A tale or two : Rhodes

All aboard for the islands!

All aboard for the islands!

Now that the small person had been initiated into Greek Island life, and been found to approve, there was no stopping us!  Six months later it was Rhodes for a Spring holiday.  Another group of islands to call home for 2 weeks, this time far south in the Eastern Aegean, just off the coast of Turkey.  The connection with the Knights Templar has always fascinated me.

I had chosen Pefkos as a base.  The notion of it being a summer home for workers who farmed grapes, olives, tomatoes and figs on the coast, and didn’t return inland to their homes in the heat of summer, I found very appealing.  It promised peaceful days but a close proximity to beautiful Lindos.

Lindos castle

Lindos castle

Donkeys!  No thank you- we'll struggle up under our own steam.

Donkeys! No thank you- we’ll struggle up under our own steam.

As far back as the 8th century Lindos had been a major trading centre and in classical times it was dominated by an Acropolis and temple of Athena.  Practicality interceded in the 14th century when the Knights of St. John built the mighty fortess over part of the temple ruins to defend the island against the Ottomans.

It was, of course, a long hot slog up there!  Always upwards for the view.  But afterwards it was very pleasant exploring the streets and quiet corners.  A cafe was essential and wouldn’t you know it- two year old James proved to be a dab hand at backgammon!  Me, I was clueless, but endeavoured to learn.

A charming corner of Lindos

A charming corner of Lindos

I'm over here Mum!

I’m over here Mum!

This is how you do it!

This is how you do it!  I don’t think it’s an illegal move?

Ok smarty pants- back to the streets.

Ok smarty pants- back to the streets.

Down to the beach for a hint of breeze

Down to the beach for a hint of breeze

It was, as you can probably see, pretty hot.  I even sat in the shade down by the beach!  A lesson had been learnt from the previous holiday in Zante and we indulged in a taxi back to Pefkos, where James favourite occupation was watering the garden of our apartments. (endlessly!)  You remember he had a fascination with hosepipes?  Taps, too!

I imagine it will be more of a resort now, but back then, Pefkos had all we needed.  Many hours were spent at the beach, drawing sand pictures and tunneling away.  The restaurants were wonderfully laid back and a “spaghetti cat” adopted us.  He seemed to survive happily on James’ leftover spag bol.

As on Zante, we did the island tour as a painless way of seeing things with a toddler in tow.  Rhodes town we did on the bus.  I only had to see that harbour to set me off scheming again!

Mandraki harbour, Rhodes

Mandraki harbour, Rhodes

The mighty castle of the Knights of St. John in the background

The mighty castle of the Knights of St. John in the background

The medieval old town is a World Heritage Site and from 1309 was occupied by the Knights Templar.   I tried to imagine Mandraki Harbour when it was home to the Colossus of Rhodes but the bustle of yachts and artist’s easels defeated me.   I’m going to share a wonderfully evocative photo from Wikipedia because by evening time we were long gone.

The harbour as I would have loved to see it- cortesy of Wikipedia

The harbour as I would have loved to see it- courtesy of Wikipedia

Woodcut of Rhodes  from the Nuremburg Chronicles 1493- also Wikipedia

And a woodcut of Rhodes from the Nuremburg Chronicles 1493- equally captivating to me, also from Wikipedia

I had really hoped that a trip across to Kos might have been on the cards, but for once Michael refused to even discuss it.  My consolation prize was the tiny jewel, Symi, famous for its sponges, spices and shipbuilding.  Symi is 41km northwest of Rhodes and nearer to Turkey’s Datca peninsula.  Our honeymoon had included a gulet trip from Bodrum in these very same waters.

The ferry landing on Symi

The ferry landing on Symi

The pastel harbour of Symi

Symi’s pastel pretty harbour

The ferry docked first at Panormitis for a visit to St Michael’s monastery, and then into Symi town.  A wind had sprung up, driving the clouds before it, and I was glad of the jumper packed as an afterthought.  The town climbed up, and up, to Ano Symi, and for once I refrained from hauling us all up there.  It was enough to dodge the wind and retreat to a cosy cafe, where James tried to tempt the local cats with spaghetti.  They didn’t seem to have the same taste buds as their Rhodes compatriots.

Ah, well!  Another island adventure over.

56 comments

  1. Each time I visit the Bodrum Peninsula, I’ve thought about taking the ferry to Rhodes, it’s only a couple of hours away, but it looks like a day trip wouldn’t do it justice. Or do you think it’d be worth going for a day, just for a taster?

    1. I’d go, but then I’m in heaven if you put me on a ferry 🙂 If you only get to see Rhodes town it’s worth it. Don’t know how long the ferry journey takes but sailing those waters is paradise. (I only ever did it in a gulet, so my judgement is tarnished)

    1. Gorgeous, isn’t it? Wikipedia can be very useful for filling in gaps if you weren’t there at the right time, or whatever.
      Always nice to make a new friend. 🙂

      1. Yeah, I do wikipedia a lot too. Happens all too often when I snap a pic of something not knowing what it is, or forgetting, then spending I don’t know how long trying to name it and place it 😀

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