Our last day trip on the cruise was on the island of Lesvos. It is the third-largest Greek island (Crete and Euboea). There are 11 million olive trees on the island and olive oil is its biggest product.
We anchored in the harbor at Mytilini (also Mytilene) so we had to take the tender in. The ship was only in port for about 6 hours in total and our day trip felt rushed. We drove through Mytilini without a chance to go into the Mytilini Castle on the peninsula where the very first settlers and those who displaced them built fortifications. We did stop at the statue of a mother and children that was dedicated to Greek mothers who, in the 1920s, swam and rowed their children from Turkey—about 16 miles away—to save them from the Turks when the Greek population in Turkey was being “adjusted.”
From there we drove 20-some kilometers through some nice countryside and up the slopes of Mt Olympos (no, the other one) to a small town named Agiasos. It is at a height of about 1,500 feet (475 meters) but feels higher. It is the religious and cultural center of the area. Its streets are narrow and curved, but at least the guide did not say that was to confuse pirates. We heard about the town’s history and we watched the local people as they watched us.
One thing we learned is that Agiasos is famous for many things: the quality and volume of its olive oil, the unique herb tea, the inventiveness of its carpenters, the quality of its icon painters, the icon in the church, and the women’s co-op. It is a nice place but perhaps too small to hold all of the special attributes we heard about. We had some time to look at a church in a monastery that was built in 1170 and to look in some of the shops. Then it was time to go back down the mountain.
The scenery and views of the countryside with the many olive and fruit trees made the drive worthwhile.
We drove back through Mytilini and up another hill close to town. From there we had a panoramic view of the town and harbor, including the Odyssey. There was a church on the hill and I am sorry to say I did not note its name. It was dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. An impressive feature was the stained glass. The windows were round and we saw them with the sun shining through brightly. This picture can only give the slightest idea of the quality of the light.
After a short drive back to the port, we took the tender out to the Odyssey. Things were so rushed that we were underway only minutes after we returned.