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Festival 2016

September is time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning women to visit the island of Lesvos for the annual two-week lesbian festival. The 2016 festival takes place from 3 – 17 September and promises to be the biggest to date.

Lesbians have been coming to Lesvos for the summer since the 50s, drawn to the birthplace of Sappho, the Greek poet who wrote about her love for women. The festival is a laid-back international event drawing women from all over the world ....

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Tuesday, 11 September 2007 23:00

Annie Crawford, Scotland

Written by  Annie Crawford
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The year 2006 - my first visit to Skala Eressos. My friends had been coming here for what seems like forever and would often be heard to say “Annie, I can’t believe you’ve never been to Skala Eressos”.
It was a big year 2006, beginning with a very deep process with my life coach which resulted in me resigning my job and then letting go of my relationship. The main reasons being to have a health and well-being renewal. My reward to myself for this so called freedom was to go somewhere I had never been before – 2 weeks in Lesvos.

As I was booking my flight I rang my friend Elaine, in Edinburgh and told her the news. She said “guess what, I am going to be there at that time also, do nothing more Annie, I’ll get you accommodation – meet me in the Tenth Muse on your arrival”.
I had never had a holiday on my own before, mainly because I have always been tied up in relationship space, so this felt exciting and new, if not also a bit strange. On Elaine’s instructions I was to try and share a taxi from Mitilini – no problem there, so immediately new friends were made during the rather hair raising taxi ride!.

The Tenth Muse….great to see my dear friend and catch up over the customary few arrival Mythos (but this summer thankfully I discovered Stella Artois on draught). Elaine had booked me into Elpheteria – wow a pool – and it was world cup fever time…me being Scottish and supporting Germany didn’t go down too well with my poolside new associates!!

The first morning in Skala, woke early to take a stroll to the church and harbour….and on the way back discovered Sappho Garden of the Arts. As I peeked over the garden wall at 8am, Helga said “Guten morgan, are you coming for the exercise class”. My fuzzy beer head couldn’t quite process this but I stepped in bravely and so began my relationship with this new and interesting place called Sappho Garden of the Arts. What drove me to get up nearly every morning on my 2 week holiday to do exercises I will never know…..but the space felt as if it was calling me.

I didn’t actually go to Sappho Garden in the evenings until my second last day. On my last Tuesday, Cabaret night in Sappho Garden, I bravely stepped onto the stage and sang a Scottish song unaccompanied….very unlike me. Later that night, Jules, one of the business partners of the garden asked me where I was from…..I said she would probably never have heard of it - Findhorn Community in NE Scotland. And as the saying goes there is not such thing as coincidence - Jules had spent three weeks there in 2006 and loved the place. So began a new friendship.

I returned to Findhorn after my holiday and was clearly restless and had left my energy and heart back somewhere in Skala Eressos. My morning meditations and work group helped me focus and supported me in my decision to return immediately to Skala Eressos, with a one-way ticket. I knew my creative adventure had begun albeit in what way I had no idea.

This was the first year of Sappho Garden Of The Arts and the energy and enthusiasm was high and buzzing and many tourists and longer term visitors created an atmosphere of fun and magic. The women’s festival opening event in September took place in the garden and this was truly a night to remember, with fireworks adding to the sparkle.

I returned home in October, with thanks and gratitude to the angels for opening the door to my creativity under the sunny skies and gentle tides of Skala and for the heartful connections made with new friends. I really wanted to stay connected to my new found creativity and over the winter I continued my creative journey in Findhorn doing a three months Essence of the Arts Course. This was a journey of healing and deep listening through performing and visual arts and from this grew the idea to return to Sappho Garden. Jules and I had kept in contact since the summer 06 and we met in London in March 07 and discussed my role in Sappho Garden. As one of the other business partners was recovering her health and not able to work, I was offered a job for the summer.

And so I returned to Skala early this May. This summer of course was different, I was not simply a tourist having lots of fun, although there was lots of that as well as work and my heart was heavy after my relationship split up in June. The heat waves came in July and I decided to return home to Scotland in August.

In the space of just over a year I had developed a very special relationship with Skala Eressos. Spending more than a two week holiday and working in the beautiful surroundings brought me many things: creativity, friendship, inner growth, lots of singing, fun, and healing, to mention but a few. And all this was made possible through my relationship with Sappho Garden, the women who helped build this unique new space for women and the artists and visitors that I met. It is a fascinating holiday destination – you are more than likely going to meet someone who knows someone you know…..and so the connections begin and the stories……

I know I will return to Skala Eressos and be ever grateful that it was here, surrounded by the spirit of Sappho, friendship and love, that I found the path to opening the door wider to my creative life and to listen deeply to what makes my heart sing.

Annie Crawford
Findhorn, Scotland

Read 3821 times Last modified on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 13:41
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