Sun, June 23
This morning we had to tender for the first time to the beautiful island of Mytilene dating to the 11th century B.C. Population 100,000 and the 3rd largest island in Greece, it boasts more than ten million olive trees. So it was fitting that we visited the Olive Press Museum to find out the history of olive oil production. Very interesting exhibition of the first steam-powered factory built in 1887. The machinery has been restored and is in use today.
Although the island welcomes tourists you will find no huge resorts and hotels here. It is still a very simple and unspoilt island; very fertile with vegetation right down to the sea. We saw gardens for the first time since leaving Singapore and roses seem to do particularly well here.
Houses are painted in pale colours, beige, pink or blue, mostly two storeys and look quite spacious.
There are many styles – Neo Classical, Baroque, Gothic and European; amazingly, they all blend in. Rustic stone mansions with gardens filled with jasmine, palms and fruit trees. Small wrought iron balconies – very lovely.
As it was Sunday, all businesses were closed. All (and I mean all) the men in the small villages were in the cafes. Where are the women, we asked, to which our tour guide explained that they were all at home cooking. No females were in sight as we passed through several villages; the only exceptions being the souvenir shops and around the port.
Of course we had to visit some churches with their beautiful icons and impressive chandeliers, and we could not help but notice the imposing Mytilene Fortress built in the 5th century to protect the island from pirates.
Beaches are pebbly however the water is sparkling and crystal clear and you can either swim for free or pay two Euros to swim in the area with banana lounges, a bar, music and umbrellas.
We loved Mytilene – what a great holiday destination!