TUESDAY OCTOBER 6 – Rhodes, Greece
The supposed “highlight” of this port was the ruins of Lindos. We elected to just “wander” the City of Old Rhodes. This was one of the best decisions we made. NO cost, just 300 yards from the cruise ship to the walls of the old city. A short walk along the bay, and in we went to this still functioning medieval city.
It was an UNBELIEVEABLE experience. Narrow, crooked streets. Scooters EVERYWHERE!!! At one point we saw a woman with her family turn and head down what to us was obviously a 8′ to 10′ sidewalk. I was so surprised I videoed it! Watch for the video about our day to post next week on our YouTube Channel! Meanwhile enjoy a pictorial here!
We must have entered at a main gate – as we did happen upon many gates to the old city throughout the day – but the main gate had a MAP! I paused for a second and took a picture of it in case we needed it 🙂 a trick I am learning, to use my camera as a record keeping tool. Then we set off on foot to explore the cobblestone town!
The first open and interesting looking place on the map was the Agios Panteleinon – a tiny Greek Orthodox Church – we always go in – just because we can! The murals are AMAZING works of art, always embellished with metallic gold intended to convey stories to people who could not read. As well there is always a series of paintings of Saints called the icons. The icon figures have a distinct look – and each is usually holding a symbolic item that helps to identify them, although their faces are not always recognizable…. mysterious in some sort of way.
After poking around here a bit we headed to the right up the cobblestone street – we were kind of thinking about where we could find wifi, to check email and say hi to our kids….. and Rob had to go potty… There wasn’t much going on on this street so he was hurrying me along when I stumbled on what looked like an artist’s studio! It seemed to be open – so I was going in! Rob followed – and much to his surprise and delight we had just wandered into an “icon shop” where a young artist was painting Greek Orthodox Icons for churches!
Inside was a rather young man working on a GORGEOUS painting. He invited us past the store and into the studio. He explained the process for the content, as well as creating the art form. He had learned the trade from his father who now lives in the country on a small piece of land. The work he produced was the same quality and methods as 1500+ years ago. We agonized over a purchase and decided to just move on….. see more at his website, www.sirimis.com
While attempting to follow a marked route of significant places we stumbled on a small, local, café, Nimmos Traditional Restaurant, where we shared wine and Greek Salad, along with checking our emails and using the potty. This wine at breakfast time thing is something I could get used to…. There were other people sitting around talking. The cross road of the café was at a minor gate into the city. We watched the people come and go – mostly locals. We even set the phone up and ran a periscope video while we ate. To learn more about the restaurant read Rob’s Review on Trip Advisor
Next we headed towards the “main attraction” the castle. Mind you – we were across town from it, so had to make our way there.
We took our time getting to the castle exploring everything we found to be interesting – – and when you’re an Architect – – omg…. We noticed an arched opening with a stair in what appeared to be the city wall, so in we went!
From Old Rhodes street level we had gone down to access the moat, returning to street level we discovered another city gate! Since we were opposite the entrance we came through we decided to take a look by passing through the gate to see what was out there! I shot video as we walked across the bridge over the moat – check out our YouTube Channel next week or subscribe to be notified of the new post!
After looking around we returned to Old Rhodes through the gate, still looking for the Castle… We opted to head into the center instead of following the wall at the perimeter – not sure we weren’t lost but good for a while…. One path at a time –
We decided while sitting that we really needed to get to the castle to make sure not to miss it – but we really didn’t know where we were, so a serious effort was called for. We are usually really relaxed about our day, we don’t care what order we do things in or really what time it is…. we really take advantage of our freedom. So we were off again…. I think we found a sign that pointed us in the right direction and soon we had arrived.
