A Change of culture
03.06.2012 28 °C
As some of you may know, we were hoping to get to a Greek Island or two while we were here in Turkey. The island of Rhodes, was recommended and it was fairly close to the Turkish coastline. So after 4 very quiet days in Selimiye, we struck out early one morning in our car to get the hydrofoil over to Rhodes. We had arranged to leave our car close to the port. We dropped off our baggage, bought our tickets, boarded the hydrofoil and were in Rhodes in just over 1 hour. It was a bit of a shock to be faced with the hustle and bustle of a tourist town after being in Selimiye, but Rhodes city and the island of Rhodes had a lot of treasures for us to discover.
The old town of Rhodes is a Unesco World Heritage site. The old walled city as it is referred to is an area of about 8 square kilometers completely encircled by a stone wall and buildings from 1300's. This is where we stayed and hung out when we were not touring the island by car. It has a feel as if you are living in a medieval city. There is history at every turn as you wander along the cobble stone streets and narrow alley ways. Of course the main drag is full of tourist shops, kind of like walking down Government street in Victoria at the height of tourist season. But once you are off the main drag, charm abounds.
One of the churches that Brad and I stumbled upon dated back to the 13th century. It was very small but every inch was decorated in frescos and other pieces of art.
Our pension was lovely - called Attik, in a great setting in the medieval old town. It is owned and run by a young Italian couple (Mara and Francesco). Each room was individually decorated and named after a famous author. It was so cute, with multiple gardens and roof top terraces. It was a real find.
As Sue and Wayne only had 2 days here, we decided to go our separate ways to do some exploring. Brad and I rented a car, while Sue and Wayne explored Rhodes on foot in more depth. We headed down the western side of the island first and into the mountains. Great scenery along the way. Stopped at the small town of Siana - explored the back lane ways. Our end point was Monolithos where we explored a crusader fortress. There were no guard rails to be found with a straight drop down the cliff if you looked too far over the edge. Stopped at a road side stand where I was given samples of home made liquors - honey, rose, lavender, sage - OMG that stuff was strong. Saying "No" was not an option. Didn't want to be rude afterall!! Needless to say, Brad was driving from that point on!
The next day Sue and Wayne hit the road early to make their way onto Selchuk. Brad and I hopped in the car and explored the east side of the island - destination, Lindos, a village more than 800 years old with an acropolis where worshipping of the various gods goes back to 400 BC. Finally we found our postcard Greek town - white washed building stacked one on top of the other surrounded by turquoise waters and crowned with an acropolis.
We got off the main drag and headed for the winding back streets - so peaceful, then wandered around for quite some time soaking in the sites. It started to heat up and as it was lunch time,found ourselves a rooftop terrace and had an ice cold Alpha beer and a wonderful meal. There were amazing views looking over this postcard pretty town with breathtaking bays at either end. Oh, we were also lucky enough to find a souvenir for Shelby by the name of Spiros, a Greek hottie! They even have something in common; they have both worked in London, they both have tattoos and they are both in their twenties. I think he is her type - I'll let you be the judge!
After lunch it was time to climb to the top of the acropolis. Again, no guard rails anywhere - I avoided the edges as much as possible. They are still excavating and repairing this site. It is quite something to experience and walk through. Like many of the historical sites we have visited, it has gone through many phases and stages of occupation starting from 2400 years ago. It was partially destroyed by invaders and enhanced and changed by various conquering peoples.
By chance Brad and I happened to wander into an art shop - we discovered that the artist had lived in Ontario for many years. He left Greece in 1969 and came back in the 90's. Both of his daughers have been accepted to Waterloo University and they will be going there next year. It was fun to visit with them and talk with his daughter (whose English was very good I might add). This world just keeps on getting smaller and smaller.
So after buying some art, it was time for a swim in the most incredible lagoon. Brad went snorkling and saw many fish. It was so refreshing and beautiful at the same time.
Home in time for dinner. Had the best calamari I have ever eaten along with some cuttlefish risotto -coloured blue from the ink of the cuttle fish- along with some grilled smoked mackerel and a lovely salad. It's so fun to have such a selection of starters. Such a great way to experience the Greek cuisine with a variety of foods and flavours all in one meal.
Over the last 3 days we had the opportunity to meet some wonderful Greek people. Some we had long converstions with and heard their personal stories and learned about their country and culture. This brief excursion to Rhodes gave us an overview of the scenery, the people a taste of their cuisine and walk back into their incredible history. It also gave us a yearning to explore another Greek island in the future.
Heather & Brad