On the road again

posted in: Life in Lesvos | 1
Eating on the balcony of the Women’s Cooperative Restaurant, Petra

With Val here, and a two-day break from school, we decided to hire a car and explore the island, as well as take the chance of a trip to Troy in Turkey. Val stayed up late to do the research, and planned a route which zig-zagged across the island, taking in just about every tourist attraction going.  Having heard that the castle at Molivos was particularly special, I managed to persuade her to limit her ambition.  As a result, we enjoyed a far more relaxed and leisurely drive, taking in some gorgeous, heady, herbal scents along the way, and breaking for coffee and lunch before arriving at the hotel in Petra. Then we got back in the car for the short trip to the castle.  Which is where things started to go wrong.
It began at the very gates of the hotel. Our route in had taken us along a very narrow, fear-inducing lane, which might (or not) have been a one-way street. To play safe, we went the other way, turned a corner… and found the (even narrower) street blocked by a parked van. Nothing for it but to find a way to turn round. I was reversing,  slowly and carefully, into a side alley, back and forth, making a few inches headway each time. And then a guy on a motor-bike arrived. We were in his way; he got off.
“Avis?” he asked, and pointed at his chest. “Avis” was written on his T-shirt. (Now that, I thought, was service.) He indicated I should get out, and he took over. Leave it to the professional, I thought. My slow and careful manoeuvres were replaced by fast and, as it turned out, careless driving, as he backed into the wall; not hard, but enough.  He leapt out, we both examined the damage, and (with the universal symbol of a phone) he indicated he would sort it out, before leaping on his motor-bike and riding off.
Feeling somewhat chastened, we drove to the castle…to discover a padlocked front door and a sign saying Closed – only on Tuesdays, it turned out, but still. For once, it was Val who was steaming out of both ears. But we returned to the hotel, and a swim, a beer, and a cocktail managed to restore some personal equilibrium.  And then, following a recommendation from the hotel, we went to the Women’s Co-operative Restaurant for dinner.
It was one of those special meals that linger long in the memory: a balcony table overlooking the sunset over the Med, superb food, superb service.  All’s well, and all that: Shakespeare had it right (as ever.)

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