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Published: June 22nd 2009
We depart this morning on the 8:30 hydrofoil from Fethıye to Rhodes. The trıp takes about 90 mınutes. Our time in Turkey has been amazing and surprising. Good Bye Turkey!!
Since we are leaving the Muslim countries we want to include some basic information and observations.
The word Islam is an Arabic word meaning peace and submission. Islam is one of the Abrahamic religions, as are Judaism and Christianity. Some of the prophets of Islam includes but not limited to, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
The Muslims believe in: One God, The Angels, The Prophets, The Books of Allah and Fate and Divine Decree and Resurrection. The also have 5 pillars of faith that include Shahadah (Testimony), Salah (5 daily prayers), Sawm (Fasting) and Zakah (Purification of Wealth) and Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca,
Those that can afford it are expected to give 2.5% of their annual net wealth and the money to be given directly to the poor sections of the community. There is no head of church only a chanter at each mosque, chanting the daily prayers and verses from the Quaran.
The Muslim people that we have encountered on our journey
have been very nice, courteous and helpful. The men have been very gentlemanly in all ways. They have shown respect and being American and Australian we have been given words of praise and welcome for us and our countries. We have never ever felt uncomfortable or fearful. We have felt safer here than at home (in some places at home) than we ever expected to. Even in the poorest of countries. Our experiences here in the Middle East have been absolutely fantastic and we would not hesitate to return.
On the Rhode to Rhodes. We arrive on the ferry to the Island of Rhodes, HELLO GREECE!
Rhodes dates back to the 16th century BC. Old Rhodes City is a medival city and surrounded by thick stone walls and a moat. The old town is reputedly the worlds finest surviving example of medival fortification with 12 metre thick walls. The cobblestone avenue of the knights is lines with magnificent medieval buildings, the most imposing of which is the Palace of the Grand Masters. Old Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historic map of Rhodes by Piri ReisIn 1309 the Byzantine era came to
View from the Clock Tower
an end when the island was occupied by forces of the Knights Hospitaller. Under the rule of the newly named "Knights of Rhodes", the city was rebuilt into a model of the European medieval ideal. Many of the city's famous monuments, including the Palace of the Grand Master, were built during this period.
The strong walls which the Knights had built withstood the attacks of the Sultan of Egypt in 1444, and of Mehmed II in 1480. Ultimately, however, Rhodes fell to the large army of Suleiman the Magnificent in December 1522, long after the rest of the Byzantine empire had been lost. The few surviving Knights were permitted to retire to the Kingdom of Sicily. The Knights would later move their base of operations to Malta. The island was thereafter a possession of the Ottoman Empire for nearly four centuries.
Mortar of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, Rhodes, 1480-1500, fired 260 lb (118 kg) cannon balls. In February 1840, the Jews of Rhodes were falsely accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy in what became known as the Rhodes blood libel.
In 1912, Italy seized Rhodes from the Turks. The island
thus bypassed many of the events associated with the "exchange of the minorities" between Greece and Turkey.
Due to the Treaty of Lausanne the island - together with the Dodecanese - was officially assigned to Italy, and became the core of the possession of the Isole Italiane dell'Egeo.
Following the Italian Armistice of September 8th,1943, the British attempted to get the Italian garrison on Rhodes to change sides. This was anticipated by the German Army, which succeeded in occupying the island. In great measure this resulted in the British failure in the subsequent Dodecanese Campaign.
On July 19, 1944 the island’s 1700 Jewish inhabitants were rounded up by the Gestapo and sent to extermination camps, of whom some 160 survived. The Turkish Consul Selahattin Ülkümen succeeded, at considerable risk to himself and his family, in saving 42 Jews who had Turkish citizenship or were family members of Turkish citizens.
In 1948, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese, Rhodes was united with Greece.
In 1949, Rhodes was the venue for negotiations between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, concluding with the 1949 Armistice Agreements.
