I still can’t believe that we experienced a major earthquake on Kos island. It’s what you see on your Facebook newsfeed and not what you expect on vacation.
(Photos above – top photo – I photographed this building on Wednesday. Below it is an image published by thesun.co.uk showing the post-quake damage.)
I was in the bathroom, getting ready for bed. It had been a lovely day in sunny Kardamena, a little village on a Greek island, just off the Turkish coast. The day had ended with coffee and tea with hubby under the Bougainville, counting the swallows that made the tree their home.
In an instant, swallows scattered and idyllic became frightening as a 6.7 earthquake shook the island. As the hotel building swayed from side to side like a little boat bobbing in stormy waters, the sense of powerlessness we felt was frightening. My first thought was to get to the kids and my hubby, immediately followed by a realization of how powerless I was against Mother Nature’s wrath and then a strong determination to do whatever I could to keep my girls safe.
The earthquake probably lasted minutes or even seconds but felt like ages. I remember the details in slo-mo. Running to cover our one daughter, telling my husband to cover our other daughter. Once the swaying and tremors subsided, the vast majority of the hotel’s guests congregated in the courtyard and exchanged stories – an involuntary form of debriefing, I think. Then we did a check around us for damage, did our Facebook safety check-in’s and scoured social media for news.
Fortunately, Kardamena and its inhabitants were unharmed. There were a few scary moments – including the hotel’s pool spilling down the paving like water out of a tilted glass, a few guests experiencing cancelled flights and scared young children – but the impact was mostly emotional. My heart went out to a group of Italian boys and girls who insisted on sleeping on the pool loungers outside as they experienced a devastating quake recently back home.
(Photos above: The melding of two great empires in architecture – Ottoman and Ancient Greek – is no more. I took the photo of my daughters by it in 2016. The photo for showing the quake damage from this morning is credited to bbc.co.uk)
On the opposite side of the island, the damage is heartbreaking – many gorgeous, ancient structures that have been around for centuries and millennia were damaged as was the port. I have marveled at the gateway to the old Jewish quarter, stared in awe at the beautiful minarets of Ottoman mosques and have taken many photographs of art and architecture that simply does not exist in our modern world. I can’t believe these are reduced to rubble and damaged now.
Many were injured in Kos town and Bodrum and sadly two tourists lost their lives. These are stunningly beautiful countries. My thoughts are with those injured in Bodrum and Kos and my prayers go out to the families of those who have passed away. #prayforkos #kosearthquake #kardamena #kos #greece #prayforbodrum #bodrum #turkey