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Published: March 26th 2007
The first view of Kos
The taxi driver let us out just as the sun was rising.
Yes, I spent my Spring Break this year in the beautiful Greek Isles. I went with Josh, Miles and Jess. We spent three days on the Island of Kos and almost one full day in Athens. Where to start... well, we decided to book the cheapest tickets we could find on Aegean Air, thus we ended up in Kos, an island we knew nothing about except that Hippocrates, the inventor of modern medicine, was from there. We ended up flying out of Prague around midnight via Athens and arrived in the middle of Kos island at about 5 AM. We took a taxi to Kos Town, the capital, where we were told we might
find a hotel or hostel open. You see, we arrived before tourist season, a week before it starts in fact, and most of the island was still deserted. We thought that the best place to start would be the tourist office so we got dropped off there, a mere 20 minute drive to cross the majority of the Island, with a fab view along the way. The office, bien sur (of course), did not open until 8, so we hung out on the beach admiring the
view of Kos Town from hotel Yiorgios.
sunrise and trying to keep warm. Apparently the Greek Islands are still a little chilly in March... who would have thought? Jess and I decide we are too anxious and sleep deprived to wait around so we went looking for a hotel or hostel. We stumbled upon hotel Yiorgios. Oh hotel Yiorgios... what a G-d send. The sign said it was open but the door was locked, so we rung the doorbell in hopeful expectation- in a matter of minutes a sweet elderly lady came to the door in her housecoat, obviously awoken. Of course, Jess and I apologized profusely then asked if she had a room. She offered to give us two rooms for 25 euro a piece, 28 if we wanted breakfast. Of course!! We told her we would return in 15 minutes as we ran back to the boys we had left with our bags. After getting shown into our rooms, very nice by the way, including a balcony with ocean view, we napped a good seven hours. Sleep that was definitely needed from our long journey the night before. Waking up hungry we decided to search out the town for an open restaurant, preferrably one with
gyros. We found one, with incredible food. Huge, heaping helpings of pita, gyro meat, tomatoes, fries, tzatziki and cucumbers. Oh yes, it was amazing... Jess believes that the vegetables and produce in Greece actually rivals that of the Czech Republic, I'm still undecided, but I am completely convinced that Greece is home to the "food of the Gods" as any Greek will tell you proudly.
After our huge lunch, we decide to see "the oldest tree in the world." I seem to be the only one of the four of us that's skeptical of the validity of this claim, but nonetheless, we saw the tree. Its not as spectacular as the old growth forests in Oregon, nor is it as large as some of the young spruce you can see in our beautiful forests, its actually a scrawny little deciduous that's supported by enormous metal beams. There were entire branches that were white, sickly, and falling off. I think that they should allow this supposed 2800 year old tree to just die a natural death, instead of keeping the pathetic remains of it alive. Moving past the tree, we decided to head to the beach, after all that was the
real reason we were on Kos... well, I guess I was there for the food, but beach was a close second. We walked for a good hour, before deciding to settle for a rocky little beach. Everything was completely deserted so the four of us set out our towels and decided to enjoy the view and water. Josh and I were the only ones to dive in and test the waters, which were pretty cold. Not painful and toe-numbing cold like the Pacific, but more like biting cold of a chilly shower that never quite warms up. We lounged at this little beach talking, joking, taking pictures and enjoying the solitude of our quaint Greek Island.
After returning from the beach and taking turns showering, the hotel was not fit for two showers to run simaltaneously apparently, we decided to nap a little again, so we would be able to wake up the next day early. Jess and Miles both decided to just nap through the night, so Josh and I headed to dinner. We found an open place, luckily, that was a local hang out. Best find of the night because it had Saganaki on the menu, that's right
...possibly the greatest food on earth... dad, you would not be disappinted.
flaming cheese. It was probably one of the best Saganaki's I have had (second to Jess' Greek restuarant in Lombard). Josh and I both got Souvlaki, pork and chicken. So delectable... everytime I think of Greece's food, I wonder why we even have places like McDonalds and KFC in the world, what can rival the freshness and quality of this food? Honestly. Reflecting on our first day in Greece, Josh and I decide this was an insanely good idea for a vacation spot.
