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The green is greener

26/12/18

The Greek island of Lesbos is located to the east of the Aegean Sea, overlooking Turkey’s west coast.

The olive groves, evergreen pine trees and a rich variety of perennial flora makes this island stand out in comparison to other touristic islands in the area.

It also has a unique authentic charm, mostly thanks to the warm and kind people of the island, which immediately reminds us of long forgotten times, when things were much simpler.

 

 

Winter is a great season to visit the island, and not just because of the extremely low flight costs. Wintertime in Lesbos brings out different qualities, different from the boiling summer, when all you can do is lay around at the beach.

The not-so-cold season is a good time to go on hiking trips in one of the dozens of walking trails around the island, or drive through dirt roads connecting isolated villages on the tops of the mountains. Up there, it is as if time has stood still, and you can catch breathtaking views of blue-and-turquoise bays where little fishing boats are anchored.

 

 

The green is greener in Lesbos, and even in the winter you can still enjoy sunny days and take a break from the rain. The local Tavernas are a perfect place to warm up next to wood furnaces, enjoy a welcoming and friendly hosting and indulge in Greek music and seasonal dishes.

 

 

Every weekend some of the Tavernas host live music and singing shows, with the local crowd raising the temperature with drinking, dancing and kindness of heart.

 

 

Winter is olive harvest season. The sloped hills do not scare any of us locals, and we set out to take care of each tree on the land, and bring back sacks full of fruit to one of the local olive presses, which will turn the raw fruit into “Aegean gold”, as we call olive oil in these parts. The presses are open for visitors who wish to experience this fruit alchemy up close, and in most of them, you can purchase oil of the highest quality.

The harvest itself is mostly done in the traditional method – with a stick made of chestnut wood. The sound of the stick knocking on the olive branches is like the winter’s soundtrack played for the passersby.

 

 

Women siting together, filling bottles of olives for pickling are a common sight during the harvest season. They use salt water for the brine, which is taken straight from the sea! The local recipe is passed down generation after generation, and to us westerners may sound like a strange, utopic dream.

I follow the local’s instructions closely, and my own pickled olives (almost) reach that addictive, local flavor.

 

 

Women siting together, filling bottles of olives for pickling are a common sight during the harvest season. They use salt water for the brine, which is taken straight from the sea! The local recipe is passed down generation after generation, and to us westerners may sound like a strange, utopic dream.

I follow the local’s instructions closely, and my own pickled olives (almost) reach that addictive, local flavor.

 

street in Lesbos

 

Lesbos is blessed with many hot springs, and this time of year is a great opportunity to visit them. The waters have medicinal properties and the temperatures are among the highest in Europe’s natural springs.

One of my favorite natural hot spring is close to Year beach. It is a facility with separate pools for men and women, showers and high hygiene standards. You can also book massages and other treatments there.

For nature and geology buffs – Lesbos offers a chance to visit one of two fossil forests in the world. A nature reserve of a fossil forest in the western part of the island presents 20 million year old tree trunks (!), that are colored in many hues by lava that poured on them. In the small museum in the nearby town of Sigri you can learn more about the volcanic events that created the forest, and that are still taking place today.

Winter is a good time to fall in love with the island, only to come back and get to know it in every other season.

 

molivos Lesbos

Tamar Tadmor is an artist living in Lesbos. For more details on Tamar’s upcoming painting workshops on the island, click here.

 

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