Just Back From: Lesbos
by Osman Cakir
He has a house on a Turkish island nearby, but the New York City restaurateur had never been to Lesbos. His first impression is enough to send him back for more.
Just back from: Molyvos, Lesbos, Greece.
Was it your first time? It was the first time I went to Lesbos, but I plan to return again next summer.
Why did you go? I have a house in Turkey on the island of Cunda which overlooks Lesbos. It's so close, yet I've never been.
Who were you with? My wife and two sons.
What was the best tip you got before you left? We didn't know much about Lesbos but were told we must see Molyvos. Everyone was right.
What's the #1 tip you'd give a friend who wanted to go? To make sure you reserve a car prior to arrival. We had a very hard time finding one, as it was August and the busy season. Also, if your next stop after Lesbos is Turkey, don't take the ferry on Thursday. There's a green market in Ayvalik, and the ferries are packed with Greeks coming over for the market. It was a madhouse getting through customs.
How long were you there? We did a quick one-night trip. It wasn't long enough. We should have stayed at least three nights.
What was your itinerary? We took the ferry from Ayvalik, Turkey, to Mitilini, Lesbos. We rented a car and drove about an hour and a half to Molyvos.
We stayed at Olive Press Hotel, which, as the name implies, was a former olive press. There are lots of hotels near the water that were lovely and inexpensive.
Favorites meal: Octapus restaurant in Molyvos harbor.
This was especially great: Everything.
But this wasn't: There's nothing bad to report.
Your favorite moment: The beach, beach, beach! The beaches are not sandy but are covered with what looks like rounded river rock. The water is so clear and blue.
What did you bring back? I brought back a set of tumbled amber worry beads. My wife bought scented olive oil soap.
Would you go back? If so, what would you do differently? We would reserve a car in advance, stay in Molyvos at least three nights, then take the ferry to the other islands to explore. It's so easy to get the islands from Turkey — they're only 90 minutes by ferry.
Any surprises? The madness of the market day!!
You can't stop thinking about: The sun setting over the beach. Beautiful.