OUR ARRIVAL IN RHODES
It is beautiful with
a gentle sea breeze. We disembark from the ferry and proceed to find our way to the Apollo Guest House. But we only have the name and no address. Yvonne who is meeting us there has made the arrangements. So we walk up the main street asking people with no avail. Francine asks a travel shop and he cannot find the Apollo in the accommodation guide so we move on. Angie suggests that we duck into the Starvos Bar and ask the man to look it up in the phone book. The older gentleman is very accommodating and soon finds the address in the accommodation guide and after we finish our colas we bid him farewell. We follow his directions and head off along the cobbled streets with backpacks and Fran's wheelie bag clunking along. The handle hasn't come off yet. Phew. in no time we arrive at our home for the next four nights.
The guest house is a really nice Bed and Breakfast type of place run by a English women and her partner a Japanese gentleman. The room is very modern with rustic charm. It is a twin room and they have given us a fold
up bed to accommodate the three of us. With all our luggage we get ourselves organised and it is good practice for the very small quarters we will have on the sailing boat.
Francine's friend Yvonne from Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia is joining us on our travels through Greece.
We have missed Yvonne by about half an hour so we quickly drop our bags and roam the cobbled streets to explore the Old City of Rhodes. The Old City is from medieval times. There are so many winding narrow streets that it is hard to get our bearings at first. There are shops and restaurants beyond imagination. After an hour we go back to the house and finally meet up with Yvonne..She has just come from Egypt doing the same 15 day tour we did last month. So we spend time reliving our travels in Egypt and comparing notes on the various placed and activities. Great fun to enjoy Egypt again!
We head back out into town for some more exploration and shopping. We are now using Euro so our spending has slowed. The cost of items is almost doubled when converted to Aussie dollars and
a bit better for American.
The weather is warming up and humid, about 36c or 95f. So we have bought some lovely cotton tops and dresses for our sailing adventure and to fit into the holiday atmosphere of Europe. We are over our travel shorts and shirts. To go with our outfits we bought some jewellery. Beautiful hand made glass, silver and Greek blue opal rings.
We found a lovely restaurant called Romio's, a few minutes walk from our apartment and on three nights that is were we enjoyed our Greek dinners. They have fantastic salads, pastas and seafood. The meals are huge and so are the platters they are served on. All guests receive complementary flavoured Ouzo liqueur at the end of the meals. We sampled coffee and melon. Delicious. We also dressed for dinner in our lovely new feminine clothes and we felt goooood.
We walked to the new town to collect our ferry tickets to Kos. To our pleasant surprise we found a liquour store. We now have supplies for the sailing trip. Whiskey, Drambuie, Vodka, Lemoncello, Absinth and a tiny bottle of Malibu for Frangie.
We have been to the beach
in Old Rhodes a few times. The water is crystal clear even in the port area and when we walk along the promenade we see fish of about 25cm/10in long. The beach doesn't have sand as in Australia, it is all pebbles. There are deck chairs and umbrellas set up all along the beach. It costs 3euro to hire a deck chair. There are a couple of bars / cafes on the beach and great music is playing. Lots of beautiful people and some big topless people too (and we don't mean big breasted we mean big people). We head into the water and float and look for sea glass along the edge. It is very refreshing. We also spot some eye candy, our first Greek Adonis. Glad we had our sunglasses on so it was easier to perve/stare. Body was great, unfortunately he turned around and spoilt the moment.
After observing all the beautiful bodies and not so beautiful we decided we were well and truly able to qualify to wear a two piece swim suit. Sure to be able to walk around unnoticed in the European crowd. So we now have (modest)bikinis. We are waiting to wear
them on our sailing boat. You may not see the photos and if you do they may be air brushed. Cropped, photo shopped, tanned up. LOL.
cobbled streets and white washed buildings.
This was our favorite restaurant. We had dinner there 3 nights in a row. Thier food and service was the best we have encountered anywhere. The house salad was especially delicious/beautiful. It was like a chef salad but much better and the house salad dressing was beyond description. Every meal creatively displayed and the atmosphere very Greek and relaxing.
The clock tower was fist built in the 7th century on the ruins of a Byzantine tower which was connected with the Palace of the Grand Masters. In 1856 it was virtually destroyed by an explosion from the nearby church of St John of the Knights. In the same year reconstruction began. The existing mechanism of the clock is 150 years old.
