May 27, 2014
Another no wind day at sea has finally found us in Myrina on the island of Limnos. Lovely. The entrance to the harbor has a beautiful white Greek Orthodox Church on a promontory on one side and a well-preserved castle on the opposite flanking hilltop. Fellow boaters grabbed our lines as we came in … English couple in their late 70s to our left and a French/Australian couple and their friends to our right. Both groups are pleasant folks who alerted us that electricity and water was available by purchasing a card for the utility box at the café across the street called “The Nautilas”. The owner, Fortis, was happy to arrange the arrival of the diesel fuel oil truck to fill up Pakilar.
The quay in Myrina is quite small. This keeps things fairly quiet. The town looked empty when we first arrived around 2pm. Later, we discovered there is a great walking street of shops and tons of things to see and do. The island is quite large actually and we plan to rent a car tomorrow to see the sites. After our 7pm delivery of fuel, we headed off to dinner. We took a break from traditional food and ate at Cavo Del Mare (Cavo del Mare – Restaurant and Studios Tel: 22540 24767 www.cavodelmare.gr email: email@example.com ) . It had some excellent Italian dishes. Cavo is one of a series of restaurants at a bay north of town. It was easy walking distance from our boat. You head up the walking street from the town quay and proceed past “bank square” (lots of banks, hence the name). If you take the first left after bank square, you will see the beach straight ahead. At the beach, take a right. This bay is beautiful and we timed it right for a magnificent sunset that I could not capture on film. This is the Greek experience that you hope for, the one yousee in the movies…setting sun, gentle lap, lap of the water, and a perfect breeze.
We will rent a car tomorrow to see the sights. The island has one of the most ancient of Neolithic settlements and a winery. What a combination!
May 28, 2014 Limnos experienced the earthquake this past Saturday and was closer to the epicenter. At one point in its history, the entire island was destroyed by earthquake…a geologically precarious place. New moon tonight and rain forecasted for Thursday and Friday, so we have decided to do as much touring as possible in the next two days. We head to our Holiday rental car parked in the parking area near our boat and ferry dock (both a major ferry and airport on the island) and are taking pictures even before we leave the lot. What do we see but an old Volkswagen Beetle that is completely painted with different scenes and slogans and carrying a couple of old bags, skis, on its roof rack. As we travel around the island, we see at least two more small cars (Fiat and ??) which local artists / art lovers have painted as an object d’art. This car is the best and deserving of its place of honor near the quay. The car’s major slogan, written in Italian for some reason, was “The Trip is an expansion of being” …Words of wisdom for this traveler who is “always a tourist”. We hop into our small Hyundai and head out to explore.
Our first stop was Kontias with its windmills. These are the charming “fat” windmills with the very large blades that you see in travel brochures for Greece. These windmills are often converted into apartments now. It is a short stop here with a picture of a second painted car and we head to the residential section of Kontias. Major roads on Limnos take you through the narrow old world towns of many of the villages on the island. Many times we think we are lost and off track but actually we are still on what is considered the major roadway. The streets through Kontias are a perfect example. They are winding and beautiful with stonewalls and walkways. Every third house is an oasis of green, homes of dedicated gardeners creating their own tropical rain forest. We stopped blaming our GPS for our being lost and enjoyed the ride.
Stopped in Nea Koutali to see the maritime museum but it was closed. The Greeks traditionally close at 2pm and open again after 6pm. It was a good time to lunch in Kotsinas at Giannakaros Restaurant Tel: 22540 41744 email: firstname.lastname@example.org The restaurant is on a small bay that looks more like a salt pond. There are a several other restaurants right on the water. We ate some delicious grilled squid / calamari, sardines and fried zucchini and a few other dishes. All were very good and super-sized…very unusual. We actually took food back to the boat. Apologies to our French friends, who, I believe, are always a bit are a bit turned off by the American doggie bag.
Headed to Atsiki and the Chatzigeopiou Winery. It closed at 5 and it was 5:20. Bummer. I suspect we will return tomorrow. Drove back to the boat viewing small vineyards, rolling brown hills dotted with a few fruit trees and many spectacular views of the bays that ring the island. Still stuffed from lunch. Ended up watching a wonderful French film directed by Claude Berri called “Jean de Florette” with Yves Montand, Gerard Depardieux, and Daniel Auteuil.
May 29, 2014
Marcelo is staying aboard today (well-deserved break from his crazy American boat owners). He is off to buy new breather hoses for fueling up. Tom and I are headed to Atsiki and the winery. I think someone drew the short straw…wine tasting vs. hose shopping…hhhmmm.
Ava and John, a French / English couple who live in central France near Beaujolais, and an Australian couple from Perth, George and Fran, are planning to come to the winery too. We checked the hours yesterday and are sure to find it open today. Areti and Petros Chatzigeorgiou’s winery is one of five in Lemnos and the largest. Areti met us in the winery tasting room. Quite nice wines here with a focus on the whites. Their only red wine is fermented using a chilling process that effectively freezes the grapes before the fermentation process. We toured the facility beginning with the arrival of the grapes, culling, creating the mash, fermentation, filtering and bottling. I love plant tours and Areti did an excellent job showing us the whole process. Areti explained that the winery did not grow its own grapes but purchased them from small vineyards all around the island. (Must make it tough for quality control and competition over growers with other wineries.) We purchased a number of wines and a champagne that we liked (fruity, not clear like the Moets, but festive). We told Areti that we would return next year when she hopes to offer us a Grappa that they are working on.
John, Ava, Fran and George arrived at the winery during our tour and we all decided to go to lunch together at a Taverna in the mountains. Very simple atmosphere but wonderful home cooking at Taverna Man-Tella. Sardes, Lemnos Tel: 22540 61349. Mama cooks and son serves. It is a winner combination. Tom asked the son, our waiter whose name escapes me, if his Mama would like another son. He laughed a “real” laugh. It is so hard to be a restaurateur. You must deal with the public, us, and we think we are very charming and very funny. Our waiter liked Tom. Greek coffee on the veranda and great conversations about life from three corners of the world…Australia, France, and America.
May 30, 2014
Catch up day before we ship off to Thessaloniki. Fist stop is the AB Grocery Store, larger than the one at the roundabout at the east end of the quay. (About 2 blocks after the school on the left). Returned the car to Holiday. Headed to Wind to make sure we are topped off and have an Internet booster antenna. Hope it works.
Had lunch on the boat and booked a massage at the Palace Hotel, a five star hotel outside of Myrina. Tracy O’Grady, a lovely young lady from Colin near Dublin, runs the Temple Spa in the hotel. Good cross-seller and a self-described low-risk adventurer (traveled somewhere where she already had a job. Sounds like a smart adventurer to me.) Charter flights from Gatwick to Limnos come one a week to this huge hotel with an Olympic + sized pool along a lovely beach. The hotel itself is very nice but absent “art”…gaps in design. It caters to families and has lots of family activities.
Came back to the boat and saw our neighbors John and Eva Bird (Boat named “Destiny” and invited them to join us for dinner. Lovely couple. We shared our interests in travel, of course, books and film. John gave me a book of British mysteries that I am looking forward to reading. Eva had some wonderful suggestions on films/movies. We had a very nice meal at Romeo Restaurant at Mypina Ahmnoy Tel: 22540 22622, 25151. They are headed to the Peloponnesian chain of Greek islands this next Sunday and plan to go through the Corinth Canal (One way traffic in this long canal with a stop light at either end and no place to pull over as you move your boat through. We went through a few years ago. I felt like Indiana Jones. Quite fun.) I hope we meet up with Eva and John again.