In need of an escape from our highly stressed lives, we decided that we would once again visit Lemnos – this time for Christmas. After our 40 minute flight from Athens, the Aegean DC8 circled above the familiar butterfly shaped island in the Northern Aegean, landing at the airport just outside the capital of Myrina. 10 minutes later, we were in a taxi, winding our way to Moudros, a small fishing village on the other side of the island. Just outside the village, a bumpy ride over gravel roads led us to the Hotel Ethaleia, set high above the surrounding farmland and sea.
Built in the traditional stone and wood style of Northern Greece, our hotel was more like a traditional farmhouse furnished with artefacts and furniture that once belonged to the owner’s family.
The cold rainy winter weather kept us inside for the first two days so we had no other option but to completely relax and de-stress. For a person with an active mind, I found the experience of looking through the large windows at the rain and sea by the stone fireplace heavenly.
As the only guests, we were privileged to have the owner’s undivided attention.
She cooked traditional meals, using the organic produce from her surrounding farm and would ask us each evening what we wanted for the next day.
Deciding what to eat was the biggest decision of the day.
Each morning, our table was set with a large slice of her homemade Feta (made with milk from her own goats and sheep), sprinkled with home-grown rigani (oregano) and a drizzle of olive oil.
Breakfast omelette was made with eggs collected from the frisky chickens that ran wild around the property. Breakfast concluded with home-made yoghurt, bread and delicious home grown apricot jam.
Our hostess went to any lengths to satisfy our needs. After hearing that I craved horta (Greek leafy greens), she set out to find them.
In gumboots, sloshing through the muddy fields, she collected wild greens from the surrounding hillsides. She cooked them simply in salted water and served them with lemon and olive oil – the standard Greek dressing.
After two days of rain, the sun came out and we could see across the sea to the other side of the bay but sadly it was time to move on to our next destination, Myrina. But that’s another story.
The 35 minute drive to the capital took us through pasture land. Lemnos is a most rare Greek Island with its flat farm land. Considered the wheat granary for Greece since ancient times, its natives are still farming their small family owned farms that surround numerous small villages.
Goats and sheep and chickens freely roam, feasting on the wild thyme bushes that literally cover the island. Its wiggley shape provides sea views and beaches from all vantage points.
Just past the main airport, Myrina curls around an ancient harbour and several sandy beaches.
Like all Greek islands, small family owned taverns are everywhere. They all serve organic, locally produced food – some from their own gardens or adjoining farms. Anyone who has travelled in Greece extensively will know that Greek food is what you get everywhere. That is because Greeks love their own cuisine they love the Greek culture.
It is not unusual for the owner to greet you at the door and no matter what time of day you