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SMALL UPDATE.(4TH JUNE 2001)
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Rhodes is one of those nice little Greek islands. The island is also known as Rodos. I was lucky enough to be able to visit it when my husband decided to surprise me with air tickets as a birthday present.
Reading all the paperwork, I discovered that I would be flying out on July 10th 1999; the accommodation to be chosen on my arrival. I was a little worried about that, and also the fact I was going on my own. I need not have worried though. I arrived safely in Rhodes airport and made my way to find the rep, who informed me that I would be staying in Lindos in a small apartment. Yes, she did mean small... The apartment was in whitewash style like most Greek places, and inside had one room and two beds, a broken wardrobe, sink, small fridge and two electric rings. Also a toilet/bathroom (very tiny - no bath, just a shower). If you decided to use it the whole room was soaked and the water seeped into the other room under the door as well.
Open the windows and you looked out onto the floor (patio area) of the people upstairs. The hotel had no swimming pool, but could use the one up the hill at Lindos View. Lindos View Hotel is a good hotel, situated on the top of the cliff area, overlooking St. Pauls' Bay. It is clean and tidy in the rooms and not so basic as the one I was staying in. A reasonable-sized swimming pool with sunloungers around. These had to be paid for by the day and cost 1000 drachma. I spent some of the evenings there as they had good entertainment and bar/cafe. With the heat being a freak heatwave - average temperature being 110 degrees - I enjoyed the iced coffee.
Lindos village itself is quiet and relaxing - no cars
are allowed - it is mainly cobbled little streets. You get the odd motorbike for stocking the shops, but most of it is done with the donkeys. It is easy to get lost in Lindos as all the hotels look very alike, but if you use the signs saying "Market", you will get your bearings again, as it leads back to the main high street. The Greek people will always help as well as they are very friendly. The donkeys can be hired to take you up to see the Acropolis of Lindos, or for the energetic... you can walk up the numerous stairs. I think it is something like 300(!!) to the top, so wear comfortable shoes. From the top area you get some splendid views of the port of Lindos and the bay area, so do not forget the camera. There is a small charge to enter and it is usually closed on a Tuesday.
If you do not like walking then take a lazy day out in the boats. I had an unforgettable time when I did. Cruising along the shores from St. Paul's Bay, clear blue clean waters. Heading in and out of a few cave areas with the mountain goats right on the ledges, then looking over the side of the boat at the small fish near the sides. Out at sea we had two magnificent dolphins to entertain us. This is a memory I hold very dear. The beaches are clean and most are sandy, shallow waters and so inviting. We docked at one and loads of us had a very good swim from the boat. The boat was unable to pull right in to the shore side, so if you wanted to go into the village there you had to wade through the water first.
Back on shore after my trip out to sea, I decided to do some more sightseeing the following day. This time I took a coach trip. For this I firstly had to walk up to the main car park area just down from Lindos View Hotel. The coaches are quite modern and air-conditioned. Firstly we headed for wine tasting and general drinking. We were all offered ouzo, the national aperitif. This I found took my breath, I had not tried it before... Beware - it bites back!
Ouzo is made locally - it is distilled from crushed vine stems and is colourless, but if you mix it with water it goes a milky colour. Metaxa is one of the most popular brandies sold and there are various spirits which are not too badly priced.
Retsina is a white wine laced with pine essence and is usually a golden colour; it takes a little getting used to and is best served chilled. I took more of a liking to the Demestika (red and white) wines that were served nearly everywhere on the island. You also have the local beers but rarely largers. The mineral water is good and is always served with their thick coffee. It is dark, thick and like a syrup.
Still on the coach trip, we stopped off at another place - The Seven Springs. Here you can drink the waters straight from it coming out of the rocks, it is clear, clean and tastes very refreshing. Have a paddle through the tunnel and come out in a lake. We then went on to Petaloudes. This is called the Valley of Butterflies. The entrance leads past a small stream upwards towards a reservoir. Thousands of butterflies and moths are here - at the slightest noise, it is a big red haze all around you. You are however asked to go quietly. Back to the coach - we then lead on to Rhodes town.
Rhodes town is like two cities, old and new, the old side has lots of inlet areas and fortress walls. It is here that you will find the Streets of the Knights. This was once a busy thoroughfare in medieval times. In the area now you will find little hidden-away shops. Towards the harbour area you will find the sponge sellers, and more boat trips (a good one to take is the glass-bottomed boat one to the island of Symi - Spice Island as locals call it). Along the harbour area, and heading in towards the modern area now we will see a pair of deer, guarding the main entrance over the harbour. The deer are on pillars and it was thought that these might have supported the Colossus. You will also note three medieval windmills.
I stopped here again for a bite to eat near to the modern wide boulevard, here is lots of commercial-type shopping, you will find the banks, doctors, dentists and mainstream goods. You will be able to find lots of goods not always found on the other Greek islands. You can also get cameras repaired easily here. One complete street seems to be nothing but discos and they all close at 2am prompt. Other things to find are: Outdoor/indoor cinemas, casinos and lots of firms hiring cars and bikes. There are lots of bus routes, so transport is easy and quite cheap, even by taxi. Agree price first though.
The best shopping I found though was at Mandraki Harbour (Rhodes town) in the marketplace. This is set in a polygonal building on the waterfront in the south-west corner; I found lots of cheap souvenirs, and there was also fresh produce and fish.
Finally, the evening entertainment. We finished up in Faliraki, in a tavern. It was here I met with Papa Ouzo, a well-known old gentleman. During my meze meal (the meal consists of various little dishes of fish and meat meals) I was invited to dance with him Greek-style. He finished up carrying me up on his shoulders, still doing Greek dancing. I am no lightweight I might add, but the tables turned, and it was my turn to dance with him on my shoulders, with added assistance from two younger Greek men.
I had an unforgettable holiday and would recommend this island to anyone. I intend to go back as I still have not seen all the island. There is so much history to view.
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