I was feeling somewhat better the next day, but the day’s walking promised to be quite long, with no chance to rest in the bus, so I decided to stay behind. As on the previous Monday, I had a very pleasant day in Molyvos, which this time did not involve going up and down the main slope.
From there I took a road behind the hotel which I knew from a map could in due course get me, rightwards, to the town centre, but which would, leftwards, give me access through a field to the far coastline.
It was two fields in fact. This is the first.
This map, at the car park where the coach had dropped us on Sunday, shows that, while Molyvos is at the north of the island, it is also on a headland pointing westwards, the location of the hotel. I was exploring that very tip. (Cycling friends may be turning green, sorry.)
This video therefore starts with part of Lesvos in the background, and ends with part of Turkey in the background. (Sound on.)
I sat on this bench for quite a while.
I moved on to another bench, even further west by a few meters. It even had plastic-covered cushions. But it was really windy and chilly there – I didn’t stay.
I made my way back to the road, and turned leftwards towards the town centre.
I came out at a favourable part of the double slope.
By the time I got back to the hotel, it was past coffee time, so I treated myself to a cake as well. (I put on 4 lb, 1.9 kg, in the week.)
Dimitris, our host, came by and asked if I wanted another, saying I could have a third free if so. He knew he risked nothing! But I engaged him in conversation about these, hanging by his boat, which I suspected were octopus legs.
I was right, and yes he had caught the animal himself. It had been a big one, with a body about the size of a football, as he indicated with his hands. In response to my questions he explained that there were only seven legs because octopuses, when hungry, will eat their own limbs, which will grow back. He would be grilling the legs. No, not for us, he would be selling the dish. (My inference from his tone was that he would make more profit that way.)
I was most relieved that we would not be invited to eat them, and I ventured on to more sensitive ground. What did he think of the proposal to farm octopuses? (I had recently signed a petition against such treatment of such a sentient being, one of the most intelligent creatures with which we share the earth.) Given, he said, that the population was declining, he thought is was OK. I dropped the subject.
In part 3 of this account I mentioned the cats seen everywhere, and have there corrected the wrong impression that it was the Greek government which helped keep stray cats healthy. I asked Dimitris to whom did all these cats belong. He said, “No-one, they are harbour cats. Someone comes to feed them and we all toss them the fish we catch that are too small. I once counted 35 cats around my boat!” My maximum had been twelve seen at once from my balcony. They had been hanging around those eating at the next-door restaurant, with no-one apparently objecting.
After eating my lunch on my balcony, I wandered along to the end of the roadway, without going on to the harbour wall.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in my room and on my balcony, pottering again – reading, thinning photos, contacts with friends via email and Facebook, and – I know, it’s pathetic – ordering a new suitcase! I was rather worried that the zip the one I had with me would not survive the journey home, and certainly I wouldn’t risk it on another holiday. (It did just last, and then finally gave up the ghost.)
The main news from the others when they came back was that Philip had been stung by a scorpion! It had settled on his bag when he had put it down, and he hadn’t seen it when picking it up again. No ill effects, but it had hurt a great deal and his hand still felt numb at dinner. (Spoiler alert – he was still alive the next day.) That dinner was interrupted very briefly by a power cut, due to a very fierce thunderstorm and very heavy rain. How lucky we had been throughout the week, with very pleasant spring weather, and never too hot.
The next – our last – morning dawned chilly and gloomy, and I was definitely on the mend. Which was as well, given the day’s travel ahead. This time I was not staying anywhere overnight, and should just be home by a ‘felt-like’ midnight, 10.00 BST.
Luggage on a truck, we had the up and down kilometre to walk to the coach which would take us, past the Killoni salt pans, to Mytilene airport. I took a few photos on the way, observing the sky clearing.
Arrived at the small airport, we checked in our luggage and then sought places to eat our packed lunch. Along with a handful of others, I followed Philip and James. They had hoped to be able just to cross the road to the beach, but there were roadworks in the way. We had to go a few hundred yards to avoid them.
Then, again, the interminable wait to get through passport control, so long that I was concerned that those behind me night not make the plane, since they called boarding while I was still some way back in the queue. They did, and then the flight was 20 minutes late taking off.
My journey from there should have been smooth: Stansted Express to Liverpool Street station, tube round to Hammersmith and a dreary 3.5 hour bus ride back to Glastonbury, where I would have taken a taxi, if available, to avoid my own up-and-down slope (not nearly as long or high as Molyvos’s!) to my house. Forgetting that Stansted serves other places than just London, and a little concerned about time, I leapt onto the first train I saw, which was very packed and, I assumed, near leaving. I looked up and saw the destination panel. ‘Norwich’. Something made me remark on this out loud, which caused fellow passengers to tell me that all Stansted Expresses were cancelled for the foreseeable, because of a fatality on the line at Harlow, that I need to stay on this train to go to Cambridge, and there take a train to King’s Cross. Help! I would never get to Hammersmith in time, and that bus home was the only one until the sane time next day.
Calm down. Think. King’s Cross to Paddington, train to Castle Cary, and taxi home from there. Which is what happened, with chaotic scenes at Cambridge. At Paddington it occurred to me that perhaps there would be no taxis at Castle Cary at that time of night. Fortunately the second company I had found on line was able to respond. All went smoothly from then on, and, because the train was so much faster than the bus, I got home at pretty well the same time I would have done, though £73 the poorer.
Friends have since said ‘Oh, you should have called me’, but it was late and home is far from Castle Cary. Greater Anglia have reimbursed the full cost of my return ticket, Liverpool Street to Stansted, but their small print means that I am still £50 out of pocket. Ho hum.
But neither that nor my cold spoilt what was a really lovely holiday on a beautiful island. Thank you Philip and James, and all my companions for being so lovely, and knowledgeable, and … companionable. I imagine that some of you, like me (with my new suitcase) are already looking forward to your next holiday. Mine is in June, a week on a barge going down the Caledonian canal for a week, on a cruise with a wildlife theme…