Kos in a Time of Covid 19: 4th Day.

Kos harbour.

Continuing the story of our recent stay on the Greek island of Kos.

We walked to the harbour and town centre, intending to visit the castle, a historical site of interest. The harbour protects many boats, small fishing and pleasure craft as well as larger boats taking tourists to sea and other nearby islands. There’s commercial activity as well, and the local authorities appear to be building a large platform close to the mouth but the purpose of that isn’t clear yet.

Odd stones placed during repairs.

Approaching the castle, we could see the road following the castle walls, so decided to walk around the outside first. It’s a massive structure. Those walls have tumbled many times. Kos lies in a geologically active region and often suffers earthquakes. Frequent rebuilding means stones from different stages of history were mixed together as repairs were made. Some worked stones were placed upside down or sideways, depending on how they could best help preserve the structure.

More evidence of repairs.
More oddly placed stones.
This amazing tree grows from the base of the castle walls. Note how parts of pillars have been incorporated into the wall during repairs.

There’s an enormous tree (I couldn’t identify the species) growing at the base of the wall at one point. Definitely ancient, it’s a magnificent specimen.

The castle bridge from the road.

Walking round with the sea to one side, we benefitted from warm sunshine and a breeze offering some relief from the reflected heat of the vast man-made structure.

Approaching the castle bridge.
The bridge over the road, leading to the castle doors.

Eventually, we came upon the bridge that crosses the road to allow entry into the castle, so made our way up the broad steps leading to that part of the structure. Once in the square, we encountered the famed Hippocrates Tree; the honest sign against this ancient hollow sentinel makes it clear it can’t be the original, as it would have to be over 2,000 years old. But the current living tree is certainly aged, and gives welcome shade to visitors.

The Hippocrates Tree.

We found the entry to the narrow stone bridge leading from the square to the castle doors. They were closed and locked. A notice in Greek, with a short paragraph in English, explained that the earthquake of 2017 had caused too much damage to allow visitors to enter in safety. A shame, but Greece has had a somewhat difficult history since World War II. Periods of dodgy government, followed by the 2008 crash, left the country indebted, and subsequent action by the EU has been less than generous. At present, Greece, Italy, and Spain, form the front line dealing with a growing influx of refugees and economic migrants understandably seeking a better life in Europe. The countries lack the funds to help their own populations, so the extra pressure of immigration, added to the current decline in tourism caused by Covid 19 makes life hard for the inhabitants. Unsurprisingly, they don’t have spare money to repair important historical monuments of value to the whole world.

Typical charicatures on offer near the square, en route to the Agora.
A bright garden area we passed near Hippocrates Square.

We set off instead to explore the Ancient Agora. Unfortunately, that was also locked up. We could see tantalising glimpses from where the fence allows an overview, but couldn’t get inside.

First view of the Ancient Agora.
The Ancient Agora.
A wider view of the Agora.

Off we went to find lunch, and discovered a charming seaside Italian restaurant. Rustico Italiano offered shade, cool drinks, and welcome food, which we thoroughly enjoyed. This was Tuesday, and we’d already booked our evening meal at Papas, so we booked a table with Adonis, the very Greek manager/owner for Wednesday night.

Rustico, Italian restaurant.

We spent the afternoon by the hotel pool, and in it, before walking to Papas for our evening meal with wonderful friendly service from owner Apostolis and Leo, a musician, writer, and part-time waiter from Morocco. Another enjoyable evening, where we learned the Ancient Agora, along with most historical sites, was closed only on Tuesdays. Our bad luck we’d chosen the wrong day, but a promising outlook for the following day!

9 thoughts on “Kos in a Time of Covid 19: 4th Day.

  1. Thanks for this very interesting tour. I’m vicariously enjoying every second. I especially love that wall with the recycled pillars and the ancient tree growing out of it. There are so many examples of this type of recycling all over Greece and Turkey.

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    1. Thanks, Lynette. I’ll be doing a few more posts on this trip. The countries in the active earthquake zone have to be resilient and imaginative as well as practical, so, as you say, you see these sort of repairs all over the region.

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  2. How splendid of you Stuart to share your day with us. I truly enjoyed walking alongside of you and your lovely wife. What amazing history and warm wonderful people it seems wherever you go. The photographs are so lovely and I really enjoyed the wall pictures. That tree is something else. Thank you for sharing my friend and giving us so much information about the places you visited. Sending love and hugs to you both. 💕🤗❤️💖💗Joni

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    1. Thanks, Joni. Having had the good luck to take a holiday during these difficult times, I felt I should at least share the experience for those who are stuck at home. There’ll be a few more posts as the weeks go by. Glad you enjoyed this. And, yes, that tree is truly amazing!

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      1. I certainly agree and what a wonderful trip to share with your best friend. We are among those who are so fortunate to live with our best friend and spouses. Love y’all. 💕❤️Joni

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