Mesta is a medieval village that is the centre of the islands mastic industry. Mastic was the original basis of chewing gum before the chemists found a way of synthesising it. It is tapped from the trunks of the mastic trees in a similar way to rubber, from what I have read. When the Turks invaded the island the residents of Mesta were apparently spared the slaughter because the Sultan of the day was heavily into chewing mastic, as were the women in his harem, and ordered that its producers be protected. We didn’t have much luck finding out about mastic production and we still aren’t quite sure what a mastic tree looks like, though this might be one going by a picture we saw in a book, more of a bush than a tree, but a shop in the village sold mastic cosmetics, wine, toothpaste and soaps. They probably make them from old chewing gum!!
The village is very picturesque with narrow alleyways and terraces of stone houses.
The island itself is a mass of scrubby hills and low mountains with villages scattered mong them. The beaches we saw arent very impressive - mainly pebbles. This is the view from our hotel bacony. Our ferry will leave tonight from the far corner of the harbour.