The Aegean Regatta will take place from 19 to 27 August in the area of North and Northeast Aegean and will be organized by the General Secretariat of Aegean and Island Policy with the Offshore Commission of the Hellenic Sailing Federation.
The starting port is the marina of Porto Carras in Halkidiki and the finish will be in Mytilene of beautiful and unique Lesvos, the third largest island of Greece and the eleven million olive trees worldwide fame.
Lesvos is land that invites you to discover it. If you surrender yourself to its charm you will be richly rewarded, as surprises will come one after the other. Picturesque seaside hamlets and mountain destinations that make you forget you are on an island. A rich interchange of scenery, from the lush green of olive trees, pines, walnut trees, and oak trees, to the lunar landscape of the western side. Imposing mansions with neoclassic, baroque, neo-gothic, belle epoque, and renaissance features, as well as traditional stone-built homes and farmhouses.
Lesvos is not a land for visitors in a rush, searching for the myth of wild night life and a hurried tour for some quick snaps on their camera. Lesvos - the beginning and end for cultures that lasted three thousand years – has a rich natural environment, unique local products, a close connection to the arts, letters and folklore. Asimakis Panselinos, a man of letters born and raised on Lesvos, wrote in his own, elegant way: “Here springs the hidden fountain that nourishes the spirit of mother Greece”. Any traveller who stops to drink from this spring will realize that Lesvos is not just great in size. It is great in everything.
This is where the arts and letters have flourished since early antiquity. The two most important lyric poets of Lesvos were Alcaeus and Sappho. Alcaeus, possibly the first political poet, was better known for his pieces on love. But if he was an artist – activist, Sappho was something more. Defying all conventions of the times, which wanted women docile and humble, she, too, got involved in politics, was temporarily exiled to Sicily and returned to found a school of dance and music on Mytilene.
With such deep roots in intellectual tradition and independent thought, it comes as no great surprise that this very same island birthed men of the arts and letters such as Elytis, Myrivilis, Venezis, Panselinos, Iakovidis, Eleftheriadis, Theophilos.
With two peaks reaching almost 1000 metres, those of Mt. Lepetymnos (968 m.) and, just one metre shorter, Mt. Olympus, Lesvos will easily attract both sea lovers and those who prefer, on a hot August day, to observe it from high above. However, if the mountains, forests and beaches of the island are the first temptations to invite you, it is the people and their creations that will keep you here longer than you had anticipated. The unparalleled natural beauty of Molyvos, with its traditional houses from wood and stone, the prehistoric settlements, the castle of Mythimna (perhaps to best preserved castle in Greece), the Roman aqueduct (one of the most important engineering works of its time in the Mediterranean), the Therma therapeutic hot springs at Gera Bay, Limonos Monastery (which many call a miniature of Mt. Athos) are more than mere destinations and cannot be ignored. They are marks of the history of this island that knows how to offer spiritual tranquillity and peace with the same ease that it can hand out worldly excitement to those who like the good life, however each one of us may interpret it.
Some want to wear down the soles of their shoes on the broad and well-signposted trail network of an island that is part of UNESCO's Global Geopark Network, while others to walk through the endless olive groves, the dense pine forests, or on the precipitous rocks leading to the waterfalls of Man' Katsa.
Others want to wander in the petrified forest of Sigri and travel back in time some twenty million years, to the time of dinosaurs and giant plants, which Homo sapiens – with a short life of 200,000 years – never saw with his own eyes; Yet, their history and beauty are still enchanting us.
Other visitors, still, want to see how olives are collected and oil produced at Gera, a symbol of beauty for the island. Or to set the noblest ambush in nature, in order to watch the rare birds that find a safe haven in Lesvos' wetlands; they enjoy them through their binoculars and immortalize them with their cameras.
However, everyone will discover why the proverb that speaks of happiness taking a necessary detour through the stomach finds its true meaning on this land. Aniseed from Lisvori and generations of knowledge in ouzo production have given Lesvos world renown and countless international distinctions.
Lesvos is a true gastronomic paradise. It boasts one of the best olive oil varieties in Greece, high quality local meat, famed cheeses and, naturally, its excellent Kalloni sardines, which require an iron will to resist. And between you and us, you shouldn't. Holiday misconduct is what gives meaning to the discipline of the rest of the year. And if one were to sin for Lesvos, Lesvos will honour their sacrifice. Because, as a great Greek chef of the inter-war era once said about the local island produce and people: “In some places we cook for nourishment. Here everyone cooks for fun”.
It sounds paradoxical, but all this beauty surrounding you on the island was the result of a chaotic prehistoric event. The terrible explosion of the volcano that flooded the island with lava and dramatically changed its morphology, was the beginning of the creation of all this natural abundance that made this land stand out, long before people took to the stage. Five hot therapeutic springs, the volcanic scenery with the petrified forest on the west side of the island and the fertile southeast coast, create the Lesvos of two facets: from the violence of chaos to the refinement of harmony. On Lesvos, nature is the canvas, brush and paints all at once. The people just never forgot how to be alert to it and indulge in it...