As Joni Mitchell once pointed out: when the wind is in from Africa, you cannot sleep. In fact, you can barely drag your sorry carcass off the mattress and into the shower without blood pressure pills, but I suppose that was too difficult a meter even for Joni.
To make your stay as pleasant as possible, there are a few essentials you should pack, though I suspect most of you will have these covered.
Sunscreen – Be a bronzed goddess, not a red ham.
Bug repellent – Because you’re tasty.
Antihistamines – if you are that way inclined, there is a lot of weird pollen floating about here.
A notebook – for all the new contacts you will meet and the masterclasses.
Aspirin/painkillers – In Greece all medications need to be bought from the pharmacy; you cannot roll into the news agents with sunstroke or an aggressive hangover and expect to pick up aspirin with your ciggies. Be prepared or suffer.
Hiking shoes – Two leisurely hikes are planned for all the right reasons. You cannot make these trips in flip-flops.
Swimwear and snorkelling gear – You can also pay to windsurf, kayak, or hire a pedal boat from the beach. Here is also a women-only swim club, The Rock Club, that meets every morning. There is also a nudist beach if you forget to bring swimwear.
Layered clothing – sometimes it can be cool in the evenings. This can be blissful or chilly depending to the day you’ve just had. Layering makes sense so you can control your own body heat.
Siesta culture – Adopt it. Things close here midday (except for the tavernas) and reopen later in the evening. So if you really do need that aspirin, the pharmacy will be doing a split shift and you need to time it right.
Cash – There are two ATMs in Skala, but they can run out of cash, so have a little extra on you just in case. They are usually refilled within 24 hours.
A hat – a baseball cap, fedora, or bowler hat. Whatever keeps your brains cool, especially while hiking
Travel guide – It is hard to pass by Tzeli Hadjidimitriou’s A Girl’s Guide to Lesbos.This is by far the best available, and you will have her as a personal guide on Friday. But be warned. If you read this book, you may never leave.
Happy attitude –You are coming to an island that is suffering from the backlash of a derailed tourist industry. Many tour operators cancelled trips and flights to Lesvos for this year, a disastrous decision made in the previous year when part of the island became an impromptu stop-off point for refugees. Now the refugees are gone, and the tourists cannot come back if there are no holidays organised for them. It is a double battering for the local people. Thank you for supporting this Ylva event and the local economy. We are all about sun, sea, and books. Good food, good wine, good friends, and…more books. Relax and enjoy.
And lastly – it is never really too hot to tango. J