During the hot summer months in Greece many of us try and escape the heat by traveling to one of the Greek islands as often as possible. There are literally thousands of islands to visit and all have their own charm.
Personally, I really like the islands of Aegina, Tinos, Mykonos and Spetses, which are relatively close to Athens but so far, the remote island of Lemnos, in the northern part of the Aegean Sea, is definitely my favorite! Here the locals are very welcoming, the beaches fantastic and the food about the best I’ve had on any island I’ve visited in Greece!
On our last visit to the island, my husband and I stayed with dear friends in Myrina, the island’s capital. Here we experienced the local hospitality up close; in one of the city’s old stone mansion . . . only a few steps away from the charming promenade by the sea with a view to the impressive Byzantine Castle overlooking the town and its harbor.
Our days started early with a refreshing dip in the nearby crystal clear waters which, of course, wet our appetites for all the good things to come! Breakfast was served on the mansion’s balcony and consisted of an array of local products including tasty cheeses, yogurt, aromatic thyme honey, fresh fruit and heavenly fresh breads and pies!
Looking at the dozens of photos I took of the breakfast table, I’m pretty sure my favorites were a sharp tasting cheese paired with ripe, ultra-sweet fresh figs and a deliciously flaky Bougatsa (phyllo dough pie filled with a creamy semolina custard) sprinkled with powdered sugar and ground cinnamon; all of which still fill my senses with finger licking yummy thoughts!
Following breakfast we normally headed out of town to explore the island . . . its many sights and unspoiled sandy beaches, the sheltered gulfs, landscapes of volcanic rocks that alternate with small hills and lovely villages with beautiful stone houses.
During these excursions, not only did we learn much about the habits, customs and history of the islanders that date back to the Homeric era, but we also got profoundly involved in discovering the delights of the local cuisine . . . . influenced by flavors from Egypt and Asia Minor (brought to the island by refugees from Asia Minor and Lemnian emigrants to Egypt).
Everywhere we went we stumbled upon many lovely small markets with scrumptious looking fruit and veggies, local specialties and wines . . . many of which filled our plates at dinner time, together with ultra fresh grilled fish we purchased directly from the fishermen at the Myrina harbor!
The taverns at the harbor are also a fun option for lunch or dinner . . . with many choices. . . for all pockets. Our only harbor evening meal was a true delight! We splurged and treated ourselves to fresh lobster that I had chosen in the kitchen and when cooked, was pure perfection . . . especially when accompanied with a glass of crisp chilled white wine and a stunning sunset!
Another foodie high point of this trip was a rather unusual Pikilia (meze combination plate) made up of okra cooked in a well-seasoned tomato sauce, fried peppers, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese as well as grilled haloumi type of cheese. An awesome combo we loved and savored with . . . ouzo on the rocks . . . in total privacy on one of the island's vast sandy beaches!
What else could a traveling foodie ask for???