Rhodes, Greece

Tuesday 19th June

This note is being scribed from the balcony of our hotel in Rhodes whilst I sit here on a magnificent (Mark’s favourite word) afternoon and look out over the sprawling beach with turquoise blue water below. The coastline of Turkey looms just a short distance out on the horizon and you get the feeling that you could actually swim the narrow divide. It is 5pm and we have just arrived and been greeted with similar weather to that of Athens and Santorini; hot and sunny. Our departure from Santorini went smoothly with the usual early walk along the caldera edge for Mark and I and then a swim before we set off. Mark and Tom are currently in sight below having a swim in the Mediterranean, as the water on this side of the island is called. We are just 15 min from the airport but seemingly decades from the rest of the world. Our short trip from the airport was interesting. The drive along the coast was reminiscent of home with similar geography and housing and streets lined with gum trees, bougainvilleas, hibiscus, oleanders and frangipanis! We listened to very old Kylie songs on the radio in a taxi driven by an ‘Acropolis Now’ kind of guy as Annabelle commented that she feels that Rhodes has been hit with the ’80s stick’ and, that about sums it up fairly accurately so far.

Whilst our hotel and all of its occupants have similarly been hit with the 80s stick it is in a great location. The Mediterranean Hotel is in the northern part of town, across from the beach and just around from a small harbour with a café and dining scene similar to ‘Darling Harbour’ and is only a 15 min walk into the historic ‘Old Town’, the ancient walled part of the city. The beach provides a beautiful backdrop as I sit here typing and watching the boys swim and it is a hive of activity. There are numerous rows of the brightly coloured hire chairs and umbrellas lining the beach, loads of people enjoying the sun and lots of racquet games taking place. I can now understand the pull of Brighton and Bondi for our Aussie Greeks; this place is an odd mix of home. We will head into the Old Town later for dinner.

The boys are back from their swim so, time to change and head into the Old Town for dinner; more later.

Wednesday 20th June

Dinner last night proved to be an expensive outing. A stroll along the shops lining the narrow lanes in the Old Town after dining ended up with Mark drinking Ouzo and Fanta with Janis, a nice gold dealer. A necklace, earrings and bracelet later and we were on our way home. The moral of this story is to watch out if ever a store owner offers you Ouzo; it will cost you dearly! Or, is it the Fanta?

We rose to another cloudless sky and blistering hot day…again. This always helps us to plan our day though. It means: get out early to look around, head back to the hotel for air-con, pool or beach before resting up a bit and then, head out again at around 6pm once the bite from the sun has ebbed a bit. We didn’t actually head outdoors until 10am but we took an entertaining 1 hr mini-train trip around the key sights of the city. Rodos is surrounded by 4km of well preserved ancient walls which give the town charm and character. The main thing that we noticed this morning was how happy the local people of Rodos are, that is, all except the man down on the front desk of our hotel. By and large though they are cheerful, friendly and keen for a chat, genuinely curious about you and where you come from and, eager to inform you about their various friends and relatives in Australia. This cheer translates to their driving as well; drivers actually stop at the pedestrian crossings once you have stepped out onto the road. Now, this is a first for the whole of Europe!

We strolled around town for a while following our train tour and ended up down by the harbour where we had the best baklava we have ever had. By this stage though the heat was so debilitating that we headed home to swim and rest. We will eat close to the hotel tonight as we have an early start tomorrow with an 8am ferry trip to Marmaris, Turkey. We will be ‘on the go’ a bit for the next week as we wind our way up the west coast through Ephesus, Troy and Gallipoli as we make our way towards Istanbul where we have a 5 night stay.

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