Cruising the Aegean Sea: Rhodes

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April 2nd 2009
Published: September 14th 2009
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My Little GypsyMy Little GypsyMy Little Gypsy

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.
From Patmos, the island of the Apocalypse, we left the island in the evening and woke up to find ourselves in Rhodes.

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, 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.

From 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 UsNo Donkey Ride for UsNo 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................

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


The Street of the KnightsThe Street of the Knights
The Street of the Knights

Along this street, one finds the Palace of the GrandMaster, built by the Knights, reconstructed by the Italians as a summer home for Mussolini and Victor Emmanuel III, neither of whom used it much.
The Old TownThe Old Town
The Old Town

The wall encircled the entire Old Town. We must have seen about 4 gates, but I couldn't tell one from the next.
Entrance to the Old TownEntrance to the Old Town
Entrance to the Old Town

The gate opens up to the Street of the Knights, with a few exits here and there. Walking here at 8 in the morning is such a refreshing way to start a day.
Within the WallsWithin the Walls
Within the Walls

We enjoyed the vibrant beat of shopping tourists and friendly storekeepers in Rhodes. There was one store where Shelly and I must have spent a good hour, just chatting up the storekeeper. No, we didn't buy any.
Ruins of a Roman Basilica in RhodesRuins of a Roman Basilica in Rhodes
Ruins of a Roman Basilica in Rhodes

This was inside the Old Town, soon after one enters one of the gates . Past this antiquity is a row of shops and eateries.
View from the AcropolisView from the Acropolis
View from the Acropolis

I mean , the Acropolis in Lindos .
Another Acropolis?Another Acropolis?
Another Acropolis?

Yes, there is another one in Lindos Island in Rhodes.
Corridor On the Way UpCorridor On the Way Up
Corridor On the Way Up

Every one of us passed this way on the uphill climb to the Acropolis of Lindos. It was a "cool break" from the heat and glare of the sun.
I made it to the top -  Phew!I made it to the top -  Phew!
I made it to the top - Phew!

And no donkey rides for me........
Why waste an afternoon?Why waste an afternoon?
Why waste an afternoon?

We started the day with a stroll inside the walled town, then the Acropolis in Lindos, then back to the walled town. If we had another day here, we would have sat in one of those al fresco cafes for dinner.
The Way Back........The Way Back........
The Way Back........

No chance of getting lost here. From the walled town, one can stroll by the beach and walk towards our boat.
Ready for Dinner?Ready for Dinner?
Ready for Dinner?

Many on the boat dressed to the nines for these dinners, but by the 3rd night, we heard many teens saying \"No way my mom will ever get me to dress up for these dinners.......\".

8th November 2009

No donkeys?
I don't think I would have braved them either. Sounds too scary. I love your photography, especially the scenic views from the Acropolis and the remains of the Roman basilica......such history.....did you ever find the Colossus????

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