It was Symi that inspired a large part of Terrible With Raisins but, since first visiting there, Leros has usurped first place in my Greek Island heart. Less commercial than Symi and with an astonishing WWII history (like all the Greek Islands), Leros was particularly important because of its harbour, Lakki, the deepest in the Eastern Aegean. I missed my visit there this year but next year is a must. It’s very much in my mind to set a novel there, either a sequel to Terrible With Raisins or a completely new storyline.
Aghia Isidoros is one of the many little chapels dotting the island. In contrast, evidence of Leros’s wartime record is manifest in the spent cartridge shells used as gateposts or other adornment. There is also a fascinating war museum in Merikia.
Last time I was there, I witnessed the extraordinary compassion and generosity shown by some of the islanders to refugees who had literally washed up on their beaches (or been rescued). In the midst of appalling austerity inflicted by the EU, Greek Islanders have reached out to help others worse off than themselves. So my love is not just for Leros but for those islanders, some now my friends, who have demonstrated the very finest part of being human.
Much as I hate to share Leros with anyone, it’s unfair not to… Leros