Arrival on Kos and Stavros Misbehaves!

Our flight from Manchester to Kos was rather non-eventful, albeit slightly delayed due to air traffic control issues – whatever that may mean. Well, I say non-eventful. Just as Peter and I arrived at the front of the Speedy Boarding queue, Stavros my obstreperous gallbladder, (who had been very well-behaved of late), decided to throw a tantrum. Not just a small tantrum but a foot-stamping, fist-thumping and blue-face-turning, full-on hissy fit.

My whole body became drenched in sweat through a combination of panic and pain but I tried to maintain a perfectly normal appearance for the benefit of the check-in staff. Nothing to see here! Everything is fine and dandy! All I wanted to do was curl up into a ball on the floor with a hot water bottle clutched to my chest (and I actually packed one just in case!). Peter dashed back to one of the cafes to purchase a bottle of water so that I can knock back a co-codamol or two. I know that this could look like the onset of a heart attack, so I smile through gritted teeth and thankfully get waved through check-in without any suspicion.

We ended up (or down) at the bottom of a flight of stairs in a tiny stairwell where we stayed for around 30 minutes – trapped. There were people queueing on the staircase behind us and in front of us a locked door onto the apron so there was absolutely nowhere to go. My body temperature was still elevated but I was able to get some respite by catching a small bit of a draft that was whipping through the ill-fitting security door. The co-codamol was beginning to kick in but of course, the side effect of that is a woozy head. I’m not sure how this particular medication works but feeling a little bit drunk at this moment in time is a blessing!

After boarding and throwing back another co-codamol, the pain began to subside. Good grief Stavros you really pick your moments! Hopefully, this is just a one-off and my attention-seeking, bile-spewing digestive organ is going to behave itself for the rest of the trip! This is not the start to our holiday that I had hoped for.

The rest of the journey was thankfully uneventful. Thick cloud cover over most of Europe didn’t give us anything of interest to look at from my window seat or even any sense of where we were. I do like to tick off familiar locations such as the dark green forested regions in Germany and the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. One time I even spotted Meteora!

Anyway, all I can see from the window are formidable-looking grey clouds that look as though they are ready to drop their load on wherever it is below. We close the blind and settled in to watch the film Belfast on the laptop and with one ear pod each. And that was it for the next few hours. As the credits roll I can sense the plane dropping in altitude. I open the blind to see that we were above Fourni, easily recognisable by its lobster shape with upward-pointing pinchers. How I love this little archipelago of islands. Not far to go now. The view over Patmos is really clear and amongst the cluster of whitewashed houses in Chora, a blob of grey in the centre marks the Kastro and monastery. Just beyond, floating in the haze are the islands of Lipsi and Arki. Next, we’re over Gialos, the small island next to Nisyros known for its pumice quarry which is clearly visible today. We do a U-turn over Nisyros whilst continuing to drop in altitude and eventually we come in to land on Kos.

Once through security and luggage reclaim, we head outside the arrivals terminal. We had hoped to catch the last bus to Kos town but the delayed departure at Manchester scuppered that plan. We queued for a taxi and after ten minutes or so were on our way to Kos Town and the Kosta Palace Hotel on the harbour front.

After checking in, we literally threw our bags into our room and headed out straight away, Peter eager to find places of familiarity from our last holiday here in 2012. Of course, the harbour front with its array of tourist boats selling their trips to surrounding islands hadn’t changed at all apart from the fact that there seems to be a lot more of them. We walk past large galleon-type ships one notably with a hideous tentacle-headed pirate symbol adorning its stern.

It doesn’t escape our attention that it is decidedly hot. We’d already read that a heat wave was on its way across Europe and due to hit Greece with full force tomorrow. Whilst we have the energy, we walk around the deep harbour to the port to purchase our ferry tickets for tomorrow. Our plan was to get the morning Dodekanisos Seaways boat to Lipsi but we’d got rather excited about being back in Kos town so decided to get the afternoon boat instead. Just as we leave the ticket booth I hear the ‘thump thump thump’ of music and turn to see one of the galleon ships returning to the port having completed one of its tours. It did make me smile. I suspect I’ll be seeing these again at some point during our travels!

Despite my earlier run-in with Stavros, I was feeling quite hungry having not eaten all day and poor Peter was ravenous. To get our bearings we head to the Tree of Hypocrates just a short walk from the port and old town. Sitting on the other side of this colossal old tree is a restaurant called Platanos that looked nice enough (and also a little bit familiar). There are several tables of Scandinavians that seem to be one group and are celebrating someone’s birthday. In addition to an extensive menu, there is also some entertainment in the form of a keyboard player and a female vocalist, the type that you’d find on a Mediterranean cruise or a cabaret at a social club, but very good.

