icecream cone was not that good, I ate half and gave the rest to Angelos! (But I ate ALL the walnut pie plus two spoonsfulls of his cos it was devine!!! In Greece we make walnut pies like cakes...with almost equal quantity of flour and crushed walnuts and when we take it out of the oven we make a syrup and pour it over when its still hot. mmmm I tell you it is !!!!!)
I have given you almost all of our holidays. Almost. Because no words can describe serenity. No words can describe the taste of etesian wind. No words can describe the smell of small pebbles. No words can describe the warmth of coolness. No words can describe the sight of nothingness. No words can describe the touch of sand.
But you know what else words cannot describe? The feeling of constantly moving your body all day around just because you feel that if you don't all this energy you fill will choke you! Words cannot describe the look of proudness in your beloved's eyes when they see you run for the ball one more time. Not just sit there and expect him go get it. Words cannot describe the face your partner had when they saw you after holidays and exclaimed: OMG you did not gain weight during these holidays!!!!
I had not always been obese. I have spend years in my life when I was thin. But never I was so vigorous. Never I was so happy. Never I was such a windwhirl!