A Travellerspoint blog

Greece

On Vatera beach Lesvos

Sun and sea

sunny 33 °C

After leaving the quaint little village and with directions from our host, we traveled 8 km toward Antalya to stop at a cave. Kellie patiently waited in the car while I climbed down about 300 feet to the entrance of a cave set in a cliff above the ocean. Once entering the cave it was a steady walk down for about 20 minutes among stalactites and stalagmites of enormous proportions. Simply stunning. At the bottom was a lagoon but no visible sign of entrance from the ocean. I guess cave divers found it. I couldn't read any of the information on the sign at the entrance as it was only in Turkish. After climbing back up we got back on the highway. After a few hours on a windy, mountainous road we decided to stop at Gavipasa on the sea. Our host had been a guide throughout Turkey until his recent retirement and he said that I had seen a place that probably 99% of Turkish people had likely never seen. Even he hadn't been to this cave but he knew about it. I went swimming while Kellie rested her leg. After breakfast the following morning we got back on the highway to Antalya to return the car. We stopped on a mountain pass to buy bananas as we had been driving for days through banana country. Due to the high winds (we think), these plants are housed in mile upon mile of greenhouses. The whole coast for 500 kms was lined with them. Reaching the town of Alanya about 150 km from Antalya we found a pharmacy and in it a wonderful English speaking pharmacist who fixed Kellie up with a heavy duty knee brace. They had no canes but could order one in for the following day. We couldn't stay though. Five minutes later he told us to wait. After about 20 minutes a store employee came back with a brand new adjustable metal cane! Kellie was all set up for - drum roll - 27 CDN!

We dropped the car off at the Antalya airport and took a local tram an hour to the bus depot. We bought our overnight bus ticket for Ayvalik which we then waited hours for. We again found the language barrier frustrating at times as the bus ticket salesman could not understand where we wanted to go even though we were pronouncing Ayvalik the way the locals we had talked to did. We tried about 5 different ways to say it even saying "after Izmir" where it's located and "ferry to Lesvos." When he finally said Ayvalik the exact way we had said it at first, we rolled our eyes and said, "you'd think we are speaking Martian or something!"

After our long, long wait for the bus 12:00 midnight finally arrived. Taking this cheap option to get to Ayvalik was not ideal but we decided given it not only got us to where we needed to go for a cheap price, it also was our over night accommodation it would be good. Given some of the financial setbacks, Shelley and I decided this would be a prudent decision. While Shelley is a strong sleeper and would likely get some sleep, I figured I most likely would not. After heading out on the bus, Shelley fell asleep and woke up at about 1:30 am needing to go to the bathroom. Given that Shelley doesn't usually wake up it was a bit comical to see her so groggy. After about 5 minutes she returned to tell me she couldn't find the bathroom anywhere. I figured it was in her stupor that she must have missed the doorway to the bus toilet. On the bus there was a steward of sorts who had overheard our conversation and Shelley's confused tone. He approached us and started pointing outside. Shelley turned to me in surprise and said "I have to go outside?!!" Seeing Shelley still half asleep trying to process this information was so funny to me I started laughing. Shelley quickly sat down and we discovered that there was not a toilet on this bus that was traveling 9 hours, but that it made several stops along the way at gas stations and road houses for bathroom breaks. We both found this different from our past bus experiences both at home and abroad. Finally at about 9:45 am the next day we were in Ayvalik and took a taxi to the ferry that would take us to the 5th country on our adventure - Greece, and the island of Lesvos.

The ferry ride was great and we landed having to go through passport control, which was a breeze. Knowing our hotel we set out trying to find the cheapest way to get there, keeping in mind I wouldn't be able to walk too far. Having booked a hotel at the best beach on the island, in an area called Vatera, we soon found out it was very far (over an hours drive) and the bus had already left for the day. We got into a cab and had a lovely local driver, who was excited to plug in his favorite music, which he described as the hits from the 80s and 90s. He also was able to stop at shop for Shelley to get more liquid vape for her e-cigarette, which she had been searching for for a while. Having never been to a Greek island before, I was a bit surprised to not see the white and blue houses dotting the coast line. As well, most of our drive was through heavy forested areas with no villages to speak of. By the time we reached the coast where Vatera was located, we had only passed through two villages in an hour.

Arriving at the hotel, which was across the street from the beach (which was how all of the accommodation was along this stretch), we were immediately welcomed by Eleni and Costas, the owners. She invited us to sit for coffee and I had a lemonade. Eleni was a kind and lovely women who seemed genuinely excited to meet us. Her knowledge of English is limited but we managed to have a great conversation and in no time Shelley and I both felt like we were a part of the family. Despite requesting a ground floor room Costas escorted us upstairs to our room. We later found out that the ground floor rooms do not have air conditioning. After settling in we went down to check out the beach and go for a swim. The beach here is a mixture of darker sand and pebbles. The water was another surprise to us as it was not the turquoise colour of the Aegean I think we were expecting. Getting in the water for the first time was also a bit of a shock as it was way colder then the Mediterranean waters we had experienced two days prior. We swam anyway before coming back in for a wonderful huge dinner prepared by Eleni. A group at the next table asked us to join them and we spent the evening with a bunch of expats from various countries who all have had homes here for years. They kept us in stitches as they spent the evening trying to figure out how they could all get to Vancouver Island to visit on Sean's yacht (really a large rowboat) by crossing the Atlantic to Nova Scotia then they figured they could get to the Island via waterways throughout Canada. After clearing up the geographic confusion, they agreed the Panama canal was the only real option! Day two was spent at the beach with Shelley walking further down the beach to check out snorkeling opportunities. There were a few fish and spiny urchins but very little else. Dinner was again delicious and we went to bed early. Today was another beach day and we will be heading for dinner again soon.

Kellie has decided that with her knee brace and cane she will continue on with me rather than staying behind. She will rest her knee as much has possible over the next week or so. Also, we have downloaded great videos of our balloon flight but don't seem to have enough WiFi to upload to You Tube, the process we must do in order to add to the blog. We will keep trying. We will fly to Athens on the 28th and will be there a couple of days before flying to Prague.

A word of caution about Google translator - maybe don't use the voice option - Kellie decided to tell Eleni that "today is nice!" Unfortunately what came out in Greek (which Kellie could see printed on the screen) was, "gay is nice!" Eleni gave her an odd look and didn't really laugh but Kellie couldn't stop laughing, considering we are on the island of Lesbos (now called Lesvos)!

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave

Cave


Ocean below cave

Ocean below cave

View from Vatera beach Lesvos

View from Vatera beach Lesvos


Eleni and Costas from Omiros hotel Vatera beach Lesvos

Eleni and Costas from Omiros hotel Vatera beach Lesvos


Our beach - Shelley far left

Our beach - Shelley far left

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFg6iOtTQcY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nefEolIo6QU

Posted by kelshell 23:05 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

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