Day two: this is where our adventure gets really good, as stories generally do in the second chapter. Of course, the third chapter is where the plot thickens... but you must wait in anticipation for that... back to chapter two. We wake up early and head across the Island to a city called Kefalos, where Jess and I are promised sandy beaches. The buses don't seem to be running, because of the off season and all, so we take a taxi, never before have I relied more heavily on taxis. Arriving in Kefalos around 10:30, we quickly realize that nothing
is open. Finding no hotel or hostel we camped out on the beach with our backpacks and
I'm still doubtful its 2800 years old... how can they even know that?
made ourselves comfortable. The beach is not only sandy on this side of the island but also in a bay and so we are protected from the breeze... perfect. I laid out on my towel, reading my Interview magazine (an impulse buy before we left Prague, the first magazine I've picked up since leaving the States) and enjoying the warm sunlight... we did hope to buy sunscreen in Kefalos, but alas, we had to suffer through a little bit of burning. We had gotten the idea to buy some Mango Malibu and cheap orange soda the day before and I cleverly stole the plastic flutes served on the airplane (we got free champagne because it was skyeurope's virgen flight from Prague to Athens), so with Jess as our bartender, the Kefalos mixer was invented. Just add a shot or two of mango Malibu with cheap orange soda, don't forget the sand at the bottom of your glass and serve out of plastic cups.
We layed out on the beach for a good six hours, listening to Bob Marley and Buena Vista Social Club until our speakers died and we got chilly. We decided to head back to Kos Town and
find a place to stay for the next couple of nights, but how would we get back? The town was pretty much deserted and we hadn't seen any taxis pass through. Walking up the enormous hill to the town of Kefalos, probably a couple miles away, we ran into a few locals who tried to help, but the cell phone was not making international calls to the taxi company. I'm pretty sure we looked a little lost, and probably tired, because a women who was in her front yard stopped her work in her flower garden completely to watch us. Miles decided to ask her for help and with the little English she knew, we deciphered that her husband was a taxi driver. As we were speaking to her, more people showed up at her home with a cell phone for her to call her husband. After yelling into the phone, pbviously barking orders, she told us to take a seat inside her home to wait. It was a quaint room with a bed, a dining room table and pictures of family all over the wall. Attached was a kitchen and bathroom. The photos were amazing, obviously all older than
myself she told us who the people were in the photos, including herself and her husband. The friends that had arrived we found out were futures inlaws and all were very friendly. She offered us hard candy and vermouth and we sat in her home unable to comprehend the friendliness of Kos, and Greece in general. (At this point, I did not miss Prague one bit, the unfriendly faces on the tram, the pushy people in the metro, or the cashiers that scream at you for not having correct change.) Her husband arrived in a matter of twenty minutes to drive us back to Kos Town. Hoping we could offer something in return for her hospitality, Jess remembered that we had also bought a bottle of wine the other day, so as a parting gift, we left her and her inlaws with the bottle and thanked her abundantly for all her help. What a day.
Back in Kos Town, we found a new place to stay, half the price of Yiorgios, with half the amenities. We got two rooms for 15 euro a piece, and tried to figure out how we were going to keep warm, as we discovered there
We had a stretch of at least 3km of beach completely to ourselves.
was no heater. Of course, there would be no need for a heater for the summer months when most people occupied the rooms, but this was not going to do. Luckily, the owner, Irini, had extra blankets to provide us with... now to figure out the shower. The two bathrooms were simply just a room with toilet, sink and a shower sprayer hanging from the wall. No place to hang it, it jsut dangled there. After showers and cleaning we headed out for dinner, gyro platters again... so worth it. I could eat those everyday for a month and not get tired of it.
Thus begins chapter three: sleeping in a bit the next day, Josh and I headed for breakfast while Jess and Miles tried to recooperate a bit from their sunburns and splinters. Ciao Cafe, with good outdoor sitting, was the perfect place. I got waffles with ice cream and honey and a coffee frappe drink, remind you of something? After breakfast Josh and I found a dessert store and bought a cake for Miles, it was his 22nd birthday, to be enjoyed by the four of us later that evening. After meeting back up with Miles and
Jess we all decided to rent bikes for the afternoon (only 3euro a piece) and try to bike to a hot spring beach we had read about that was about 7km outside of Kos Town. We didn't quite make it, but we biked along the coast and took a lot of opportunities to stop and take photos. We did stop at one of the beaches and enjoyed skipping rocks and hanging out. Returning the bikes we decided to eat at the little restaurant Josh and I had enjoyed two nights prior. Yep, the saganaki (flaming cheese), was just as good as before. We got back to the hotel, ate cake and went to bed early, we had a flight to Athens to catch the next day and our taxi was going to show up at 5 AM.
I'm pretty sure Kos is one of the nicest, friendliest places I've ever been in my life and since returning every dream I've had has been situated on Kos, I think I miss it.
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