If I had to pick a single word to describe our first 24 hours on Lesvos, I would choose the word surreal. We arrived after dark and took a perilously winding road across the island to Molyvos where the majority of refugees land and where we are staying.
We checked in to our hotel with a lovely woman who spoke not a word of English (and I do not speak a word of Greek, unless you count "ouzo"). I was delighted to be greeted outside my hotel room by the most adorable kitten who decided that she really needed to stay with me. (I resisted the temptation to allow her to stay overnight, but she is a regular visitor.)
We had decided that our first day would be a rest day - after a 24 hour travel day. This morning, we got up and went into town to find some coffee and breakfast. What can I say? It is a beautiful little Greek town with lovely, friendly people and wonderful food.
The streets of this tiny town are filled with volunteers from across Europe. They are easily recognisable by their fluorescent vests. There seem to be many Dutch and Scandinavian volunteers, in particular. Canadians are rare!
We decided to get the lay of the land, so we took a drive towards Eftalou and Skala, two beaches where many refugees land. It was astonishing! Abandoned boats, piles and piles of bright orange life jackets, groups of refugees walking for miles along the island's roads.
You can easily see Turkey across the water and can pick out the small boats loaded with refugees and aiming for Lesvos. There are so many wrecks on the shore - rubber boats, large wooden boats. One boat we saw was a homebuilt craft with inflated tubes attached to a plywood floor.