As I descend down the coastal route of the E4, the ruined city of Lissos doesn’t look like much.
I could see a couple of tourists on the tiny beach, the rocky outline of a small church, and what I’d hoped would be a functioning well to fill my dwindling water supply.
Walking down into the valley and looking around the site, though, I realized it was something far interesting than I’d initially expected.
The entrances to burial crypts dot one of the steep hillsides that lead down to Lissos, and the smell of death pervades the air.
Outside the town’s nucleus, the ancient Temple of Asclepius and its somehow-still-preserved fresco floors explain the town’s once mighty prosperity: the healing waters of Lissos were once a draw for travelers from all across Late Antiquity.
After setting up camp in a clearing near the still-intact church of Agios Kyrikos, the fall of darkness changed the whole feel of Lissos.
While stars flew across the sky over Lissos’ protected (and light-pollution free) harbor, I spent quite a long time in the candlelit ancient chapel.
The next morning, an overcast beginning to an overcast day, the spell was broken. The site was still beautiful, of course, but the magic of being alone with the historic ruins to myself was gone.