The Most Dangerous Roads On Lesvos

(Church in Lapsarna)

Twelve years of building and the premier of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was needed to open the new 46.7 kilometers long road that runs from Sigri to Kalloni. It’s partly reconstructed, partly new, four kilometers shorter than the original road and forty minutes faster: a mighty new concourse for speed devils. I do not know if Mitsotakis is known for traffic safety, but according to him this new road makes the traffic on the island much safer. Although he made no mention of the point where this new road crosses the one leading to Petra and Molyvos (with no roundabout or traffic lights to wake up sleepy drivers). That is why this road in now is on top of the list of Most Dangerous Roads On Lesvos.

The road makes the west part of the island more accessible. It will enable the new harbour in Sigri to function at full speed, even though for the moment it is only used by one ferry – once a week, from June to August. I wonder if the new road can kiss this sleepy beauty Sigri awake.

The interesting Natural History Museum of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos in Sigri is the big winner: not only will it be faster to reach, it also became 18,837 archeological pieces richer during the road constructions (a record of archeological finds in Greece). The showpiece of this new collection – mostly petrified trees – is a nearly entire, millions of years old tree with branches.

Another winner could be Lapsarna, a hamlet at the sea, just below Sigri, though the new road does not lead to Lapsarna. Between Sigri and Lapsarna lie mountains where farmers graze their animals. On the already bad dirt roads they have erected plenty of gates, some opening and closing, some not — making this short road to Sigri hell, even for the best jeeps.

The official long road to Lapsarna starts close to Andissa, nowadays more easily reached than before. The other road to Lapsarna is by Liota. I do not know what secrets are hiding at Lapsarna, where only a handful of people live; its large beach is not really attractive, there is no taverna, only a charming church at the sea. Maybe this very quiet road leading to Liota, along the wild coast with the splendid vistas of the desolate bare Western landscape should be on the list of Most Attractive Landscapes On Lesvos. In any case, the municipality has invested big money to make this once bad road now as smooth as the Kalloni – Sigri road, also impressively shortening travel time.

The popular tourist village Molyvos seems to have been forgotten by all these road projects, even though a contract has been recently signed to make a new road from Petra to Kalloni. But considering that the first contract for the new Kalloni to Sigri road was signed more than twelve years ago, you can calculate when the new road from Petra to Kalloni will be opened. That will not be within the tenure of Mitsotakis.

Maybe to compensate the municipality has given permission to build a parking lot, just at the entrance to Molyvos. A site that once housed the open air cinema and a lush field of welcoming olive trees. It is whispered that this now stony hole at the gates of Molyvos has the honour of introducing paid parking to the village.

For nearby Eftalou, the municipality might well be using a discouragement policy. The hot springs of Eftalou are still (illegally) managed and cleaned by a group of locals. The only road leading there was so damaged by early winter storms that in parts only one half of the road is useable. This road bears a level of traffic that Lapsarna and even Sigri can only dream of. In the summer it will be invaded with big busses with loads of tourists, hotel transits that race up and down all day long and taxis. Since last summer masses of people come to the once relatively quiet beaches of Eftalou — now equipped with a beach tavern, a take-away joint, loud beach music, sun beds and waving sun umbrellas. This road also deserves to be on the list of Most Dangerous Roads On Lesvos, at an even higher place than the road Kalloni to Sigri.

It is clear that Mitsotakis was here for his own promotion and to fool the people of Lesvos with his ‘important’ presence. The communist party had some words to say about this and made a list of everything from which Lesvos suffers, including farmer poverty, the victims of the Vrisa earthquake and the devastation of the Vatera wild fires. But that is something quite different than the Most Dangerous Roads On Lesvos.