We walked up about seven flights of stairs to view the city from the top and take photos. Our ticket included a free drink at the cafe at the foot of the tower. We had our fist Ouzo in Greece.
PALACE OF THE GRAND MASTERS
The Palace of Grand Masters is ideally located at the end of the Street of the Knights. It is conspicuous by its spherical towers as well as a gate with a sharp arch and moat. The Palace of Grand Masters is a citadel which was built by the Knights of St John in the 14th century. The palace boasts of numerous grandiose rooms with antique furniture, exquisite polychrome marbles, sculptures, carpets and fine Oriental vases. It also housed a museum of local artifacts.
In total there are a staggering 158 rooms but only 24 of them are open to visitors. The Palace of the Grand Masters was extensively restored in the period between 1937-40 under the stewardship of renowned Italian architect - Vittorio Mesturino. Of special significance are the frescos by renowned artists of the stature of P. Gaudenzi and F.Vellan Mussolini had the castle totally restored but never lived in it.
Our landlady Maggie told us that their was a medieval fair beginning this evening so we went to the Grand Palace where the festivities were to take place. We arrive too late for the sword fights in the
moat area but we were able to meander the small booths in the area that had various hand-crafted items for sale. All the local were in period dress and we bought our grog/wine from a booth and for 2 euros also bought the hand made pottery cup. We were enterained by the bagpipers and drummer with their music and the fair maiden who also danced a traditional dance of old. We really enjoyed ourselves. There was a stockade that we all took turns in and Yvonne had a difficult time smoking while locked up.
We went on a local bus to Butterfly Valley, about one hour from Rhodes City. In is up in the forested hills region of the island. We meander along the walking trails with small waterfalls and streams along the way. The butterflies are mainly orange and black in colour when flying but are black with white stripes when they land. There are many although mainly resting on trees and rocks in the midday heat. We spy some lizards resting on rocks. There are CCTV cameras to make sure people don't disturb the butterflies, and people try to stir them up by making a
small noise and throwing sticks, they fly off too fast to get the photo anyway.
We wandered up the trail for about an hour and a half and then back to the bus stop. We just missed the bus back to town, so we stopped to buy some fresh fruit off the back of a truck. The fruiterer spoke English. He had moved to Brisbane, Australia when he was 19 and lived there for 29 years before returning to Rhodes 20 years ago. He worked for the Queensland State Electricity Board and went on strike with 2000 other staff. In those days Joh B Peterson was Premier (like a Governor) (and quite the dictator) of Qld and sacked the lot of them. He refused to return to work unless all were reinstated. So he argued with his wife and returned to Rhodes. He visits Australia every November to spend time with his daughters. We caught the next bus back to town and headed for the beach.
We took a full day cruise to the town of Lindos, 47 km and about two hours south of Rhodes City.
The Acropolis, the ancient city is spectacularly perched
atop a 116m high rocky outcrop. Below is Lindos town, a tangle of streets with elaborately decorated 17th century houses.
During archeological works remains of a temple of Athene were dug out in Lindos. A chronicle of the temple was found as well. According to the tradition in the year 58 AD in a little bay near Lindos a vessel with St. Paul was anchoraged. Since this moment Christianity is the main religion of the islanders.
The beach in Lindos, Rhodes Island is perfectly sandy , with a stunning view of the acropolis that towers over whole town. The beach is located only few hundred meters from the centre of the town.
We walked uphill to the main square, once again the town was bustling with thousands of day trippers. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone was in holiday mode. We entered a 17th century Greek Orthodox Church. The walls and arched ceiling were covered in colourful paintings and murals. It was like stepping back in time. And was all intact.
We bought a big slice of pizza for lunch and sat on top of the hill under a tree and looked out over the town
to the beach and sea. We headed off to the beach for a cool swim for an hour and a cool drink in the beach side cafe.
We reboarded the boat and cruised an hour back towards Rhodes City and dropped anchor for another dip in the Med. The water was about 20m / 50 ft deep and so clear that we could see the bottom.
DISCLAIMER The information contained in this blog may not be completely accurate. When reading information signs it all looked Greek to us.Rhodes, Greece
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