Sunday, 17 October 2021

Rhodes, 2021 - Lindos Revisited

Some twenty-five minutes after waving goodbye to George in Stegna, we caught sight of the dazzling white columns of the acropolis silhouetted against the azure skies and, moments later, behind the cypress trees, the whitewashed, sugar-cube houses clinging to the hillside below, came into view. We'd reached our next destination, Lindos, which has enjoyed the most beautiful setting on Rhodes since the Dorians founded the village 4,000 years ago.

I'd visited on a day trip when I stayed in Faliraki thirty years ago and, ten years later, returned with Jon for a blissful week spent exploring the magical tangle of hidden cobbled alleyways and chilling out in the grand houses of 15th-century sea captains, converted into bars and restaurants. 


Cars are banned from Lindos so we alighted from our taxi on the outskirts of the village. We'd booked our accommodation - a traditional Lindian house, converted into apartments & set within a walled courtyard lined with potted cacti - via Booking.com and, as instructed, phoned Mary, the owner's daughter, who sent someone to guide us there. 


Lindos's alleyways are positively labyrinthine and our lack of direction is legendary! As it was approaching the end of the tourist season, only two of the six rooms in the two-storey building were occupied, our neighbours being an extremely glamorous Swiss-French couple in their late 60s, Ursula and Patrice, and despite a bit of a language barrier, were brilliant company. The first time Patrice set eyes on me he dropped his glasses, exclaimed Oh la la! Vous êtes Joan Baez! They introduced us to Rhodian orange wine and we got them into rum & cola. Santé!


Et merci beaucoup, Patrice! J'adore Joan Baez!


Lindos is the most popular destination on Rhodes and gets absolutely rammed with tourists but, if you're early risers like us, you can have the village more or less to yourselves if you do all your exploring by 10am before the legions of day-trippers and cruise-ship coach parties start arriving and the shops open. Then you can retreat to a cafe for an ice-cold frappe before escaping to the beach.

I do love a doorway!




Just behind our rooms stood the Ancient Theatre of Lindos. Dating to around 400BC, it was used as a venue for major festivals including the worship of Dionysus (the Greek god of wine and ivy, one of our favourite deities) and accommodated an audience of up to two thousand.





Talking of beaches, back in 2001, we avoided the town's tourist-packed Main Beach and chose to spend our days basking on the pebbles of St Paul's Bay, alongside the locals. There was a little jetty where the fishermen would bring in their catch under the watchful eye of the village's cats and a tumbledown shack serving ice-cold beer. How times have changed. In the twenty years since we'd last visited, the beach had been colonised by a posh restaurant who'd added terracing & imported sand and covered every inch of space with sunbeds (costing between £30 and £60 for two, depending on their proximity to the sea). 


Gone were the fisherman and the locals, these days St Paul's Bay is cram-packed with what we call "Instagram Types", cocktail-quaffing, selfie-taking wannabes living out some pop music video fantasy. What with the amplified Europop and production line of brides and grooms filing into the church on the cliffs, we could get away fast enough.



Main Beach was a far better option and a ten-minute stroll downhill from our room (although it felt a lot further on the way back). 


Jon found the captain's hat in one of Lindos's many tourist shops. I'm still amazed that I managed to find the shop selling embroidered blouses that I'd spotted twenty years previously. 


Lunch was served in a beachfront taverna set on the terrace of an elegant 1920s villa with whitewashed walls and wooden shutters. Their modern-day take on a Greek salad was superb, with Feta mousse, capers and tapenade and served with homemade pitta bread seasoned with rosemary and sea salt and we ordered it (and chilled bottles of Fix beer) every day.


When we'd stayed in Lindos before it had been mid-August and the temperature was around 40°C so we'd never had the energy to climb to the Acropolis. This time we were determined to get there and beat the hundreds of tourists so set off early and arrived just as it opened at 8am (and already 32°C), following the cobbled donkey track up to the 116m-high rock.


First walled in the 6th century BC, the clifftop is now enclosed by battlements constructed by the Knights of St John. Once within there's the Temple of Athena Lindia and a 20-columned Hellenistic stoa. 


The views are breathtaking and sharing them with just two other couples made it even better.
























