It is Sunday now and we are back by the pool in a much busier hotel. Tuesday’s plan was a romantic starlight cruise round the North West bay, on arrival we found that, much to our disappointment, although advertised, it did not run “this early in the season” - not enough people. At a loss we wandered the harbour watching schools of fish in the clear water beneath us. Into the harbour cmae a small boat advertising personal trips for a maximum of 4 persons - running to grap the captain, Stradis, Sam found that he offered a 1-2 hour trip at €60.
With a prospect of a night time boat ride the next night we happily settled for our second meal at The Captain’s Table, looking for some fresh fish! On showing our interest, Melinda invited us into the kitchen to peruse the fresh fish they had - taking them out of the ice box one by one explaining taste, type, bones and price. The Hate and Sea Bream took our fancy, and after Sam’s anxiety over bones, her’s came pre-filleted, both with head and tail still attached. Delicious! Next to us were a couple from our hotel, with a lovely looking Captains Platter. We chatted over complimentary Ouzo before having a lift home from our new friends.
Wednesday brought an early start, at breakfast for 7:30, in taxi at 8:10, we headed to Petra to begin the first of three walks as outlined in “Walks in North Lesvos” by Lance Chilton. For something easy to begin with, we took the 30 - 45 min walk to Anaxos around the coast, along Petra’s main road, round the waterline past seaweed mounds, a mooring place and rocks to scramble over, we reached Anaxos with relative ease. On discovery that Anaxos is nothing more than a taverna/hotel filled tourist trap for sun worshipers, we opted for the second walk, round a dirt track in the hills to the secluded beach of Ambelia, about an hours walk. The temperature was rising, but the route offered some shade and it was just bearable for Sam. After some trouble finding the start of the trail, our walk took us to a wonderful view of the beach and the high up village of Skoutaros, then winding down across a small river and finally to the south end of the sandy beach. A single Taverna, “George’s” gave us our much needed refreshment and toilet stop. Here we found a riverbed filled with Terrapin’s which fought over chunks of our crusty bread.
We ate our salami and bread lunch in a shaded alcove at the end of the bay, throwing remains to the ever grateful fish. Our return route, the third walk, took us up and over the cliffs, the coastal path. Glorious views of cliffs covered in “Yellow everlasting”, Poppies and clear blue sea’s below came at the cost of no shade and the odd thorny encounter plus some beastly hornets, as well as passing one man and his reluctant horse in tow. Taking this route in the height of the day did not prove to be the best idea, we missed our bus and were left utterly parched and sun-roasted in the terrible Anaxos. We were saved by a lady named Alison, pointing us towards a pool and some refreshments where we cooled off for an hour or two, with countless applications of moisturiser and sun lotion.
After the bus home, tired and headached, we opted to postpone the boat trip and headed for the recommended Eftalou Restaurant. From our hotel to the restaurant at the pebbly beach we were accompanied by a charming little dog. Amongst numerous cats and denied food requests (“we don’t have that - try this…”) we ate the fish of the day and a fresh tuna steak, with complimentary Watermelon for dessert. Whilst its hard to pinpoint anything bad, we left very disappointed with the place. Perhaps it was the selection of food on offer (Zucchini pie advertised but not available) or the misunderstanding over fish of the day not gilt headed bream as it appeared, but the unexciting Cod, who knows. Despite the mediocrity we left with high spirits.
Thursday was another day spent by the pool, saying goodbye to friends we made in the week, preparing for the inevitable Thursday changeover that takes back the Brits and brings in the fresh ones. Our hotel was getting ready for full capacity, from 80 to 190 guests. It was sad to see everyone go, the couples and the families, and we chatted in the sun by the pool until 4pm when their coach departed, with pork Souvlakis from Fantastico in between.
With all the old English gone and the new not yet acquainted, Molyvos was very quiet on Thursday night - as we headed to the harbour for our boat trip. Unfortunately, today the wind had picked up to coincide with hotter temperatures (33C), making the sea too choppy for a romantic night on a small boat for 2. With banana and watermelon ice creams we pondered the cost, when a slightly larger 10 person glass bottomed boat docked. Through Sam’s sprint for the captain and inquisitive nature we bagged a discounted €15 each trip around Petra and Rabbit island with dinner included, ditching Stradis and his smaller boat - which we felt bad about but concluded that he would not have taken us out in the wind. The larger boat cut through the waves much easier and the greek music played as our captain Alex took us to a mooring place on Rabbit island, via some underwater reefs viewed through the bottom. The thousands of nesting gulls on the island were not best pleased to see us as we headed to the top they squawked and began to dive at us, “WHOOSH” over my head, needless to say we were out of there quickly, back on the boat for the prepared barbecue. Our return took us via Petra, watching the red sunset quickly descent into the haze of the horizon.
Back in Molyvos, not quite sated, we hunted down Tropicana and “The Square”, higher up in the town, towards the harbour, an area not yet explored. Despite its generic name, Tropicana gave us a delightful greek salad with well priced Mythos and ‘concocted from two drinks’ Orangeade.
Friday became Car Rental Day, we looked at BEST, Avis and Hertz. Avis gave us the best deal, a yellow Hyundai Alto for €32 a day, with full insurance covered by First Choice, compared to €47 from BEST. I nail-bitingly aided Sam in her wrong-side of the road endeavour, reminding that we are now driving on the right and that the steering wheel should be in the middle of the road.
After trying out the roads we knew, we bravely headed through the winding, perilous mountain roads for Kalloni and Sakala Kallonis. Taking it slow and letting others overtake where we could, we made it to the bustling town, second largest in Lesbos, Kalloni. A lot of the Greek cheeriness appeared to have escaped this busy, functioning locale. With a stroll, a stop at a fine hidden bakery, supermarket stop for some feta cheese and salami and getting lost in the sun and streets, we escaped southwards for Skala Kallonis, missing the turn and carrying along to a very quiet, sandy beach just before Parakila. The only others there were locals, the parasols were free and the taverna cheap. The Kalloni gulf is ridiculously salty, giving us an enjoyable extra buoyancy in our sea side swimming. The sand fell away to a decent depth quickly, with the bonus of clear water for watching the large fish, crabs and hermits that nestled and nibbled at our toes unafraid.
After 4 hours the school kids were out, splashing loudly they engulfed the beach so we returned back to the car and onwards to Skala Kallonis correctly this time. Upon parking, a very British club-going sort of fella that now lived on the island explained and divulged the secret wonders of the moths and caterpillars, as long swirling, squiggly things rained on us from the trees above. The famed migratory birds had long gone, to my disappointment. Rather than eating at Medusa which we finally found, amongst a fisherman clubbing an octopus, we drove home before nightfall, with a small detour to Agia Paraskevi in search of Apollo’s temple.
Sam’s fear of heights really kicked in on the return leg, we made safe but slow progress. Congratulating Sam on a job well done, something she was clearly very nervous about doing, we returned the car (I had a small scooter trip), and had a full meal of Beef Goulash and Stifado at Tropicana, with their speciality salad and feta stuffed peppers. Stuffed, happy and relieved, we slept soundly.