A long post – you’re welcome Mum!
One week on the island, Lesvos. Where my grandparents lived before coming to New Zealand, and where my Mum also spent 2 of her adult years. This was an insightful and authentic introduction to the Greek culture for us, and we loved it! Time felt irrelevant, you eat lunch when it suits (usually 4pm) and dinner when you feel hungry again (around 10pm). No waiter rushes you out of the restaurant and everyone is happy to take some time and have a chat. The locals loved talking to us and were so intrigued as to what we were doing in Lesvos “you come from New Zealand, and you come to Lesvos?” My response would be “Yiayia kai Poppou, Lesvos”. This opened up a bigger conversation. I am used to people looking confused when I introduce my name, Penelope. Not in Greece. “Ahhhh Penelope” they would repeat, impressed and shocked. I have a lot of family in Lesvos, so our time here provided some priceless memories with them. My Theia Marika is possibly the best cook in Greece, and at 90 years old, we were so happy to share her company. Unfortunately I am not fluent at all in Greek, however I have loved practicing phrases I have learned growing up…”κλείσε την πόρτα” was strangely helpful. I have enjoyed becoming more familiar with written Greek characters, which I remember learning over 4 years ago at Greek night school in New Zealand. There were so many things we saw or experienced and all you could say was “Greek style”. I have not been to Lesvos for 19 years, so returning as a 26 year old adult with Francis made it a very wholesome experience. I am very grateful for the connection I have with Lesvos, and we look forward to returning again. All of the family and people we met would often say “when will you come back?” So now we are sent on our way, ordered by our Greek family to go home and save to return another day. I look forward to it! I haven’t explored the rest of Greece (yet) but one thing I’m sure of, if you come to Lesvos you will eat like Greek royalty. The restaurant meals are so reasonable, generous, consistent, fresh homely and DELICIOUS.
Akrasi – My Pappou was born here and we were able to walk through his home. His house is on a street named after him too which felt very surreal. Walking around Akrasi we talked to the locals, and found we were related to and had connections with the people we were talking to. It was bizarre!
Vatera – playing cards, swimming and eating!
Mytilene – where my Grandparents house is. A busy city where we felt like locals…going for a morning coffee, followed by a swim, then a late afternoon lunch at the taverna.