NOTE: My Big Fat Greek Vacation blogs were written in 2002. There’s more to Greece than its current economic problems. I hope my blogs will show readers not familiar with Greece another side of the Greek people and their country.
Hi. I’m back. (I’m not sure I want to be back but that’s the reality I face.) We flew to Rhodes from Athens. Rhodes is beautiful.Unfortunately, we only had two days there. We got to our hotel and went straight to the beach; it was right in front of our hotel.
Andrea immediately became “grossed out” at the topless bathers. Well, not everyone was topless. Some of them that were, shouldn’t be topless. I was struck by the fact that the tourists were rather reserved for all that. No one said hello if they didn’t know you even if some of them came from the same country. They were mostly from northern Europe.
I spoke Greek to the hotel employees and they seemed thrilled to find someone who knows their native language. They wanted to know when I left Rhodes to go to America. I told them I was never here in the first place. Mike and I rented a car and drove all over the island. He loved driving. It felt like a Formula 44 race the way they drive there.
I was struck by the medieval history of Rhodes. There is a castle on a promontory near the town of Lindos. It is lit up in the evening. The outline of the castle against the night sky and the sound of the Med washing on the rocks below is a visual and aural experience. The town of Lindos is composed of narrow, winding, cobblestone streets with lots of shops and restaurants. The native population is hidden away, I think. We ate at a hole in the wall which had great food and smelled the jasmine spilling over the courtyard walls.
Jasmine and kebabs grilling…as Mike would say, it doesn’t get any better than that:)
We also saw the old city of Rhodes. The populace loves to ride their motorbikes through the narrow, winding, cobblestone streets. Everyone just gets out of their way. Walking through there is like going through a labyrinth. Many shops, tavernas, an Internet café, etc., but real people actually live in the small, windowless houses. It is a real neighborhood where the locals know one another. The houses open on to central courtyards which sometimes are visible from the front of the house (if the doors are left open).
There is a big old castle at the top of the hill and an old mosque (closed to the public). Actually there are two mosques. the second one is near one of the Internet cafes. The castle is now a museum and it houses antiquities from a site that was excavated somewhere on the island. There were mosaic floors similar to the ones I’ve seen in Cyprus. Great castle. Someone remarked that the fireplace would be a wonderful place to roast a whole lamb.
There is an Ottoman house under renovation that is open to the public for free. It was interesting to see because it had an indoor bathroom. The high walls and door open to a courtyard with an inactive fountain.
We also saw the new city of Rhodes located outside the old walls and surrounded by an empty moat. There is a casino and one of the most crowded beaches I ever saw. The beaches here have pebbles. I didn’t see any sand or seashells anywhere.
Another observation: the cicadas never stop their incessant “singing.” You can hear them very clearly on the islands and you can see them everywhere.
We also slept out on the beach on beach chairs one night. The sky is covered with stars. The dark mountains form a silhouette against the even darker sky and you hear the sea crash against the shore.
Next stop: Chios.