Welcome to Greece. More specifically, welcome to Mytilini. Not that I feel it is mine yet, exactly, but I am sure we will get to know one another in time. Already, I like it; love may take longer.
Mytilini is the largest town on Lesvos, and is clustered around a horse-shoe-shaped harbour. At first, this seems to make it easy to navigate – get lost, and you head downhill until you reach the harbour. But this simplicity is deceptive. For example, my simple route to town takes me in on a street which is parallel to and just one block over from the harbour. But only for a short while. Go just a block or two too far, and the harbour itself sweeps away on your right. So the harbour which you thought – no, knew! – was just a block away, is nowhere to be found, with a warren of streets between you and it.
And those streets are a warren. They are all very narrow, with sometimes the merest suggestion of a footpath and sometimes no footpath at all, forcing mere pedestrians into the road, where they have to contend with cars, motorbikes, scooters… What is more, they all look the same. You try to remember a particular shop-front, or piece of graffiti, to act as a landmark, but holding, let alone using, that information? Well! But these are very early days.
Previously, when attempting to describe Mytilini, I have compared it to Bude in Cornwall, chiefly because a) it is a fishing harbour, b) it is also a tourist destination, and c) it is quite small with not a great deal to do. But this has had the effect of annoying Bude-lovers, of which there are a surprising number, and is not more than superficially accurate. Bude does not attract cruise liners; the weather is only occasionally comparable; and Bude is not so blessed with thousands of places to while away the day, drinking coffee. Nor did Bude have the experience of thousands of refugees suddenly descending upon it. But more of that later…