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Rhodes island in the Greek Dodecanesse May 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.

When thinking of travelling to Greece, one immediately conjures up romantic images of pristine waters, smooth pebble beaches, deck chairs by the Aegean Sea and fresh fish and calamari served at a beach taverna under the setting sun.

rhodes.jpg  Anthony Quinn Beach, Rhodes Island

This is the lifestyle of old; when things weren’t so hectic and you would often see a little ninja, the little elderly Greek lady dressed all in black, sitting on a cane chair in the street in front of her stone house crocheting a delicate tablecloth for her granddaughter’s dowry. To experience some of the great Greek traditions of the oldest Western culture, there are places that still exude the charm of yesteryear. It’s not that the city folk aren’t so hospitable, it’s just they are a little busier these days.

The outer Dodecanese islands are a series of twelve islands that flank the south-west Mediterranean coast, and are a part of Greece. The largest island is Rhodes, which in summer hosts a variety of Italian, English, Dutch and German tourists flaunting their pale white bodies in the warm Greek sun in an attempt to produce the coveted tan as a holiday trophy to take back home. However, many fail and end up like the lobster that they will be enjoying for dinner in the many waterfront tavernas.

Rhodes Island > The town of Rhodes is at the northernmost tip of the island, with plenty of old world charm and a fascinating history, being the only European medieval city built by the Knights of St John still intact. Traces of the 400-year occupation of the Ottoman Empire still exist in the construction of mosques that are now used as tourist shops selling all manner of things, from fashion jewellery to traditional food. It’s a great place to spend the evenings and your hard-earned cash if you have a penchant for shopping.

The walk along Ipiton Street on the original cobblestones transports you back four centuries ago when the knights and their horses travelled to the Grand Master’s Palace to report their news of conquest. Dating even further back to 1900BC are archaeological artefacts of Greek settlement. Exploring the city of Rhodes and further abroad, you become witness to a long, magnificent history.

The City of Lindos > Fifty-five kilometres south of Rhodes on the east coast is the city of Lindos, located on a mountain cliff top with spectacular views of the Aegean Sea. Lindos is a smaller city than that of Rhodes and many tourists choose to take the journey from Rhodes either by boat or car. While most of the younger generation on the island speak Greek and English, I discovered that many tourists taking the boat to Lindos actually thought they were travelling to the adjoining Greek islands. The boat captains tend to be a bit older and when sober are great sailors; however, a younger local is probably a better option when seeking directions and transport information.

At Lindos, I recommend taking a Lindos taxi, which in my case was a donkey named George, up to the castle. George knew his way pretty well and didn’t really put up with mingling tourists mulling over paying 10 euros for the return trip. It was well worth the experience and at least alleviated any potential seizing of muscles in my legs.

There are plenty of local eateries for lunch, including souvlaki and local seafood, and also plenty of buses and boats back to the main town of Rhodes before sunset. One of the quaint boarding houses can be rented fairly cheaply, though a day trip to Lindos will have your camera full of wonderful and happy memories.

Rhodes’s Beaches > Between Lindos and Rhodes are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including the infamous Anthony Quinn beach where the movie Guns of Navarone was filmed. The actor fell so in love with the place that he purchased it off the Government with the promise to develop it into a world-class resort. The promise was never kept and ownership was retrieved by the authorities. However the beach still keeps its namesake and its unique protected inlet remains an exclusive retreat available to the public.

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