Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Breakfast in Rhodes

Greek Trip, Day 15, Saturday 2 October 2010, Rhodes

P1110129 Continuing the story from Paros & the ferry, we landed at Rhodes about 8am and dragged our bags through the already hot sun to wait for the hotel car. The photo will give you a feel for the size of the boat.

Located in the Dodecanes Islands 363 km (226 mi) east-south-east from the Greece mainland and only 18 km (11 mi) from the southern shore of Turkey, Rhodes (Rodos) is quite a large island: shaped like a spearhead, it is 79.7 km (49.5 mi) long, 38 km (24 mi) wide, with a total area of approximately 1,400 square kilometres (541 sq mi) and a coastline of approximately 220 km (137 mi). As we shall see, the Island's location and size is critical to it's history.

The city of Rhodes itself is located at the northern tip of the island. Having deposited our bags in the hotel car, we walked along the waterfront towards the town, entering another part of the complex mosaic that is Greek history, the world of the crusades.P1110139

I had read the guidebooks and knew a little of what to expect, However, I had no visual image, nor did the walk towards the town itself give me a real feel. There were signs of old buildings in the distance, but the road we were walking on was quite nondescript - a sort of Greek port modern!  The road curved round, straightened and we found a wall with an unsigned gate in it.  We walked through, and found ourselves in the old city.

At this stage we had a bit of a problem. We literally had no idea where we were, no idea of how to get to our hotel, no idea of what to expect. We were just at some point in an obviously old place!

What to do?  A few cafes were opening, so the group decided to sit down and have some breakfast and work out what to do.  

That was a strange meal. Billed as an English breakfast. it was a GP1110144reek tourist idea of same, a strange amalgam of different styles. Please note the glass shoe. Later I was to have a rather bad experience with same.  

Conscious of my budget, I declined breakfast on the grounds that I needed to stretch my legs and went for a quick walk.

I find in a new place where I have no sense of geography that I need to orient myself. Here I had only a rough idea of where north was, nor could I see many obvious landmarks.

The first thing I did was to walk back to where we had entered the old city so that I had that point firmly fixed in my mind. Then back to the face to stroll in the opposite direction. Here I stopped at a square, marked that in my mind and then strolled around that point.

One of the first things I noticed was a sign to the Jewish Quarter. Now that's quite unusual in terms of what I had seen elsewhere. So that was something I needed to follow up on.

The second thing I noticed was the completely different feel of the place after the other Greek Islands I had visited. The architecture was more massive, the smooth street stones had been replaced by rough cobble stones.

Returning to the group, we decided to do a tour of the old city walls since, by accident, they were open that day. It proved to be one of the best things that we had done. Here I will continue the story in my next post.     

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