Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Rhodes, 2021 - Reflections on a Marine Paradise (Part 2)

 Before I crack on with the travelogue I thought I'd show you my holiday buys. There's a couple of traditional, hand-embroidered Greek folklore blouses (bought from the same tiny hole-in-the-wall village shop where I'd spotted them on my last visit to Rhodes over 20 years ago!) and a bespoke turquoise beaded necklace, artisan-made for me in a dream of a gem shop we stumbled across down a cobbled alleyway in the Knight's Quarter within the Old Town.


I wore the black blouse & beads on Saturday when we dropped our day 2 PCR (Covid) tests back to the lab (mandatory when you arrive back in England after travelling abroad) and the white one the following day when we celebrated our negative test results by visiting the clearance charity shop.

My turquoise necklace, being made to order

Anyway, let's get back to Greece, shall we? Our third day in Rhodes Town started with a Sunday morning walk to the Acropolis, a 3km climb up the slopes of Monte Smith, named after the British Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, who used the hill as a vantage point to keep an eye on the Napoleonic fleet during the Turkish Wars of 1802.

Despite a fairly late night, we were determined to get there before the hoards of coach trippers arrived, setting off just after 8am.



We were keen to visit the Temple of Apollo Pythios, which dates from the 5th century BC. (The Pythia was the high priestess in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, who also served as its oracle.)


.....but when we got there, we discovered it covered in scaffolding undergoing essential repairs! Ah well, it's the perfect excuse to go back!







We had more luck with the adjacent theatre, the Odeon, once used by the Rhodes School of Rhetoric and served as a finishing school for the Roman Empire's elite. It was founded by the great Greek orator,  Apollonius Molon (also known as Molo of Rhodes)who taught Julius Caesar here in 75BC as well as Roman hero Torquatus and philosopher and statesman, Cicero.



It's ridiculously thrilling to think I could be sitting in the same spot as Julius Caesar!



We were pleased to see that that tree-lined 2nd century BC stadium was still being used by modern-day Greek athletes.






 

On the way down we stopped at the Jewish Synagogue Museum and paid our respects to the 1673 Rhodian Jews who perished during WW2.

Back in Rhodes Old Town we stopped for a frappe and chatted to a few more cats. 





Suitably refreshed and back to the exploring! Close to the Eleftheria Gate lie the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite, dating from the 3rd century BC and believed to be where the famed Marine Venus, discovered under the water by fisherman over a century ago, once stood.


Through the gate, we continued to Mandraki Harbour and walked past the famous Medieval windmills. Built in the time of the Knights of St John, they were used to grind the grains unloaded from merchant ships arriving at the harbour.


One of the old harbourside warehouses was home to a cat sanctuary and the residents seemed very content with their comfy beds, rugs, toys and plenty of food. There were collection tins and - needless to say - we donated a few euros.


 

The bronze deer mark the spot where one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes (the 108 feet high statue of Helios, the sun god) once straddled the harbour. Erected by Chares of Lindos in 280BC, the Colossus was constructed to commemorate the successful defence of Rhodes against Demetrius I of Macedonia. It collapsed after an earthquake in 226BC. The ruins remained until the Arab invasion in 653AD when the Colossus was completely destroyed and the remains sold.





After Greek salads and beer in a beachfront taverna, we passed the iconic diving tower, built during the Italian occupation in 1930.


 We were surprised at the amount of perfectly preserved, Fascist-era Art Deco architecture along the seafront, neither of us had any idea there was quite so much of it.


The Rhodes Aquarium is another example. We couldn't resist visiting and loved the imaginative way that the exterior had been kitted out like underwater caves.





Back at the apartment, we calculated that we'd walked over 10 miles, no wonder we were glowing! We washed our clothes while we showered, hung them outside in the sunshine and, after a siesta, they were dry and ready to pack away. Our first trip to Rhodes Town had come to an end.


We had a delicious dinner at the Island of Lipsos, a second-generation family restaurant, which opened in 1970 and is managed by the lovely Nikki, the original owner's daughter (the blonde lady behind Jon). We ate in the cobbled street outside but loved the stylish interior, a mini version of the Grand Master's Palace. 


It was a final rum in the garden and an early-ish night, we had a bus to catch in the morning.

Stay tuned for part three of our adventures.

44 comments:

  1. It's ridiculously thrilling to think I could be sitting in the same spot as Julius Caesar!

    and I am ridiculously thrilled that somewhere there is a photo of me sitting in exactly the same spot, about 30 years ago!

