Thursday, 31 December 2009

Kali Chronia!

The picture besides was taken on December 31 2008, a good year ago when snow fell not only on the mountains on Lesvos but even some villages.

A year later the island is radiant green under a brightly shining sun. Yesterday it shone all day, ending in a flaming sunset so full of colours it hurt the eyes. A pity I had no camera to register such a stunning spectacle.

The temperature in December stayed around 20°C nearly every day. It was that warm you only had to heat the house a little to keep the damp out. However this warm weather is not without its danger. Two rough southerly storms hit the island, pushing the waves over the quays in Molyvos harbour and stewing up the water like fountains against the road here in Eftalou.

Both boats and trees perished in the onslaught. Part of the road from Plomari to Melinda was so damaged you have to go up the mountain through Megalochori and down again to the coast to get to Melinda. A few weeks ago even more harm was done by a storm that showered the island with hail stones as big as walnuts. Especially around Kaloni and Polichnitos there was serious damage with greenhouses, cars and sun panels all smashed and winter vegetables disappeared into the earth again. Even our satellite receiver was crushed by the hail.

Last week a nasty thunderstorm hit with heavy rain and a strong wind which forced several outward bound flights from Athens to turn around. I found it strange that in Athens they did not know there was such bad weather here over the island. More than one plane had taken off for nothing and returned to leave passengers stranded at the airport. Anyhow, those Greek fliers may not be so smart. A few weeks ago a pilot was about to land on an island when he realised it was the wrong one: oops where should I be, again?

With the rains the rivers fill up fast and you find waterfalls everywhere. Except at the Pesas, near Achladeri, where the municipality has built a beautiful path leading to a stunning panorama point from where you can view the famous waterfall. However, since last winter, there is no waterfall, because a farmer who owns land above it thought his farm needed the water more than this magic place (that attracts visitors from all over the island) and so the water has disappeared.

But at least nature is happy with the warm weather. A lonely rose mallow is already blooming, anemones and daffodils are eager to open up their buds, while the saffron crocus and the autumnal cyclams are still to flowering. About a hundred kinds of grasses fill the meadows with all shades of green, and together with the evergreens and the silvery leaves of the olive trees this December landscape is a sensational visual prospect.

And our ears are treated with songbirds, some of them already starting their spring tunes. That may be a little too early, in the new year for sure winter will appear.

I wish everybody a very happy 2010!

(with thanks to Tony Barrell)

@ Smitaki 2009

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