Spring in Lesbos

Lesbos is as beautiful as ever, but it’s the wettest spring on record and the rain hasn’t stopped yet. I’m staying up in the hills above Mytilini, which is the perfect place to be. I look down across a citrus grove to the sea in the distance and beyond it the coast of Turkey. At night it’s all lit up; in the day time, when the weather clears, I can almost make out individual buildings. The distance is just five miles: long enough to be dangerous in an overcrowded inflatable dinghy, but not really very far. It’s a strange feeling to stand looking across the water and reflect that this is Europe but Asia begins just over there.

After so much rain the hillsides are bursting with lush green vegetation and frogs croak in puddles. Ancient olive trees with thick, twisted trunks and grey-blue leaves; the large, pointed leaves of small chestnut trees; fig leaves like big hands; and orange and lemon trees laden with fruit. Fruit it seems that will never be picked. This evening my landlady agreed that I could climb down the metal staircase into the neighbours’ citrus orchard and help myself to a handful of lemons. I couldn’t resist taking a couple of oranges as well. It was dusk and the colour of the oranges against the dark leaves was dazzling.

I started work today, but more of that tomorrow as I have to ask the NGO how they feel about blogging.