Day trip to Greece

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Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Kos
August 19th 2007
Published: October 22nd 2017
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Yesterday we bought our tickets for a day trip to Kos, Greece, which is about an hour away from Bodrum by ferry. This morning we got up and out the door by 8am so that we could make the 9:30 launch. It's a complicated business going from Turkey to Greece. You have to do passport checks before you leave and when you arrive both ways. Since we were with a large group on a ferry, the whole process took much longer than I would have liked. The passport guys were very nice though and one of them in Greece was very pleased to have an Alexander at his station.

I know how tantilizing the prospect is of hearing about our adventures in Greece, but internet is out at home and I'm sitting by the side of the road between two cars grabbing a wireless signal from somewhere, so you will have to wait another day.

Monday: The 'net is back up at home, so I don't have to sit in the dirt--joy!

After we got out of the long passport line (the line for Europeans, by the way, moves much faster than the one for everyone else), we emerged on the
Hippocrates' treeHippocrates' treeHippocrates' tree

According to local lore, Hippocrates taught about medicine in the shade of this ancient tree. It is held up by a scaffolding, but still has leaves and shade. Traditionally it is good luck if you bury a lost tooth under it, but Alex's stayed firmly in place during our visit and we didn't get to try it out.
quay next to the Kos castle which looks not unlike the Bodrum castle. Both belonged at various times to the Knights Hospitaller, also known as Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, Knights of Malta, Knights of Rhodes, and Chevaliers of Malta. They minister/ed to pilgrims going to the holy land.

We looked around for the tourism office for a bit, but had a lot of trouble finding it because the signs weren't clear and, shockingly, were mostly in Greek. Of course, we knew intellectually that there would be Greek in Greece, but we didn't really think about it until confronted with the signs covered in letters that look like Fraternity Row Gone Wild. So, we gave up the search for the office and started looking for a bank so that we could get some Euros. Before we found the bank we stumbled upon the park where Hippocrates' Tree sits. It is, according to local lore, about 2,400 years old and Hippocrates taught about medicine under its branches. We took some pictures and kept moving. After we found an ATM, our first purchase was a book about Kos which told about the extensive history of the
New money!New money!New money!

One of our first stops was to pick up some Euros. The paper notes are different sizes, presumably to help the sight-impaired, but I think I'd find that annoying
place. Just in the last hundred or so years it has been ruled by the Byzantines, the Turks, the Italians, the British and, finally, Greece. The battles didn't do much damage to the place, but earthquakes have knocked most of the buildings down at one time or another. The biggest one recently was in 1933, if I recall correctly.

Euro and guide book in hand, we stopped for lunch and read about the island's history while we ate Greek food (gyros, Greek salad) and pork products (omlette with bacon) which we have been denied in Turkey. Nanny had retsina to drink. It's a wine drink with pine tar in it. Josh had freshly squeezed apple juice with quite a bit of pulp in it. They gave us some sort of complimentary apple cake with whipped cream with our bill. Lunch was expensive, but very tasty.

Since we finally had an idea of what we were looking at/for, we walked literally next door to look at ruins after lunch. We saw the ancient market, Pandimos Aphrodite's Sanctuary, the Great Basilica and Hercules' Sanctuary. The kids enjoyed scampering about in and on the ruins and we looked at some mosaics which were
Entry to ruinsEntry to ruinsEntry to ruins

"It's all Greek to me" was really the phrase of the day. Shockingly, the signs in Greece are mostly in Greek. Luckily most of the people we met (there weren't very many) all spoke English. The only thing we learned how to say in Greek was "thank you."
still mostly intact on the ground. Just outside of the ruined area were two churches. One was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and was the place where St. John the Boatswain was martyered. The other was named for St. George who created a school for poor boys. Both churches were just rife with cats and kittens. Kate took many pictures and left some money in a box for their upkeep. It has become somewhat of a tradition with her to name every cat we meet. She is pretty quick and creative with her monikers.

I had read that there was a little train that you could take for tours of the area, so we went in search of that. Our timing was good and it was just getting ready to leave when we found it. We hopped on and took a 15 minute ride through the town to the Asclepieion. It was one of several sacred hospitals where the methods of Asclepius were applied for the treatment of patients. He had a mind-body approach to prevent sickness and wasting and the most famous student of this Asclepieion was Hippocrates. The authors of our book maintain that while the German archeologist Hertzog is credited with the find of the Asclepieion, credit really should lie with a local man who had to use much persuasion to get Hertzog to dig in the right place.

We had a bit of a meltdown when we reached the Asclepieion and I had to buy smoothies for everyone. They have ice in Greece--which we really almost never see in Turkey. They were fresh smoothies and very nice, but set us back 20 Euro for the five of us. We sat in the shade, read about the Asclepieion and decided to look at it through the fence rather than to pay to walk around it in the sun. A bit of a cop-out, but we needed a break.

When the train circled back again it was time to head back to the dock. I raced over to a shop to pick up 3 postcards and stamps to send from Greece and two bottles of water for the trip home. Fizzy water is easier to come by in Greece than in Turkey. Also, we heard church bells instead of the call to prayer. There were many small differences between the two countries, just 7 or so miles apart. I wonder how many of them we noticed.

The ride home was uneventful. Since we had a pretty big lunch, we foraged in the fridge for dinner and watched the end of Superman 2 before going to bed.

Josh: I liked the style of the ruins there. It was shady and they didn't have any tour guides or guards, so you could just run and jump. It is its own language. There is a letter that looks like a triangle. Greece is a very nice place to visit. It's probably more recognized for being old than Turkey is. We study Greece and Rome at home, but we don't study Turkey. Both are very nice places to go.

Alex: Kos was fun. We went there and we walked around a little and me and Josh had race down the street for a while then we stopped to take a rest and to wait for the rest to show up. When they did, mom took a picture and we raced down. Then we walked a little more and we saw a mini train. We went on it. We stopped somewhere. The place was Asclepieion. In there was a smoothie shop. We each got strawberry. Mom and Nanny got orange and lemon. We saw about 10 little, cute kittens. I named one of them Black. At another place in Kos, before there, we ate lunch and it was very good. We went someplace else that was near there and we say 6 kittens and one cat. There was one yellow one that I named doughnut. And then there was sweetheart, larry, curly and moe.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Greek catsGreek cats
Greek cats

Now Kate won't have to limit her pictorial to Cats of Turkey. We have many additions from our time on Kos and we can perhaps expand her exhibition to become "Cats of the Aegean."
Reading about the AsclepionReading about the Asclepion
Reading about the Asclepion

Asclepios was a figure of tremendous importance in medical history. Hippocrates studied medicine here. We enjoyed reading a translated version of the Hippocratic Oath.
A view of the AsclepionA view of the Asclepion
A view of the Asclepion

We got cheap during our visit and opted not to pay the fairly hefty fee to walk in the hot sun at the Asclepion. Instead we sat in the shade and peered at it through the fence.

2nd August 2011

Thank you for sharing. Lovely photos :)

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