I chose my meal very cautiously – fillet of fish on a bed of pureed vegetables whilst Peter stuck into pork souvlaki all presented very beautifully (to justify the price I expect). The evening passed very pleasantly with the duo whipping through their repertoire that included all the classics from Smooth Operator to Mama Mia (which went down a bomb with the group next to us) and from Quando Quando Quando to Titanium, the hits were belted out to the small restaurant audience that at times were more interested in their own conversations. I felt obliged to lead a round of applause at the end of each song. They’d showed up and put on a good evening’s entertainment so it was the least they could have expected. Apparently, there is entertainment most evenings at the Platanos during peak season.

After dinner, we head into the streets behind the harbour and the place was unrecognisable from our last time here. Now home to establishments dedicated wholly to Beer Pong or some other kind of tabletop entertainment. It’s not my cup of tea at all but I guess it suits the demographic of the mainstream package holiday goer. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Horses for courses and all that.

We end our day in the Kosta Palace’s harbour view cafe for a cup of tea – a very tame ending to our one night in Kos Town. All that’s left to do is throw ourselves into the shower and hit the hay!


Although we are in a budget room in the hotel (due to my last minute booking) the Kosta Palace puts on a really good buffet breakfast which unfortunately I don’t get a chance to photograph in any great detail. The selection of desserts are quite extensive and very delicious looking – however, I play it safe and stick to a boiled egg and various salad items.

Whilst I’m here I want to have a look at the facilities of the Kosta Palace Hotel and also the Astron next door – both hotels that we use for overnight stays on Kos for our clients heading off to other parts of the Dodecanese. The Kosta Palace is a large hotel with rooms that have exterior sea and/or town views or alternatively look in over a concrete courtyard planted up with greenery to soften the hard edges. On the roof, there is a sizeable pool with a cafe bar and also a couple of self-contained apartments available to book on a room-only basis.

Next door is the Astron Hotel which is smaller and a real favourite with our clients. Like the Kosta P, it also has a harbourfront cafe bar which is a great place to sit and people-watch. The Astron has a sister hotel called the Astron Suites which is a few streets back which we visit for a cold drink on their roof terrace. They have a small rooftop pool which already at 10.30 in the morning is being used to cool the bodies of the hotel’s occupants.

Closeby are the offices of El Greco Travel who we have worked with for many years so I pop in to say hello to Evdokia and Penelope. It’s always nice to put faces to names!

We’ve now left ourselves with a couple of hours to kill and with not having enough time to acclimatise to the heat we are beaten back to the shade of the roof terrace of the Kosta Palace Hotel. Cold drinks from the roof bar help keep our body temperatures down. From the roof terrace, we watch the galleon-type ships leave the harbour front one by one. Their itineraries are slightly varied to enable them to spread the load of guests amongst the surrounding islands and various beaches. I’ve done these boat trips many times before and they have always been great fun.

It’s time to make a move. After collecting our luggage from the reception area, we make our way along the harbourfront. By the time we reach the port I’m well and truly frazzled. Although the port waiting room offers shade it is stifling inside. There is nothing left for it but to bring out my trusty purple parasol!

After a good 45 minutes of waiting the Dodekanisos Pride appears from behind a moored-up cargo ship. I know from experience that these boats don’t hang around and as soon as the barrier is dropped everyone races towards the boat. Once up the ramp, we are met by various shouts of “Leros”, “Patmos” “Lipsi” as an indication of where to drop your luggage. Once the luggage is dumped we head up to the deck to watch the last few stragglers board. I catch sight of a couple of people running towards the boat. The stewards shout “Pame! Pame!” telling them to get on board quickly. They hesitate for just several seconds too long and the ramp is drawn up and off we go. They, unfortunately, missed the boat.

It’s only a 2 hour journey to Lipsi and we take great delight in watching the Pride pull into Kalymnos and Leros to see all the offloading and on loading of people that it entails. During the last leg of the journey Peter and I share a small bottle of ouzo from the bar which we drink up on the very breezy deck. I wasn’t complaining – the wind gives a lot of respite from the heat which can even be felt out at sea. Occasionally we walk down the side of the boat which is a veritable wind tunnel. After 2 minutes I feel as though I’ve had my face slapped several times or is that the effects of the ouzo? Kalymnos seems to be the place where most of Dodekanisos Seaways fleet intersects.

Lipsi appears on the horizon. Now the holiday begins! BTW I’m thinking of re-naming my blog Travels with my Gallbladder!

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  1. I remember the tree of Hypocrites as Kos Town was my first Greek holiday back in August 1988, Freya was born in may 9 months later 🤪 so something good came out of it 😂

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