Lindos by night is pretty special. After sunset, the day-trippers have departed and the cobbled streets are a lot less frantic. There are several jam-packed Brits abroad bars in the centre of the village but these are easily avoided.


Our favourite hangout (now and 20 years ago) was Socrates Bar, established by the bar manager's grandad in 1975 and frequented by many rock stars, including Pink Floyd, who owned a house in Lindos back in the Seventies.


Occupying a gorgeous 15th-century former sea captain's house, the soundtrack is exclusively rock, the bar staff friendly &  the drinks reasonably priced (Lindos can be very expensive!)


Most restaurants were of the rooftop variety, with spectacular views of the illuminated Acropolis. Dionysos was our favourite place - and, so it seemed, the rest of Lindos, too - both times we ate there we had to book in advance.


Before you ask, there were loads of cats in Lindos, pretty much all of the extremely well-fed variety. There were donkeys, too - employed to carry tourists up to the Acropolis. They appeared to be loved and well cared for but most of the guidebooks don't recommend you avail of their services.


After six nights it was time to pack up our belongings and move on. Poor Lord Jon nearly collapsed dragging our bag up to the cliff face to the bus station on the outskirts of Lindos but had to admit that the views were gorgeous once we got there.



We had one more day (and night) left on Rhodes before we flew back to Birmingham but where would we spend it?

Stay tuned for the final instalment.

46 comments:

  1. Beautiful...beautiful......beautiful!!

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  2. These pictures are lovely. So glad that you both had a lovely holiday. Can't wait to see where, you went next. Take care of yourselves

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    1. Thanks so much for teading and commenting, L! x

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  3. Fabulous, stunning, a real pick-me-up on this very grey and foggy Scottish Sunday!xxx

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    1. I'm glad the post brightened the gloom! It's been dismal here for the last couple of days. xxx

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  4. A beautiful holiday.

    Please don't be too harsh on day trippers and cruise ship passengers. For many of us who live in North America, those day trips are often our best options to see as much as possible on our limited vacation time.

    When I head to Europe with the spousal unit we usually camp in one town and do a couple of day trips. When I go with my best friend, we try and see and do as much as possible in usually ten days.

    We do behave ourselves

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    1. We've no problem with cruise ship passengers, its just the huge number of people that disembark and overwhelm the villages all at once.
      The ones we encounter in Greece are always polite and very well behaved, I've no doubt at all that you are, too!
      While ir wouldn't be my choice of travel I can totally understand why it appeals. xxx

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  5. Looks amazing. Thanks for the lovely photos

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  6. It amazing a village 4,000 years.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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    1. It's hard to get your head ariound the ages of some of the places, isn't it? xxx

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  7. God, the blue of the sea and sky is just incredible.

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  8. Wow, serious envy here. What incredible beauty and timelessness.

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  9. My auntie always went there, she loved the place that was back in the 70s. I love the sailor hat on Jon all he needs is a pipe lol.

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    1. It's still beautiful, just a shame that St Paul's Bay has been colonised by wannabes!
      I wanted Jon to wear that hat to Spoons yesterday but he wouldn't play! xxx

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  10. another fabulous post and your pics portray such a beautiful and largely unspoilt place if you know where to look (which you do!). I would certainly be happy with the food and drink there, my only issue might be what shoes to wear for all that working lol!! (probably my frumpty but comfy walking boots)

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    1. Even though that beach was ruined,the rest of Lindos was still absolutely beautiful, thank goodness!
      I kept reading the guidebooks about sensible walking shoes but I was absolutely fine in my flat leather sandals (with rubber soles) - I didn't get a single blister! xxx

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  11. for working read walking! spelling :)

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  12. Lindos looks gorgeous, no wonder it's such a tourist honey pot! Well done on beating the crowds by doing your sightseeing first thing in the morning!
    The Acropolis is magnificent and looks quite magical illuminated at night.
    What a shame that once quiet St Paul's Bay had been colonized by that posh restaurant, I'm not surprised you couldn't get away fast enough. That Greek salad with feta mousse looks mouthwateringly delicious! xxx

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    1. I was horrified by that beach and the cost of the sunbeds but so pleased that Lindos was as beautiful as I remembered it and that our favourite bar and the blouse shop were still there!
      That Greek salad was soooo good! xxx

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  13. So beautiful and I love how you share more than just tourist perspective in the posts.

