About Gareth

Born in Cumbria, raised in Stoke. Mum and dad are/were both walkers - this gave me the desire to walk and explore. I am a true Grecophile - lucky enough to holiday in Greece 3 times a year. Despite the current economic problems in Greece I will never stop going to the second best country in the World!

I’ve got you under my skin!

Flowers in the valley below the WatermillsI first visited Lesvos for a week in May 2011 with Nicky my partner and we stayed at the Blue Sky Studios in Petra.

Immediately upon alighting the transfer coach something got under our skin – don’t know what and still cannot really nail it completely. It had us under it’s spell – corny but true!

We had come prepared with lots of information regarding local walks gleaned from the internet with resources such as:

foxysislandwalks.com (no longer available) and the excellent “Walks in North Lesvos” by Lance Chilton.

Despite all our preparation nothing could have prepared us for the feeling of being hooked. Others may disagree but to me the sea is not as azure blue as some other Greek Islands, it’s not, on the surface, as picture postcard pretty as some other Greek Islands. That said what is has got is something, maybe the incredible warmth of the welcome, the feeling that you belong, or the immense and real sense of sadness when you leave to go home. You want to go back – as soon as is humanly possible.

On our first holiday we walked almost every morning – all started from Petra and included destinations such as:

  • Ambelia Beach (Mikri Tsikharanda) via Anaxos – a beautiful return leg over the cliffs with an abundance of spring flowers.
  • Lafionas via the Olive Groves via one or two slightly “overgrown” sections!
  • Petri via the path network above Petra
  • Molyvos via the reservoir – with a lovely stop for a coffee at the Sea Horse Hotel and a beer or two on a bar on the hillside in Molyvos.

We spent the rest of the time relaxing by the pool – the Sunday Chuch service piped around the village is something to experience – truly magical.

We loved it – the weather in the main (apart from one or two short sharp spectacular thunderstorms) was perfect.

We vowed to return – it had got us.

May 2012 and we returned to the same apartments, this time for a fortnight. At Manchester airport we recognised several faces from the previous year – these people, this year, were to become our friends.

This time the weather was more mixed – but we carried on walking!! With a supplemented pool of information resources (we had also now purchased “On Foot in North Lesvos” by Mike Maunders and Sigrid van der Zee again another excellent book) this time we widened our walking range! As well as some of the walks we had done previously (including Nicky’s favourite walk to Molyvos via the reservoir) we also did:

  • The valley of the Mills through the Ligonas Valley. It was on this walk where with much excitement (for that read fear!) we came across a number of snakes – in fact we got very close to one and watched him slither off into undergrowth. On the same walk we also saw a pine marten. This walk was my personal favourite – the carpet of spring flowers on the lower part of the valley was incredible (hope the picture does it justice!)
  • Eftalou to Skala Sikaminia. This was interesting. We booked a taxi and the return boat with Alex who owns the Calypso boat based in Petra. On the morning of the walk the taxi arrived perfectly on time – the sun was breaking through! We exited the taxi at Eftalou and started our walk along the dirt track road. Within minutes the heavens opened, the rain poured down and the cloud dropped to below the level of the surrounding hills. We took cover under the trees with the goats – Parrot at Skala SykaminiasI decided to call Alex as I was convinced that the boat would be cancelled. He answered with his usual cheery smile and told me that the sun was shining in Petra and yes of course the boat would be running! With our moods lifted the clouds followed suit and the sun appeared – we walked the rest of the walk ion lovely warm sunshine – again a lovely walk that I can highly recommend. We made it to Skala Sikaminia only minutes behind the boat. A meal in the taverna with the mad parrot and a bottle of Limnos wine certainly made up for the damp clothes.

Walking aside we once again immersed ourselves into the place and grew to love it even more. We again spent time in Molyvos including a visit to the castle and a rather late night after spending the evening in Molly’s Bar with Andonis the apartment owner and other guests from the Blue Sky.

In 2013 we are going in July and my octogenarian mum will be making the trip for the first time – from the moment I first arrived I knew I wanted to bring her here.