    Another absolutely gorgeous post Vix, thank you so much. When all this pandemic-nonsense has calmed down completely I think you will be wholly responsible for my having to get on a plane and revist this wonderful island (and pay a visit to your personal jeweller too). xx

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    1. Hello Jayne! I love that you sat in the same spot between Julius Caesar and me, how exciting is that?
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and hopefully have rekindled your love for Rhodes to revisit it when the madness is over. I've saved the jeweller's business card, one never knows when one may need bespoke jewels! xxx

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  2. I so enjoy the generosity and detail of your blog posts.Thank You Louise

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  3. woww, so lovely post!. I have a weakness for these embroidered blouses, and admire that your necklace was made for you (supporting local businesses!).
    It's so lovely that people have created a cat sanctuary!.
    And obviously I'm mesmerized by the monuments, the atmosphere and the history!, it's something special!. Love that the architecture is made of layers and layers of different ages, from ancient greece to fascist decó style.
    But also appealed by the food and the frappés! ;DD
    besos

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    1. Thanks so much, Monica! There were shopping opportunities galore on Rhodes and I was very restrained (ha!)
      Rhodes Town really did have something for everyone, we loved our time there so much! xxx

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  4. i could move right in that jewelry shop!
    your turquoise necklace turned out perfect - love turquoise. and your greek peasant blouses are very pretty.
    so many fabulous sights and interesting things, be it thousends of yoears old or "only" 80..... can you still go for a sea swim after visiting an aquarium? ;-D
    xxxxx

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    1. I thought that jewellers might have appealed to you, Beate! I was like a kid in a sweetshop!
      We bought swimming shoes after visiting the aquarium, I didn't fancy any of those blighters nibbling at my toes! xxx

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  5. Imagine being in a school from 75BC! Well you don't need to imagine. Your take home purchases will keep you connected. It truly seems a miraculous place.

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    1. You can't get your head round how old some of the buildings are! I love that the original builders were worshipping ancient Greek gods like Zeus and Aphrodite. xxx

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  6. You look far better than Julius Caesar ever looked, sitting there, my dear!!! :-D Gorgeous pictures & wonderful commentary as always, Vix. Thank you!! ~Andrea xoxo

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    1. Thanks so much, Andrea! I should have worn a laurel wreath and a toga for a proper comparison! xxx

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  7. How gorgeous is that black embroidered blouse, and having that turquoise necklace custom made for you makes it extra special.
    What a shame the Temple of Apollo Pythios was covered in scaffolding - I'm secretly glad this isn't only happening to us - but as you mentioned, it's all the more reason to go back.
    That theatre is magnificent, and I'm absolutely loving those Medieval windmills.
    I'd seen that diving tower somewhere recently, what a quirky structure that is. The Rhodes Aquarium looks well worth a visit, and what a magnificent example of Fascist-era Art Deco! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Ann! There were a group of French ladies in the shop watching me trying that black blouse on, they gave me the thumbs up and told me it was "tres jolie"!
      I had to laugh when we saw that scaffolding, the same thing happened when we visited The gateway of India in Mumbai, I'd wanted to see it for years and could have cried. It is a great reason to go back though and hopefully, it won't be too long before we can.
      That diving tower is amazing to look at- I can swim but I'd never have the nerve to use it! xxx

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  8. Fabulous cat photos. One of them in particular made me laugh, the one with the cat resting under restaurant sign. 🐈

    You visited so many fantastic historical places. The midi skirt you wore is very pretty. Thanks for sharing .

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    1. That cat made me laugh out loud, we saw him every day and each time he was doing something equally ridiculous. Who says cats are elegant?
      Rhodes Town really is fabulous, something for everyone! xxx

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    2. Natalia - that cat is hilarious, isn't he? I think I might have to do some Photoshopping and make him into a greetings card! xxx

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  9. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying your travelogue. It’s so good to see you both out and about again. My friend is over there now. Don’t think she will be exploring as much as you two though.
    Fancy that shop still being there after all these years.
    Looking forward to part 3 xxx

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    1. Thanks so much, Lynn!
      I hope your friend has a brilliant time. What with earthquakes and flodding I'm glad we didn't leave our strip any later!
      The owner of the shop's son showed me some photos of his mum working there in 1958, it's barely changed! xxx

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  10. I love art deco buildings so would be very happy in Rhodes along the beach, cats tick, jewellery hand made for me tick, tavernas with salads tick, interesting ruins tick, rum tick, travelling on local buses tick .... can't wait for the next installment!

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    1. You would be very happy in Rhodes, Betty. Maybe you could squeeze a long weekend in for next Spring? xxx

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  11. Look like jon and you had blast. Lot of history there.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  12. Can you imagine the actual Colossus straddling the harbour? That must have been an intimidating sight! Wonderful pictures, love all the cats. What a treasure your turquoise necklace is, Vix! Thank you so much for the amazing gift of taking us along with you!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! The Colossus must have been incredible, there is talk of it being rebuilt by engineering students. I'd love to see it if you manage it.
      Have a fab weekend. xxx

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  13. Wow such a magical place, full of history. I don’t fancy those diving boards though I’m too much of a coward to go near one. I would love a bespoke necklace made, I have a kimono but not a bead necklace something you can wear all the time and remember your holiday.
    All that food was making my mouth water. Glad your PCR tests were negative. And I love the aquarium Paul has a thing about aquariums, keep safe love and hugs allie,,

