A Town Called Molyvos

I love Molyvos. The crooked, uneven streets that twist and contort into a brainteaser for my feet and memory. So much life is packed into this medieval warren of narrow roads never meant for modern cars. Here the pace of life comes as fast as your feet and knees can ascend and descend the undulating chords of the cobblestones. The boxy stone houses huddle together, leap-frogging one another up the steep hill from sea to castle, like one giant fortress assembled from mismatched stone legos. Shutters and window boxes adorn the stone, snatches of life leak from tightly shuttered windows braced against the insipid winter cold. Whiskered old men congregate at tiny cafes that resemble a 1950s living room to smoke and gossip; locals of all ages cross themselves and whisper reverently as they walk pass the shiny white Greek Orthodox church.

Above all this looms the castle, a stought, stern crown on the hill, flying its blue and white striped flag, the only cheery note to the solemn sentinel of Molyvos. Once a critical link in the island’s defense from sea invaders, it’s now a quiet guard of the towns cemetery.

Cats overrun the entire place, a yowling, purring, sun-basking army of fur and rodent control. Across the harbor, bustling with fishermen, the coast guard, and bursts of refugee registration – the mountains of Turkey, murky through haze and fog just 6 km or so to our north and east.

And the sea,the ever present sea that bends to the mood swings of light – shimmering and happy today, dour and restive in the rain, or punishing and angry with winter storms. I have learned to read the sea for clues into how she will treat the day’s arrivals of refugees, whether it will be a day of fighting and clinging to life, of anguish and frozen feet, or a day like today – smiles and joking and light.

I take my coffee to the balcony in the frigid mornings, bundled against the cold and ask the sea – what will today bring?


About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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