Monday, 10 September 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 1. Santa Maria

About to set off from Kos Town harbour on the Santa Maria
The Santa Maria 3 Island Cruise - which visits Pserimos, Kalymnos and Plati - is a really fun and entertaining trip. We initially picked it because it's a lovely looking wooden (proper) boat. The crew, particularly Captain Mario, are ace performers and make it an experience to remember. Nice stops for coffee, beach, sightseeing; food on board was way more than good, dolphin spotting and swimming off the boat in crystal waters. Definitely the best boat trip and definitely our favourite trip on Kos.

Reviews: Santa Maria Kos 3 Island Cruise

(Much cheaper to book at the harbour, which conveniently, will be just a few meters from our hotel.)

Looking back to Kos Town as we leave on the Santa Maria

Neratzia Castle from the sea

Out to sea on the Santa Maria

First port of call for coffee and beach

Santa Maria at one of the islands we visited

Santa Maria at one of the other islands we visited

Monday, 3 September 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 2. Taverna Fantasia

Greek night at Taverna Fantasia in Zia

The Greek night at Taverna Fantasia in Zia is completely stereotypical and a wee bit cheesy, but this night out was such fantastic fun and well-organised, with a lovely atmosphere, not to mention the unlimited supply of wine and very good food for mass catering. We booked the trip, which includes transfer from your hotel by coach and a stop in Zia village to look at the views - at sunset - on the way, via Kosinfo

(Please note: prices drop quite quickly when you add more people to your party!)

Monday, 27 August 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 3. Aegli Cafe

Aegli cafe (left) on Eleftherias Square
Aegli cafe right on the main Eleftherias Square in Kos Town, is run as a women’s co-operative supporting low-income women, where you will find Greek mums doing amazing Greek home cooking, with a menu including dishes and salads that you won’t find on the menu everywhere else, along with delicious home made deserts and cakes (and probably the best Galaktoboureko I've ever tasted). We love them for the food and the welcome, as well as the business ethics. Highly recommended any time, but especially for lunch or for late night desert, coffee and people-watching.

Simple, but extraordinary salad at Aegli cafe
NB: We'll have to work our way through the entire menu of deserts all over again (it's a hardship, what we'll do to provide a full and accurate review ... eh?) as we singularly failed to get a photo of any of them. They were just too irresistible!

The Forou Gate HAns [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The bougainvillea-covered Forou Gate is on the opposite side of Eleftherios Square to the Aegli Cafe. Walk through the gate at night and you will arrive in the area known as Bar Street (actually, at least two streets) to find Clubs, Bars & Nightlife.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 4. Agkyra Fish Restaurant

Agkyra Fish Restaurant
There are fish restaurants in this area of Kos Town that describe themselves as the best, but this one really is. The food, wine and service at Agkyra Fish Restaurant are all excellent, the welcome genuine and if you want that Shirley Valentine moment sitting at a table right at the water’s edge – this is the place to find it perfectly. Oh, and they respond to comments on Facebook too – real people. Love them!

The Agkyra take on paella

Something on a stick at Agkyra

Monday, 13 August 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 5. Casa Romana

Courtyard in the Casa Romana
The Roman House or Casa Romana is a Roman villa of the late 2nd and early 3rd Century AD, built in the ruins of a Hellenistic house with a wonderful sewage system (exciting, eh?) located in Kos Town. It consists of 36 rooms and 3 outdoor spaces.

Open to the general public from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm.

This is a fantastic example of how to do restorations really, really well.

You get the feeling as you walk round that you could almost move in and live there - or at least imagine how people will have lived there - and, despite being right on a busy street in Kos Town (to be fair, the builders probably didn't anticipate the growth in traffic over 2000+ years), it is a genuine (non-cliché) oasis of quiet and calm.

Must See in Kos: Casa Romana

Courtyard in the Casa Romana

Courtyard in the Casa Romana

Courtyard in the Casa Romana

Mosaic in the Casa Romana

Monday, 6 August 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 6. Agora (Market)

Kos Town Market on Eleftherios Square

Stuffed with souvenirs, the Kos Town Market (Municipal Market of Kos or Agora) on Eleftherios Square, is also the Farmers' Market. It has a huge selection of local produce (loukoumi and baklava, etc., that make great gifts and delicacies to take home for Christmas) as well as honey, herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits with some of the biggest, juiciest peaches I’ve seen anywhere (perfect for breakfast).

Monday, 30 July 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 7. Kos Town

Kos Town Harbour

In Kos Town see the Neratzia Castle (from the outside only as apparently it has suffered major structural damage and remained closed to the public since the earthquake in 2017) - on the harbour side of the castle, don’t miss the collection box to provide food for the local cats; the harbour itself; wander around the ruins of the ancient Agora; the legendary (even if unlikely to be historically authentic) Hippocrates Plane Tree; and the narrow streets of the old town for more tat shopping along with some nice restaurants and bars – these streets were cooler than other parts of the town too.

Neratzia Castle

A plane tree by the harbour side of Kos Town Castle

Cat at Kos Town Castle

View of the ancient agora (market) in Kos Town

The supposed plane tree under which Hippocrates sat

Cafe life in the streets of the Old Town Kos

Monday, 23 July 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 8. The village of Zia

A stereotypical photo opportunity in Zia
The village of Zia, despite burgeoning with bus loads of tourists, and being end-to-end with tat shops – I think the official line is that these are “local handicrafts” and there are some nice things among it all - is still a pretty village with some lovely cafes – and spectacular views. There are buses, or you could visit as part of the Island Tour.