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    1. I'm with you on the diving boards - I love swimming but they made my legs wobble!
      I bet your kimono is gorgeous. That gem shop was like a sweet shop for grown-ups, hundreds of different semi-precious stones, I wanted everything!
      That aquarium was fun, I tried to get a photo of a stingray but the naughty things wouldn't stay still for long enough!
      I'm happy the PCRs came back negative - mind you, the only time we were close to anyone was on the plane and Ryanair were really strict with masks, constantly patrolling the aisles and telling people off if they weren't wearing them properly. xxx

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  14. You have visited some interesting places. The medieval windmills are so cool. Your black blouse is so beautiful! Love the embroidery details!
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  15. Glorious travelogue as always, Vix.
    I bet you've got your next trip planned already!

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    1. Thanks, Elaine! You know me! I've not booked anything yet but I have an itinery and a plan! xxx

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  16. I'm dying of laughter looking at those cats. They look like granddads falling asleep after a big Christmas dinner.
    How cool getting a necklace made to order, and of course the blouse is lovely.
    Glad your tests were negative.

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    1. That made me laugh out loud, I might have to Photoshop those cats and make my own Xmas cards. Another of my friends said that all the white cat needed was a knotted hankie on his head and he could be a typical Brit abroad (a striking similarity to our illustrious leader currently on holiday in Spain!)
      I was so happy that the blouse shop was still there and that gem shop would have blown your mind! xxx

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  17. Oooh, I do like your purchases! The blouses and necklace are superb!
    The cats are so cute! I remember all the cats when we visited Hydra in Greece. Your food Looks, again, delicious. I'm not hungry anymore as I mistakenly all the way to London for a rehearsal that wasn't happening and got some chips and a sausage to eat. The chips were overcooked and cold by the time I ate them and I've wasted 2.5hours of my day traipsing up here esp as I just missed a half hourly train. Sigh....

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! I was really happy to find that blouse shop after all those years! It's been selling traditional textiles to tourists since 1958!
      Your chip shop tea sounds most unsatisfactory, we need more Greek takeaways in the UK! xxx

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  18. Oh the famous cats of Rhodes! Lovely trip and stories in pictures and words! It's amazing how so many different periods of history live in this town so seamlessly that the local folks don't even think about them.

    I love the way you incorporate all different folk clothes and jewelry in your unique style. The embroidered blouses and turquoise necklace are great additions!

    Much love!

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    1. Thanks, Natalia! Us Brits can be a bit blase about our historical buildings but it always amazes me when I walk down a street in Greece and see Corinthian columns and ancient ruins just lying there without even a sign.
      I get so excited to find old fashioned shops still selling traditional folk wear, that blouse shop had been in business selling Greek textiles to tourists since 1958! xxx

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  19. I just love those medieval windmills. They reminded so much of where we stayed in Bugaria.

    The sights are wonderful in Rhodes; all the way from antiquity to Art Deco. Something for everyone!

    The cats and their poses made me laugh - one was was very rude indeed! You and Jon looked lovely in holiday gear. Your two blouses were beautiful; fancy the shop still being there after all this time. The turquoise necklace was beyond fabulous!

    Where are you off to next, I wonder?
    xxx

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    1. Oh, I didn't know about Bulgaria's wooden windmills. I've just Googled them, they're gorgeous!
      That's the beauty of Rhodes Town, there really is something for everyone. I dismissed it the first time I went as I just assumed it was a clubbing destination full of drunk Brits! Silly me.
      That cat was the silliest thing ever, we passed it at least twice a day and I'm sure it delibertaly did silly things just to get attention!
      I have a plan for our next trip! xxx

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  20. Well Vix, I just sense you picked the precise point where young Julius Ceasar would have sat in that Odeon! 3/4 way up, close to the stairs for quick escape or attack, aware of the back rows but surveying the land ahead of him. Flashback: I remember having to read Cicero during my A level Ancient History studies, and write an essay on whether or not he was 'a reliable source' :0

    The cat that looks like it got the kebab by the food stand made me laugh :) You look beautiful in those lovely folklore tops. I still treasure a hand stitched patchwork quilt, that I bought from an old lady 20 years ago in a Zakynthos mountain village.

    Coming back for part three after morning croissants.... Lulu xXx

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  21. I'm absolutely loving your holiday posts it looks stunning and who knew there would be so much Art Deco I'd be in heaven.

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  22. Cats! If I were taping your adventures for a travel vlog, I'd be certain the B-roll was filled with cats for cutaways. Seems like they were everywhere -- and many engaged in laundering their undies.

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  23. The necklace is lovely - I would have had to buy one of those fabulous rings on the counter of his shop. The rather rotund white cat looks like he consumed too much seafood at the restaurant. The ones living at that sanctuary look like they are well cared for.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix