All went well for arrival on the ferry which is a huge thing carrying trucks and cargo as well as passengers between the islands and Athens.
The Marine Gate
We took a cab to the Marine Gate and then trolled the luggage to the Camelot Hotel nearby, where we had stayed before. Nina greeted us with cries of delight “Oh Mr Nick, Oh Mrs Lynn” and hugs all round and put us back in the room we had before. She now has all of five rooms and her little hotel is complete, faithfully built according to the rules of the Ministry of Culture which oversees all building on the bombed out sites in the town.
Nina and her courtyard at the Camelot Hotel
The cruise ships call regularly at Rhodes, there were three in at one stage, so the town gets over-run with tourists until about 4pm, after which they return to the ships and the area is much quieter. So many tourist shops. I do wonder how all the jewellery shops make a living as they never seem to have customers, and all the cafes and restaurants have touts outside to entice you in.
The streets of Rhodes are an interesting mix, from the very populated streets full of cafes and shops, to the older parts with mosques and market quarters and then many, many streets of walls and facades that hide empty houses and ruined lots. Not only was the town bombed heavily in WWII but most of the Jewish residents were taken away and killed and so their property seems to still be abandoned. Rhodes is in fact one of only two Greek islands to have a registry of property.
Doorway and wall of a ruin
On the ramparts
Abandoned house and archway
As is our preference, we spent time looking at the historical side, especially the Archaeological Museum which is housed in the old hospital of the Knights of St John. A very beautiful old space and a multitude of side rooms which house some stunning exhibits, carefully arranged by time periods and with excellent information accompanying them.
Nina recommended some nice restaurants so I tasted some exotic things such as sea urchin roe (salty and delicious) and a yoghurt and honey confection that was somehow set and cut into a wedge like a cheesecake. It was served as a present, wrapped in pink cardboard and tied with a silver ribbon. Very nice!
Through Nina we got a much cheaper car hire to drive to Lindos. Our accommodation needed to be changed by a day as there was a general strike in Greece on the day we were due to fly to Athens. We ended up staying only two nights instead of three, so plans to visit somewhere else on the island sort of died. As did plans to climb the acropolis at Lindos, which turned out to be closed Mondays. I am glad we found that out before climbing all the way as there were many, many steps.
Our accommodation at Xenones apartments was lovely, with its own terrace and view to the acropolis, the owner Andy just delightful. He waived the charge for the third night despite it being a non-refundable rate and was at pains to reassure customers who were held up in flights that he would be open and ready for them when they arrived. Beautiful breakfasts on our terrace too, even an early one on the day we left.
However, Lindos is STEEP and that was a little unexpected for us. We parked the car nearby but got a bit lost, luckily not carrying the luggage. Even so, it was difficult to get the luggage too and from the hotel for us. There is no doubt we are slowing down I’m afraid. But we took things slowly and managed to explore quite a bit of the town and to have some meals on delightful rooftop terrace cafes. We didn’t hang around for the nightlife though, apparently a big hit with the many British visitors. The pubs play the football and there are lots of cheap packages available for flights and accommodation which makes it enticing.
The Byzantine church of Panagia was an amazing find, entirely covered with frescoes inside rather like the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. It told the story of Jesus’ life and death and, like may churches in Italy, had a terrifying Last Judgement on the back wall to remind you of the wages of sin as you left the church. The frescoes are old, 1779 and have been painstakingly retouched. They are truly stunning. (No photos allowed, sob!) A tiny museum next door held some of the treasures of the church.
Off early the next morning for the flight to Athens. Pulling the luggage up the last incline to the car park was a bit of a trial. The little three wheel vehicles they use should offer a luggage service to the hotels. The package tours were rolling into the airport as we were leaving, maybe 12 planes on the ground from Britain, Germany and Ireland (Ryanair) and several airlines we could not recognise.
Next stop: Athens (and a return to a previous hotel, the Herodian, which Cam will recognise).