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I first set foot in Limnos 4 year ago. It was August. For those of you who don’t know, Limnos is a moderately big island in the NE Aegean Sea. Konstantinos, a good friend and longtime surfer, had invited us in the island for an extended weekend. They had put together a windsurf and kite club. “They”, is he and 2 friends of his, with peculiar nicknames and close to mythical stories surrounding them. Three windsurfers that after traveling to the hottest surfing spots on the planet, decided to wait for the next big wave in a small bay, SE of Limnos.
In the beginning, they set up only a small restaurant and a few tents for the hardcore windsurfers who were spending the whole summer there. We arrived at night. The first thing that struck me was the sky. Clear, bright and full of stars. And quite busy it seemed. Full of airplanes passing by. It’s amazing how many airplanes you can spot in the night sky given the right conditions. Absence of light pollution. At the small restaurant of Surf Club Keros we tasted delicious homemade food and we found shelter in a rather crappy room at a nearby village (not that we bothered a lot). We stayed there for 4 nights and we made a promise to come back.
This year, was our 3rd at Keros. We arrived bearing all the winter tiredness and the frustration of a long, hot summer in the city, in search of cooler weekends by the beach. It sounds fun but it isn’t. The temperature in the cities during the Greek summer are unbearable and the nearest summer destinations (at least from Thessaloniki) are not my idea of relaxation. Traffic jams, unbelievable crowds, packed beaches, chaos.
But Limnos is another story. Surf Club Keros now is a lot more that just a restaurant and a windsurfing school. There isn’t any hotel or any “rooms to let”, but there are tents that even Arab royalty would envy. They are meant for those who want to live the luxury of glamping (yeap, that’s what they call it, apparently worldwide) and there are also smaller tents resembling a USA cavalry camp for those feeling more adventurous.
There are mountain bikes and routes to ride through salt lakes and fields of wild grass and hills and trails worth exploring. There are SUPs (stand up paddle boarding) for the days the wind is not strong enough, yoga & massage and of course surfing boards, windsurfs and kites.
But above all there are really interesting people at Keros. Boys and girls that genuinely love what they do and that pass on their enthusiasm, their joy, their spirit. Even if you are not a surfer. Communication codes are different. Here you discuss about the sea, the waves, the (surfing) techniques that you want to improve. You talk about bicycling, running, swimming, whatever makes you feel good and keeps you in motion.
But Limnos has a lot more to offer. The landscape remains unchanged for the last 60 years. You feel as if time stopped. In the largest part of the island there is nothing to obstruct your line of sight, nothing between you and the horizon. Scattered spots of civilization, a few lights, quietness. The rural roads of the island are passing through the village squares and in order to find your way, you have to ask the people sitting there for instructions. Moving from one place to another becomes a small adventure as road signs are a rare species in the island. When you leave Myrina, the capital, and the most busy part of the island, you come across wild, fruitful plains with low vegetation, volcanic landscapes and beautiful bays. The island has a magnificent, mysterious aura that is revealed to the traveller slowly.
Like when you visit the sand dunes. A route that will take you into a unique location and you’ll feel as if you were in sub saharan Africa. Visit them just before the sunset when the colors fill the sky.
Like when you are on the hill of Kavirio, an ancient place of worship. Up there you’ll have an unobstructed view of most of the NE Aegean sea. On a clear day you can see Samothraki (another Greek island) and Mount Athos. And as soon as you get the ancient vibes coming from the centuries, you can go down the cliff and take a dive into the cave of Philoctetes (it’s a long story).
Like when you visit the ancient theater of Ifaistia. A wonderful and remarkably preserved theater where you can enjoy shows even today.
Limnos is revealed to you slowly. She needs her time. Every year you discover something new. A new route for running, a new trail for mountain biking, a new bay for snorkeling, a new cliff for diving. And as soon as you fill your day with experiences you continue your quest. A new tsipouradiko (for those who don’t know it’s the Greek equivalent of tapas bars), a traditional coffee shop, a fish tavern. “Not to miss” spots remain the same for years: You ‘ve got to taste fish at Giannakaros (at Kotsinas), spaghetti with lobster and shrimps at Glaropoula (at Nea Koutali) and of course you shouldn’t leave the island without visiting Man-Tela at Sardes. Every local will recommend these. The rest you’ll have to find on your own.
You can say many things about Limnos. There is only one thing that you should do. Go there and spend as many days as you can.