Sunday was our 32nd wedding anniversary, so, naturally, we set out on a long trek up a hill. We’d decided early in the stay that we’d visit the Asklepion. It’s the most popular destination for tourists on the island, so we expected it would be quite busy.
Because we enjoy walking, we set off from the hotel on foot and followed the signs to this ancient site. The road, like most rural routes in Greece, doesn’t cater well for pedestrians, but there are few countries in this day of the car that consider the needs of those on foot, so no surprise there. It took us through Kos town and up the slope through the village of Platani, where the direction signs helpfully ran out. Fortunately, I’d more or less memorised the route as seen on the tiny screen of my mobile phone, so we managed not to get lost, something we’ve done quite frequently on our walks.
Very few cars passed us on our slow climb, and the sun continued to shine. Once at the site, we approached the entrance expecting to pay our €6 entry fee. But we were told this had been waived. So, another free visit.
The site is exceptionally well-maintained and carries numerous information boards. It stands on three levels and we decided to ascend to the highest first and then track back and forth across each level until we had seen the entire place.
Other visitors appeared from time to time but it was never crowded, so we had plenty of time to absorb the atmosphere and study the various remains in peace. The whole site is surrounded by woodlands, which are unfortunately out of bounds. Mind you, that was probably a good idea, as we have a tendency to explore and go off piste, which is why we have often been lost (well, I say lost, but we generally know where we are in relation to our start).
The remains are extensive and some have been restored either in part or completely. It’s a fascinating site, with a good deal of detail provided about its formation and the work done to excavate and restore. As the site where Hippocrates spent much of his time, healing and training others to do the same, it’s something of an irony that it was the only place on the island where I was attacked by a monster of a winged beastie that injected me with unwanted venom requiring me to visit a pharmacy the following day to get something to reduce the swelling in my knee, ankle and foot!
It was, nevertheless a very worthwhile tour, which we ended with a cool drink in the shade outside the small shop with its tables set up to socially distance visitors refreshing after their exertions.
Our walk back to town sent us straight back to the hotel for food at the bar there. After a walk of 13.7 kilometres (about 8 and half miles) we felt we deserved some proper refreshment. A quick swim cooled us before we made ready for our evening celebration, already booked at Old River.
There, Joseph made a point of telling everyone in the place it was our wedding anniversary, asking all the couples how long they’d been together, and announcing us as king and queen of the couples for our longevity! He also presented us with a lovely cake, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Unable to sensibly take it away with us, we asked him to let the staff share what was left.
A lovely day all told, and, sadly, our penultimate.