When I lived in New Zealand, I heard that the mediterranean would soon disappear under a tide of sludge and algae. So I thought I would have to visit it quickly! But it ended up taking several years before I actually went to Greece. Fortunately, the sea was still there, and in fact was beautiful and clear (if a little salty).
Tourists come here in their national colours - the English and Danish are stripey red and white, the Germans are brown, and by rights the Scots should start off blue and white :-). Some people are being a little more sensible in their exposure to the sun, but they seem to be in a minority. I wore a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses even while I was swimming, so I came back without any burns. Ironically I later went out in London and got crisped :-)
The old town is basically a castle - it is surrounded by fortified walls, with mediaeval knights' Inns located in the middle near the keep (the Palace of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St. John), which is now a museum.
This is one of the ancient sites on Rhodes. The town has beautiful white-washed winding alleyways, which seemed to consist solely of souvenir clothes shops and blank walls.
I took a donkey almost all the way to the top - it told me to get off as we neared the end though, since it was a hot day.
The Orthodox (Greek and Russian) way is to celebrate name-days instead of birthdays, so everyone called Paul has a party on St. Paul's day. At least this makes it easy to remember when to get a card for someone! Though I wonder if that is on the Julian (orthodox religious) calendar date or on the modern, Gregorian one... (this calendar change causes confusion with the "October" revolution in Russia for example).
This tiny island has one of the most perfect circular harbours with a monastery on one side, and on the other side a sponge-fishing port where you can soak up the ambience.
The monastery has a small museum, and in the chapel you can see icons in wood and silver by Fabergé. These looked amazing - different to things I had seen in museums and art galleries before. Not quite painting and not quite sculpture, they were part bas-relief and part painted wood.
The town has many shops selling sponges of varying quality; the tour took us to a good shop that gave an interesting history of sponge diving and an explanation of what is available.
Rhodes is a very short way from mainland Turkey. You can pop over there to become a millionaire for a day (in Turkish lire that is). So I did.
There were lots of cheap clothes for sale in the Bazaar, so I bought some cotton things, which are still OK. They sell much leather, suede and nubruk there (which hardly suits the local weather!), but it would help to know what you are buying, and to be good at haggling. Some of the stallholders were so embarressed at my haggling technique that a scene from "The Life of Brian" ensued :-)
I didn't spend much, but I did end up buying a vast quantity of Turkish Delight, which I never had a hope of getting through. I think staying there would require a bit of emotional energy (although perhaps it is not quite as bad as I later found Nadi). But one day I'll have to do it - the place is so cheap and has so much culture hanging around.
I had a great time - I saw a lot of things, enjoyed lovely local food and was nice and warm without getting burned. I can definitely see why some people would spend months just cruising around the islands - from what I saw and heard they each have their own character. So one day I'll have to return to the Greek Islands at least, if not Rhodes.
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