3 Days in Rhodes
26.09.2009 - 29.09.2009 32 °C
Arriving in to Rhodes on a propeller powered plane, that we felt could have dropped out of the sky at any second, we were looking for a bit more than we managed to find in Crete. Things did not start well. Our arrival time coincided with 3 flights from the UK, two being package holiday flights with Thomas Cook and the other being an Easy Jet flight from London Gatwick. Needless to say the airport was rammed and tensions were high as people fought to get their bags first; in order to get outside and in to a cab.
Joining the back of the line we were once again lucky enough to be going in the same direction as the frist cab of the rank. Therefore we didn't have to stand around like everyone else. However, this time round the couple we were sharing the cab with seemed less than impressed with the arrangements. Arriving at our serviced apartment, the cabbie asked for his 25 euro. Once again our Lonely Planet had let us down. While it gave us a price for the cab it failed to mention there was an additional surcharge per bag of 5 euro. 10 euro out of pocket and still slightly grumbling we staggered off (after effects from our walk the day before) to find the reception and our room. Walking past it the first time we finally found a note stuck to the front door informing us our room was 117 and was open for us. Arriving upstairs we were pleasently suprised to find the room had a cooker and fridge, home cooked meals and cheap Greek wine was defintely on the cards for the next few nights!!
After sleeping in, recovering from our lack of sleep the previous couple of nights we set off to find a bus in to the town of Rodos and to explore the old town. Finding the bus stop was an experience in its self. We're staying in a place called Falaraki, 15km south of Rodos on the coast. Now, we've never been to the Greek Islands and we'd never really carried out any research on what these places are like. Finding our accomodation on the internet it just said it was close to the beach and since this was supposed to be the relaxing part of the trip a beach was high up on the agenda. What the website failed to mention is that this is where every pasty skined, teeth missing, beer swilling pom came on their summer vacation. Yep, thats right we'd booked ourselves in to a British and for that matter Dutch and Geerman package holiday nightmare. The local Tavernas don't really sell local greek food thier menu's are instead list full english breakfasts, Sunday Roasts, fish and chips and Bratwhursts etc. The bars and shops are all staffed by Brits and the drink specials range from 1 euro pints up to 15 euro for all you can drink in 3 hours and Friday night Foam parties, the main road is lined with places called, George's, King Arthurs and straight from the Flintstones The Bedrock Bar.
Falaraki is the only town on Rhodes that has a subway, Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut and KFC. Needless to say we were slightly speechless by our surroundings.
After walking in a daze past all of these wonderful establishments we located the bus stop on Falaraki beach running in to Rodos. Hopping off the bus in Rodos we were greeted by the magnificant sight of Rodos Old Town. Much like York and Dubrovnik, Rodos is a walled city. However, in comparision it is significantly more impressive. The South Western side of the city walls are protected from invading forces by a land moat while the North Eastern side of the city extends all way to the Harbour. The raised position of the wall giving the occupiers prime position to fend off attacks from either side of the city.
The land moat has now been converted in to a garden and entry to the city can be obtained via any of the old stone arch gates. We wandered up the hill and entered via the old draw bridge. The city itself is full of date plams and the Islamic occupation is evident in the Mosques and middle eastern coloured lime work used on some of the buildings. The earthy colours of the buildings against the back drop of the blue sky and date palms certainly allowed one to day dream of times gone by.
Clambering up the city steps to the entrance of the Knights Palace we were pleasantly suprised to find entry free for the day as the wall walk was cancelled due to ongoing works.
The Knights Palace was home to the order of the Knights Hospitaller after the Christian Forces were finally evicted from the Middle East, Rhodes was their home for approximately 300 years before their piracy on Islamic boats forced the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to lay Siege to Rhodes expelling the last remaining Knights to Sicily in the year 1522.
The Palace is full of beautiful Early Christian and Roman Mosaics from the nearby Island of Kos dating back as early as the 2nd century.
After finishing our exploration of the Palace we set our sights on the Jewish Courter and the North Eastern side of the town.
As our journey has proceeded we are making notes of the lessons we are learning. For example, we now know to check what day of the week it is before we decide to go exploring in a city. With yesterday being Sunday many of the small shops within the narrow streets of Rhodes were closed. None the less we really enjoyed the afternoon, getting lost and playing Crusades (I really hate this word, its meaning goes against everything I believe and stand for, but at the same time it is the best word I can think of to allow you to conjure up the image that I have in my head of knights in foreign lands).
Sunday night was spent on our balcony with a home made spagetti Cabonara and what turned in to 2 bottles of Greek wine priced at 3.50 euro each, bargin!! Our drinking habits are significantly restricted on this trip and we plan to take adantage of every oppertunity we have, drinking of course in moderation, all we can drink for 15 euro in 3 hours is not really our cup of tea.
Today we are just relaxing by the pool and taking it easy. We've brought forward our plans to get to Turkey and heading off tomorrow instead of Wednesday, as nice as it is to relax this isn't really how we imagined Greece to be and therefore we think Turkey will probably offer a bit more local culture.
So stay tuned for our Turkey adventures.