Sadly back on Friday 21st July 2017 at 01:31hrs (22:31 GMT Thursday), a 6.7-magnitude quake hit 12km (seven miles) north-east of Kos, near the Turkish coast, with a depth of 10km. On Kos, around 115 people were injured, including tourists – 12 of them seriously and with the loss of two lives. Kos lies near a major fault line and is therefore susceptible to quakes, but I never expected to experience one myself.
It was my second night there and tired from walking, I settled down to an early night. Maybe it is because my room was in the basement, and as I was laying in my bed, I started to feel the whole room sway. I simply put this down to be overtired and the fact that I was drifting into sleep, but, according to Earthquake Track, on the night of Tuesday 10th October (22.59 GMT), a quake of 4.4 magnitude hit, 7km from Kos.
That following day I was heading off to Kos town to see the damage done by the July earthquake, getting the bus from the harbour at Kamari. The bus service is pretty much spot on timewise and a full timetable of the various services can be found at KTEL-KOS (http://www.ktel-kos.gr/site_en/ktel-kos-local-bus-schedules). The buses are clean, tidy and airconditioned – you buy your ticket onboard from the conductor. I used the bus many times, to various points and the driver will drop you anywhere along his route and send you off in the right direction – thankfully had the same driver and conductor most days and by the end of the week they were getting used to my strange requests to be dropped seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
The trip into Kos, at the opposite end of the island, didn’t take long and it gave me the chance to see some of the landscape, especially if you sit at the front! You get dropped at the bus terminal, in the centre of Kos – make a note of where it is otherwise you’ll end up like me and panicking trying to find it. I had a good look round the centre of Kos, where the shops and eateries are based, the damage is not too bad considering, but it is still very apparent. Thankfully the Kos people are resourceful & are slowly putting the town back together again.
I followed the road, past the quake-damaged Church, through to the Ancient Agora, a large unrestricted area of excavation for some photos before heading right at the waterfront to explore the Marina, full of yachts and motor cruisers, including a very nice Pershing 88…..I can live in hope of that lottery win one day! You can walk right around to the far side of the Marina walls and get some amazing views back to Neratzia (Knights) Castle, which was sadly closed to visitors, due to quake damage.
From the Marina, I cut through a back street (Korai) up to the Casa Romana, a third-century Ancient Roman villa, which I decided against visiting and instead opted for the Roman Odeion, an open-air Roman theatre, built in the 2nd century, with restored marble seating & galleries – free to enter!
After exploring the theatre, I doubled back to the main part of the town and skirted around the Castle walls heading towards Mandraki Port, which is where you can find many a ship, pirate vessels included to take you on a seaward journey. There are loads of eateries along the waterfront and little side streets of shops, which become very busy – not helped by 30 deep guided tours trying to squeeze down the small alleyways.
I spent around 5 hours exploring Kos town, and there was still so much I missed out on, so allow a full day, especially if you have a hire car and not dependent on buses – it must be quite magical by night.
At 4.30pm, I finally was back onboard the bus and headed back to my hotel and some much-needed rest.