Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Experience of a Lifetime (1 of 2)

My intentions mentioned in the latter part of my last post was to follow up with some words documenting my time in Heidelberg, seeing the castle and the university, along with some down time in Pforzheim to enjoy the world cup. Originally, my weekend plans included traveling to Frankfurt with some friends from Landau on Saturday. Unfortunately, those plans fell through, but when one door closes, another opens.

Two students from Penn State, Stefan & Greg, had planned a trip a few weeks prior to a Mediterranean escape; the island of Kos. This island is located on the western side of the sea, extremely close to Turkey but is a part of Greece. With no other plans from Thursday to Sunday, I decided to join them. A third student from Penn State ordered a ticket as well, but decided no to go. With the opportunity in front of me, I took the ticket and paid a fee to have the name changed.

So with a last second change of plans, I will document my amazing weekend traveling to the island of Kos, Greece.


Our flight departed at 7:30am local time from the Frankfurt Hahn Airport. We decided to take an overnight train to Frankfurt with a bus commute to the airport. With our bags packed, we set out from the Pforzheim train station at 9:30pm. After a few stops, we arrived at the Frankfurt train station around Midnight. From here, we had to wait another three hours to catch a bus to the airport. So, around 3:30am we took a bus for almost two hours to get to the airport. Since we booked our flight through RyanAir, a low fare airline, we had to travel to an alternative airport which was the reason for the two hour bus trip. Regardless of the tedious travel, it is worth it in the long run. After arriving at the airport around 5:00am, we had a bite to eat and continued through baggage check and security until we arrived at our gate. With only about 45 minutes until our departure, we grew more and more anxious. We finally boarded and had only three more hours, a plane ride, and a cab separating us from beautiful beaches, crystal blue waters, and sunshine.

Southern Alps

The flight itself was great considering it was a discount airline. I took some pictures from inside the plane, which came out great. It’s amazing to see snowcapped mountains followed by a secluded island in the middle of the Mediterranean. With our decent approaching, we began to try and guess which of the dozens of islands was Kos. By the time we spotted the island, we were nearly on top of the runway and that much closer to our destination.

Once we landed, I was so surprised to see the atmosphere surrounding the airport. So many cultures were arriving and departing, each with their own experiences. The airport itself was quite grim. Excluding the runway, the building was only about the size of three or four football fields. I had never been to such a place, so this was already an invigorating experience. Once we had our luggage, we took a walk outside to fine an entire new world. The weather was great and the atmosphere was even better. We caught a cab and within 10 minutes, we were at our hotel.

Within the first 30 minutes of our time in Kos, I saw so many fascinating things that I never witnessed in my lifetime. I only use the word “things” because there were so many different sights which I can’t sum up in a few words. Our hotel was settled about two blocks away from the beach with different studios and apartments surrounding the courtyard and pool. I was extremely happy with the layout of our apartment.

Within minutes of settling in, we had already began to plan our the remainder of our day. We decided to head to the beach and rest up since we hadn’t much sleep the night before. I was so overwhelmed with the landscape and setting of this beautiful island.

The northern Atlantic coast can’t hold a candle to Kos, let alone anywhere in the Mediterranean. After bathing in the sun for around 3 hours with a swim here and there, we decided to head back to the apartment and plan dinner and our activities for the night.

Once we got showered and changed, we took a walk downtown and found a nice restaurant with the host persuading us to come sit and eat. We gave in because at that point we were rather hungry. Once seated, I tried to ask some questions, but the host, Andy, didn’t speak English that well. Regardless, I persuaded him to give me a deal that included an entrée and free beer for an extremely reasonable price. I didn’t want to try the Greek cuisine right away, so I opted for a spicy cheeseburger and chips. Although I ordered a burger, we shared some hummus around the table which was excellent. After we finished, we got the bill. 15 Euros for 3 entrees and 3 drinks! We happily paid and let Andy know we would be back again.

After dinner, we took a walk and slowly made it back to our hotel while brainstorming some activities we could do during our time in Kos. We also talked to our hotel bartender, who showed us a map with some interesting sights on the island. We decided the best way to explore the island would be to rent some type of transportation. He directed us to a rental shop a few blocks away from our hotel. Long story short, all three of us successfully rented a moped for only 15 Euros a day! It was one of the best decisions we made during our time on the island.
We then took the mopeds back to our hotel and headed to the infamous bar street. Luckily for us Americans, the majority of people were from the UK and spoke english. Unfortunately, most of them were working part time in the dozens of bars and only used their English to persuade us to come and have some drinks in their bar or pub. A few here and there were persuading, but we had to opt out of most or else our wallets would have been empty the first night. After getting a feel of the nightlife on the island, we headed home around midnight and settled in for a good nights rest.

The next day, we woke up early to explore the island. With some places in mind, we set out around 10am after some breakfast at Teo’s Tavern (Andy’s restaurant, with the bill being 9.50 for 3 people). I can’t describe the sights we saw that day in any words. The island was such a beautiful paradise with remarkable views, but at the same time it showed you the rough lifestyle that the local people must deal with on a daily basis. With a few videos and photos, I may be able to depict the staggering experience I had throughout that day.

The mopeds were a great investment, considering we covered approximately half of the island within hours. We would not have been able to witness and experience any of this without them.
After our exploration of the island of Kos, we decided to head back for some dinner at Teo’s. I ordered a delicious seafood pasta entrée along with a few Mythos, a Greek beer. After dinner, we decided to head back to our hotel and relax before heading downtown. Yet again, we walked bar street, had a few drinks, and then around midnight decided to go to one of the clubs located a few blocks behind our apartment.

Part 2 coming soon...

1 comment:

  1. Keep 'em coming. I'm enjoying your posts, including the photos.