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    1. Even in the most visited spot in the whole island its possible to escape the hoards! xxx

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  14. the early start to the akropolis really payed out!
    wonderful photos - the light was beautiful and having a place almost for your own is always gorgeous..... your accommodation sounds fab, especially with this nice company!
    xxxxx

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    1. We used to watch the crowds climbing up to the Acropolis from the beach, we were determined to see it without sharing with hundreds of other tourists.
      Our Swiss-French neighbours were so lovely that we've named our new car Patrice in their honour! xxx

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  15. Lindos looks such a beautiful place. I wouldn’t want to be among the pouting posing crowd either, so I’m glad we got to see and here your views on such a lovely place xxx

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    1. I was so happy that Lindoas was a lovely as we remembered. I need to risk life and limb in the shed and find out our photos from 2001 (back in the pre-digital photography days!) I can't be doing with the pouring, selfie-takers, they're more interested in getting likes than having fun! xxx

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  16. A lovely little blog. I lived in Lindos for a year in 1990. Possibly the time you first visited? I recognise your description of St Pauls bay, it was untouched, lovely. We also used to like Palace beach too. We worked and partied that year, hard work but good fun. I then spent the next 6 years living in Pefkos the sister village. It was very quiet and sleepy back then, much changed now I think. Good memories.

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    1. Hello, Julieo! How lovely to hear from you and to read that you were in Lindos when I was back in 1990. St Paul's Bay used to be paradise, didn't it? You would be horrified if you saw it now!
      We nearly got the bus to Pefkos. I'd read mixed reviews, some people go back year and after and others say it's full of Brits and a bit like Benidorm. xxx

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  17. I also loved Socrates bar.. I worked there as a 20 year old, loved it. All the cool Italians playing backgammon. Socrates was a real character and his wife Athena was lovely

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    1. That's amazing that yuu worked at Socrates! We loved that place - and the music! xxx

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  18. You have me hooked.I a determined to go to Greece next year and it was between Crete and Rhodes but I think you have me convinced.
    Look forward to the next installment and welcome back. You have been missed. X

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    1. We were on Crete last year - Chania, Rethymnon and Panormos - and absolutely loved it. I don't think you'd be disapointed with either island! xxx

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  19. Drooling - but you knew that.

    Shame St Paul's has been spoilt, but I am not surprised. That is where we went to hide from the crowds too. Still haven't emailed you about the other Captain's House, sorry, been a tad busy 🙂

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    1. We were really sad about St Paul's Bay but the rest of our time in Lindos was wonderful.
      Email me when you've got time! xxx

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  20. Fabulous! It's a shame about St. Paul's but nothing really stands still. I have to say it looks fascinating and the food looked delicious. I was surprised at the similarity between you and Joan...xxx

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    1. It was lovely to see how little Lindos had changed in 20 years. It was shocking how St Paul's Bay had been developed but at least it kept the loud, selfie-taking wannabes away from the other beach! xxx

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  21. So many fabulous photos, I've also a weakness for old doors and totally love your photo looking totally like Joan Baez. And so glad that you could avoid crowds, despite the quiet beach has been developed in such a typically disgusting way (beds everywhere!, a tourist trap!). Those massive ships look unreasonable for a tiny place like Lindos. Not my cup of tea actually.
    Love your photos in the Acropolis, so amazing!
    besos

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  22. Lindos sounds gorgeous, but the crowds during the daytime must be a nightmare. I got fed up of crowds in St. Ives, it must be worse somewhere as lovely as that! Well done for finding peace and quiet.

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  23. Lindos is magnificent. The views are amazing and the ruins simply amazing.
    The donkeys are adorable. I always loved them.

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  24. Thank you for this wonderful virtual tour of Lindos. I hate tourist crowds and it's unfortunate that St. Paul's Bay succumbed to the lure of the tourist dollars. Your accommodations look lovely, and Patrice was correct, you do look like a young Joan Baez

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Lots of love, Vix