Wall-to-wall local handicrafts in Zia

Tourists in Zia

A nice cool and tranquil cafe in Zia

Spectacular view from Zia

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Testing for Orthostatic Intolerance

Way back in 2009, after I'd begun heart rate monitoring (my initial readings can be found here, Compared to the normal ranges for my age, I'm dead ... and recent monitoring has confirmed this to still be the case, in fact the readings were generally even lower), I followed it up by doing Dr. Bell’s Simple Test for Orthostatic Intolerance, which I'd first read about on Sue Jackson's post on Orthostatic Intolerance and CFS. However, what with one thing and another, I never wrote up on the results.

As recommended, I began the test late morning, around 2 hours after breakfast. Before starting, I'd merely been to the loo and back - I reckon that isn't an "unusual activity!"

Interval SYS DIA Pulse Observations
Outset 91 60 78 Normal after mild activity.
5 minutes lying flat 111 62 54 Typical resting figures.
10 minutes lying flat 92 63 51 Ditto.
5 minutes standing ? ? ? Unable to stand still - swaying uncontrollably. After less than 2 minutes, twinges in ankles, feeling of swelling, assumed to be blood pooling. After 3 minutes began to get lightheaded and nauseous.
10 minutes standing 128 100 60 Shortly into round 2, began to get a headache, nausea becoming worse, extremely hot, sweating, trembling.
15 minutes standing 109 74 80 Other symptoms continue to build, plus lower back pain started, legs ache, urge to march on spot. Feet appear red and mottled.
20 minutes standing 97 60 73 Pain in ankles, shins and calves worse again, pain in hip close to unbearable, nausea and trembling both up another notch. Trying to control thinking in increasing brain fog becoming difficult. Dry mouth.
25 minutes standing 110 62 72 All symptoms still increasing, but ability to articulate ceased.
30 minutes standing 99 74 85 Ditto.

If we go by the numbers, then I think the results of this test are inconclusive.

Certainly the trend in my pulse rate appears to coincide with what would be expected in a patient with orthostatic intolerance and the final pulse reading of 85 is still more than the tolerable 28-30 rise from the resting pulse of 51.

Although there is nothing in the real danger zone there, it's not difficult to see that, once I begin walking or exercising and not just standing on the spot, however cautiously, I am bound to go into the "exhaustion zone."

OK, maybe I would be able to keep within my limits while doing a little light activity at home, but the moment I need to exert myself by having a shower, walking anywhere, even to go to essential medical appointments, I just get caught in the vicious never-ending downward spiral of the 'boom and bust' exertion, crash cycle.

The blood pressure readings are all within what look to me to be the tolerable side of low. What I don't understand is why they went up and down erratically and at times up, when the expected result would be down. My hunch, based on how I felt, is that my blood pressure rose in direct relation to the onset or notable increases in symptoms of pain, hot flushes and overall discomfort.

Frankly, I was way more than surprised that I did manage to get all the way through the 30 minutes of the standing test without becoming so lightheaded as to be unable to remain upright, because this has happened before, inside a minute.

That said, I know I was only able to push beyond what I'd normally be able to tolerate, mostly because I was doing nothing else that day and was in the relative comfort and safety of my bedroom, i.e. I knew I could lie down if it got too much and that I could - and did - lie down for most of the rest of the day to recover.

If I'd attempted to stand for a few minutes, say in a work environment, I wouldn't have been able to do anything else while doing so, nor for the rest of the day. Even if I'd only been out shopping, I'd have found the symptoms intolerable and would have needed help, or to sit down (as I have on many a shop's floor).

As soon as I finished the test, I did have to lie down and continued to have a headache and nausea, while the trembling, which is my usual response to any over-exertion, was still continuing to increase even several hours later.

The next time I got up to go to the kitchen, after a short rest, I felt achy, battered and bruised and, as soon as I was upright, the nausea and trembling increased again. The second time I stirred, to answer the door, although I didn't lose consciousness, I couldn't focus, nor keep my balance and was bumping into walls.

Later in the day, as often occurs after exertion, I suffered a nose bleed.

The pain in my back, hip and legs, lasted the next few days.

Nine years on, my symptoms come on quicker than they did in 2009. My tolerance for standing has decreased and rather than push myself into flares of symptoms that would put me in bed for a week or longer, I now have help to do all of the things I struggle with, including wheelchair assistance whenever I'd need to stand or queue.

Orthostatic intolerance Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments and Causes - Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension): Tests and diagnosis - Orthostatic Intolerance Diagnosis: Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) Dysautonomia in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Monday, 16 July 2018

Ten Things We Loved About Kos: 9. Papa’s Beach Bar

View to the sea from Papa's Beach Bar
Papa's Beach Bar on Lambi Beach, according to Tripadvisor, is the #1 thing to do in Kos Town. We can't really say as we only stopped there for a drink while on a walk to investigate the beach, but this time we will be close to this beach and plan to spend more time there. Even on our short stop though, we agree with what one reviewer said: "It has a wonderful relaxed atmosphere and feels like it has its own tranquility."

Lambi beach looking north

Lambi beach looking south


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