The flight to Lemnos was a pleasant 45 minutes. For such a short flight I’m amazed that they still give out a little snack, a bottle of water and a lemon scented hand wipe. I’ve been on longer bus journeys – imagine getting a bag of peanuts and a drink on the Number 42 to Wigan!
My favourite game to play when in-flight over Greece is spotting the locations. Islands are easy to spot and recognise as many of them have very distinctive shapes. The biggest surprise that I ever had was being able to see Meteora from my window seat – obvs not on this trip!
When we left Athens there was still thick cloud cover but as we headed out of the Sporades – more specifically Skyros, visibility was beginning to clear. The small islet of Sarakino just south of Skyros is a good landmark. The next one is a really easy spot – the small island of Agios Efstratios with its single settlement. Then we fly over the southern part of Lemnos over the distinctively shaped piece of land where you will find the Chapel of Agia Euphymia. The land was shaped a bit like a hammerhead shark. Not that I knew that this is where the Chapel of Agia Euphymia was but Google Maps helped me to identify it later. It’s a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
The one thing that struck me as we came in to land on Lemnos was that the island was a bright yellow colour. Actually not yellow exactly, more like Quinacridone gold watercolour paint. A vivid and bright golden hue with tinges of yellow ochre and burn umber, depending on the amount of pigment you lay down. It could be the early evening sun, dropping low in the sky and the agricultural landscape reflecting the light back upwards. Maybe it’s the time of year when the scrub covered terrain has faded to its autumnal state. Whatever it is, the island is alight!
Arriving at Lemnos Airport was very similar to landing on Skyros. The airports were very similar in size and layout – a small terminal building with a single luggage conveyor belt. The other similarity is that everyone else on the plane were being met by friends or family and there is no sign of a bus stop in sight.
Once my luggage was reclaimed (first off the belt) I wandered outside to see what was what. There was a taxi stand and a single empty taxi. It seems there are fixed rate fees for the taxis here.
I wandered back into the terminal to see if I could find the owner of the taxi and found him easily – by now the only other person in the terminal building. I asked him if he was available to take me to Myrina. He told me that he was but that I would have to wait for about ten minutes as he was awaiting a collection of blood for the local hospital. No problem at all – I’m more than happy to wait while he completes his important mission.
We head out from the airport through the golden landscape which I can see is agricultural. After dropping off the very important cargo at the hospital, I’m driven to the Apollo Pavilion Hotel where I will be staying for 8 nights.
Lucy the owner of the hotel is waiting to check me in. Because my luggage is heavy she has given me a ground floor room with a Kastro view. Hallelujah! No heaving my case up multiple flights of precarious stairs!
The room is really spacious, traditionally furnished and with so much attention to detail such as a hook to hang your key by the door and a plastic bowl for hand washing. There is plenty of storage space with generously sized wardrobes and plenty of hangers – always a bonus.
The room overlooks an orchard or oranges, lemons and pomegranates and the Kastro just pokes it head above the surrounding houses. I think that I’m going to like it here very much!
PS the following day I found a gift bag on my dressing table with a small bottle of wine, some salted nuts and a packet of oregano. What a lovely personal touch!
I quickly unpack and head out for something to eat. I chose the Apollo Pavilion primarily because of its location. Not that you can always tell on Google Maps where it is in relation to other things such as the port, but in this case, the hotel is perfectly placed. Once out of the hotel courtyard, there is a cobbled street that leads directly to the middle of the marketplace, a very pretty shaded shopping street with beautiful artisan shops. Turn left and walk to the end of the marketplace and you are at one corner of the wide harbour mouth.
Looming above the town is the magnificent Kastro, now illuminated against the pitch-black sky. I can never resist a kastro and one thing that I know for sure is that some of the best are in the Northern Aegean. This is at the top of my list to visit. For now, I’m pretty hungry and stop in a place called Sausage Village (Oooh err missus!) which is just in front of Hotel Lemnos. I ordered chicken souvlaki (surprise, surprise) and some ouzo. My first impression of Lemnos is that it is beautiful and I can’t wait to explore more!