I flew from Crete to Rhodes on Tuesday. Once having arrived, I had to wait an hour for a bus to go into town. It finally came and I rode to the end of the line, which was only about three blocks from Old Town, where I wanted to find a room. Once inside of Old Town, and it looked beautiful from what I could see in the dark—all stone and arches, I asked a few people for directions to a hotel. A waiter in a restaurant walked me about a half-block to the Hotel Attiki, where I got settled in.
The included breakfast the next morning was delightful although it couldn’t be served in the garden as it was raining a little. In between rain showers, I explored Old Town a bit. At the harbor there was a big cruiser as well as a fisherman selling his wares.
I spent most of the day in the Archeological Museum. Wow! What a museum. The star of the show was the enormous building of the Knights Hospitaller, a group formed in 1080 to care for the sick on the crusades.
Some of the Mycene pottery was from 1400 BCE! Rhodes has been continually occupied for 24 centuries so there was/is lots of stuff to dig up. Many of these pieces came from cemeteries as grave goods. A recreated one was in the museum. A lovely pitcher of a woman’s head was marked as being ‘made by Midas.’
Pride of place, though, went to a beautiful marble 1st C. BCE statue that was found in a seabed, where it had been additionally sculpted by the water. It is thought that this is Aphrodite, a cult statue missing from a nearby Temple of Aphrodite. How did it get in the sea?
I ate my lunch/dinner at the restaurant from which the young man had found me a hotel the night before. I sat outside under an awning, but it did rain pretty hard throughout my meal.
The rain was gone the next day and I walked to the harbor to see the supposed site (does anybody really know where it was?) of the Colossus of Rhodes. This huge statue (107 feet tall) was built in 292 BCE to celebrate a victory over the ruler of Cyprus. It was destroyed in an earthquake about 70 years later—what bad luck! Now I have seen six of the seven sites of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The one remaining is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which is now somewhere in Iraq, although no archeological evidence exists. There were huge cruise ships in the harbor as well as many small boats, which, in combination with the old walls, made a rather incongruous sight.
The Avenue of the Knights was built in medieval times (early 1500s), which included one beautiful inn from each of seven ‘tongues’ (different languages of the knights); today the inns are occupied by various offices. A bank across the street occupies a medieval building but there was a sign on it today declaring it closed because of a strike!
The Grand Master, in charge of all of the knights regardless of their country of origin, lived in the Palace of the Grand Masters. This huge building had been blown up in the mid-1800s but was rebuilt to original plans by the Italians who occupied Rhodes until 1937.
Even my little hotel, the Hotel Attiki, is an old, charming building, whose proprietors are from Italy. What a delightful place to stay!
I got a bus to go to Lindos, a beautiful town about an hour south of Rhodes Town. The first half hour was mainly huge hotels, water parks and swimming pools—gee, I think I got here 30 years too late! Then it finally turned ‘rural’ and was really beautiful. Lindos, while established in about 2000 BCE, was a star city from the 4th C. BCE. After Rhodes Town became more powerful, Lindos declined, but remained a religious center. St. Paul was here, too, but there are no books in the Bible entitled ‘1st and 2nd Lindosians.’ Still, I did see some old stones which were supposed to be the ‘Town Hall’ where Paul
Lindos has a huge Acropolis which one can ascend, which offered gorgeous views. The buildings up there started with the Doric settlements, followed by the usual suspects—the Byzantines, the Knights and the Turks.
There were remnants of the Temple to Athena, a Hellanistic Stoa (think Mall of America), and a 9th C. Church of Agios Ioannis. Climbing up there was kind of hard going, but walking seemed better than riding a donkey, the other choice, which weren’t supposed to be used for anyone weighing more than 112 pounds (!) (Rarely enforced, said the brochure) I made it by walking along with busloads of other tourists and it really did seem worth it. On coming down, I stopped in a 17th C. ‘Captain’s House’ for a cappuccino to revive me. These houses were the result of sea captains gaining wealth and spending it on lavish houses in Lindos.
The next day, after Mara brought me my breakfast in the garden, was kind of frustrating because I couldn’t find the art museum that I was looking for, but saw lots of other interesting things. The big Marina Gate was certainly eye-catching as I walked along the port. I see they had medieval dry docks here, too. The whole port was quite extensive and made a nice walk, with my partner—a seagull. A 14th C. church, Ibrahim Pasha’s Mosque and other gates in the walls all provided interest and beautiful views.
Sunday was “No Day” celebrating when the Greeks said ‘no’ to the Italians, beating them back when they tried to invade Greece in 1940. Later, of course, Germany invaded and the Greeks suffered badly.
There were parades with lots of schoolchildren and the military. I waited for a bus to the Aquarium for quite a while but none came, so I walked to the Aquarium, which was at the northern tip of the city. It had a pleasant display and the walk along the harbor was lovely.
Again, I waited for a bus but gave up and walked back. I think the buses may have been rerouted because of the parade.
Sunday evening I flew from Rhodes to Athens, then took the metro from the airport over 16 stops and one train change to my hostel, the Athens Backpacker. It was in a really good location as I didn’t have to walk more than about one block (or less) from the metro stop in the dark, and it was easy to find. Actually I noticed that there was a full moon so it wasn’t really DARK!
In the morning I took the metro to the airport, got my three flights and now I’m HOME! It was a great trip, but it’s fun to be home, too.