The Palace of the Grandmaster is a magnificent, in place museum where you can experience thousands of years of history, from the Byzantine Era to today. Upon inquiry at the ticket booth we learned that you could also purchase a ticket here to walk the top of the city wall and that it closed in 20 mins, so about as soon as we had arrived we left again for a quick look from atop the City Wall. We had seen people there through out the Day, wondering where the access point was. What we did not understand was this required us to walk HALF way around the city, atop the wall, almost back to where we had started the day – AND then walk BACK to the castle. A long walk but worth it. We could have planned better – IF we planned….
On our way back thru the town we stumbled on a TALL clock tower. You can pay 5 euros and climb to the top – PLUS you get a free drink. Sounds great – after the wall we were hot and thirsty! The castle was open for plenty more time so we took the opportunity to climb up up and up. You could NEVER do this in the USA, as they would say too dangerous. We used the original stairs that had been used to maintain the clock and bells. After the climb we had our free dink, and used their WIFI to say Hi to our girls!
The Palace of the Grand Master was just around the corner from the Clock Tower now. We entered the ground floor of the castle and then ascended up a Very large stair case, absent ANY hand rails to the second floor. This is the kind of thing we always notice because we know that building code requires them in the United States, and the inclusion of hand rails in all public places drastically changes the appearance. And then in places where we don’t want to ruin the appearance with the addition of hand rails we prohibit use of ! When we travel we ALWAYS appreciate that that other places in the world have different rules than we do. It teaches us that there is more than one way, more than just our way, and that we are not always RIGHT. The requirement for hand rails & guard rails in the United States is for safety – as though we can not make our own choice weather to risk being safe or not at any given place or time.
The second floor is almost ALL party rooms. They call them reception rooms. Just VERY VERY large rooms for large groups of people. Man they must have done some partying here!! A minor distraction was the placement of El Greco Artwork in each room. It was part of an exhibition placed by the 4th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities as part of the celebration of the 2,400th anniversary of the foundation of the City of Rhodes. It really added NOTHING but was the current attraction at the museum. I guess people need something more to look at than the ARCHITECTURE!! Because of this our pics are a bit cluttered… but we forgive them. We were grateful for the experience with or without the exhibition! The photos below are placed in order working our way in a clockwise direction from the main entry.
We loved that they were using the Palace for a wedding – but you could invite all of Rhodes to the party and the place still wouldn’t be full! Wouldn’t it be beautiful if wedding were public! After all the more people to celebrate and witness the love of two people the stronger the love would become….. Can you imagine the energy in a Palace full of people celebrating LOVE?
We left the castle via the Avenue of the Knights. This is a cobblestone road with some rather spectacular buildings that leads to the Palace. When looking at the photos don’t forget to imagine a knight (a royal, noble and chivalric rank above an Esquire and a Gentleman and beneath a baron) arriving on horseback. Loose yourself in your imagination – maybe he is YOUR knight…. It looks the same as it did in the 15th/16th century. You can almost hear the horses, tune in to your own imagination and maybe you can……
We then wandered the shops as we worked our way back to the main gate, and our home ship the Azamara Journey. We didn’t buy much… but we did learn how to get the best deal from a lady shop keeper. She had a shop full of linen clothing, notably expensive. We were admiring a couple of pieces and talking about the Greek economy. The lady knew we wanted the shirt we were admiring and so she asked us if we had cash… The EU collects a large Value added tax on all consumable goods sold – that being 27% in addition to any sales tax collected by Greece. By collecting cash she avoids the additional markup on her goods and makes a sale when we were unsure if we wanted to buy the shirt or not…. so we learned to always ask for a Cash discount.
Here are a few photos that will be un-captioned – details of the castle – we always encourage independent tourism where you can take your time – time to stop and look – time to appreciate the things you would otherwise be forced to hurry by…. Travel Like an Architect™
Old Rhodes we shall see you again some day! Who wants to come along next time??? Stay in touch, subscribe, follow us on Facebook – if you enjoy our posts we would LOVE to meet you one day!
Rob and Lynn Belles are seasoned travelers and Cruises Inc. Travel Agents
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