Many people will look at Ellie and I cycling through Europe and think that, however we might dress it up, we’re essentially on holiday. Those people would be close to the truth. It may be grueling at times, just making and breaking camp every day is taxing without having cycled a mile, but so is reserving deck chairs with beach towels. However, the Greek island of Kos really was a shameless holiday right in the middle of our tour. We’d cycled keenly through Greece and had tackled some steep terrain and hot weather before reaching Athens. So, upon reaching Kos, a large section of the tour lay behind us and the faintly daunting prospect of Turkey ahead. It was the perfect time for a break.
Arriving off the ferry, after a poor nights sleep beside the ferries funnel, Kos town looked like paradise. There is a beautiful castle pressed up against the sea front and pristine bike paths race in every direction. The sea was perfectly still and clear, as the Med always is in the morning, and as it was still only 7am we still had the whole day ahead of us.
Two minutes later and we were purging the diesel fumes from or groggy heads with Greek coffee whilst watching runners and cyclist go by. Kos was instantly fun; friendly people – we had already sparked up a few conversations with locals that morning – clean, quiet roads and good beaches just outside of Kos town.
There are flowers and plants growing everywhere and loads of public seating and shaded areas. Nothing suggests that a place is built with pride and care more than the abundance of uncommercialised public spaces for the enjoyment of everyone regardless of how much they’re spending. Some places we have visited are only hospitable as long as money is being drained from your pockets but as soon as you try to engage in a free activity such as walking or going to a beach you see a different side. The beaches are owned and private, you must pay for the privilege and dogs, litter and beggars punctuate your walk. But not Kos. Kos is good from the inside out, it has good core values, a sense of dignity, history and pride.
I’ve no stats to present to you on Kos, although a quick Google search will no doubt bring some up, but I’m willing to bet that Kos has a low crime rate and generally high levels of happiness and satisfaction amongst its population.