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Published: September 14th 2009
My Little GypsyFrom Patmos, the island of the Apocalypse, we left the island in the evening and woke up to find ourselves in Rhodes.
Found her just outside the Old Town's Wall, playing a melancholy melody, oblivious to the people passing by. She looked just as sad as every note struck by her tiny fingers.
Now, this I've got to say. I wasn't prepared for Rhodes. Perhaps because all this time, I was more fascinated by the more popular islands like Mykonos or Santorini. All I knew about Rhodes was some history lesson marking the Colossus of Rhodes as one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. But an earthquake more than 2,200 years ago wiped out this ancient bronze statue that stood by the harbor, so there is really just a memory, if not a legend or myth about this world famous landmark. Of more "recent" history is the flight of the Knights to Rhodes during the Medieval period, only to be chased out once more by the Ottoman Turks to the Kingdom of Sicily, and later to Malta. Having said that, I was not really expecting much from this island.
So much talk about the non-existent Colossus........that was how we started the day. I found it funny that no matter how this legend has been passed on through generations, still....no trace of the
statue remains today. Ho hum. There goes our guide egging us to "imagine" this bronze statue of the sun god Helios standing tall on a stone base at the entrance to the harbour. Ho hum. And there's more.......the statue or tower (make up your mind!) may have even served as a lighthouse during ancient times. We looked around, and all we could find are stone columns topped by figures of a stag and hind, the town's heraldic animals.
Off we start walking now into the Old Town. First off is the Palace of the Grand Master, built by the Knights, and reconstructed by the Italians as a summer home for Mussolini and Victor Emmanuel III, neither of whom used it much. Now, here was a very "medieval" feel just walking on cobble-stoned paths. The Street of the Knights leads from the Palace , with several "inns" housing the Knights of St. John. At the end of the Street is the Knights' Hospital, later restored as the Archaelogical Museum. Off the street, one also finds a candy-striped Suleiman Mosque, a concession to the Ottoman Turks who came and ruled over the island.
the Walled Town, we took a bus that took us to Lindos. An hour's bus ride along stretches of beach and charming villages. Here, one finds another Acropolis. It is not as impressive as the one in Athens, but I was reasonably impressed. Standing proudly on a peak is the Acropolis , complete with a Temple of Apollo. Having missed a donkey ride in previous stopovers, Shelly and I mulled over the idea. Then, this guy warned us about it. True or not, he said the donkeys behave very well on their uphill climb........but these donkeys would be so thirsty and tired on the way down that all they want to do is rush home for their feeding. The problem is the pathways going up and down are one and the same......and they are not as wide as one would have wanted. No railings too. Oh oh. That clinched it. Shelly and I decided to climb up on our own. Not so bad. Those knees are still good. Ahem.....
After Lindos , we took the same bus back to town and explored the rest of the Old Town. This medieval walled town is a pleasure to
No Donkey Ride for Us
It was an uphill climb and we were tempted. But this guys tells us that the donkeys rush down , tired and thirsty, on this narrow path from the Acropolis. True?
explore. There were al fresco cafes, ice cream bars, novelty and souvenir stores, jewelry stores, etc. all around. We loved it. Shelly and I checked out one store on our way out, and met this charming woman who gave us stools to sit on while she patiently and deliberately took out her sample necklaces and bracelets for sale. We never got to buy anything despite an hour long stay in that store. Well, much of the time we were simply chatting the afternoon away. With her limited English, we managed to exchange stories about nieces, nephews , children and grandchildren.
Not far away from this store, we found the exit from the Walled Town. We could see our boat from a distance. And the breeze and the view made for a very pleasurable walk towards the harbour. Tonight, we dress up for dinner. I wonder how that will turn out................
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