Monday 24 July 2023

Kia kaha, Rhodes

Now, which current disaster shall I link to today? Spoiled for choice, really - as usual, sigh. Let's go for Rhodes. Currently sweltering, as are most places around the Mediterranean, in eye-popping temperatures, now there are raging forest fires driving locals and tourists away from their homes and hotels, into halls and stadiums, and even onto the beaches for evacuation. Horrendous.

It was autumn 2015 when I was there, on a Silversea cruise, and ironically my first blog comment about the island was that it has trees - having just visited Mykonos, which has none (but is still gorgeous). I liked Rhodes very much, and was impressed by its antiquity, which was pervasive, and its sheer prettiness. It’s understandably a standard port for the cruise ships. Many of their passengers guests would be Brits, who without a doubt would have fallen foul of my guide Stefanos's declaration that, with 300 days of sunshine a year, any conversation in Rhodes about the weather is considered rude, as a sign of boredom. Not now though, I bet.
He took us south to Lindos, which is one of the towns that have been evacuated. It's famous for its Acropolis, an arty ruin on top of a hill, ancient of course, and with splendid views over, I have to say, not a remarkably tree-clad landscape by our standards, though still very picturesque. The town itself is classically pretty, all narrow lanes, cobbles, white paint, colourful shops, stray cats, and quite a lot of resigned-looking donkeys descended from Californian imports donated by the US after WW2 destroyed all the roads on the island.

Later on I had a lovely wander around the Rhodes Old Town - more cobbled lanes, fountains, frescoes, stalls, buskers, a castle with a grassy moat and pyramids of cannonballs. Really lovely, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, especially the cup of iced tea at a café on a hill with a cooling breeze and a view of the castle, mosques, a church spire, the city wall, a windmill, the harbour with ferries, yachts and cruise ships, and, not far away, Turkey Türkiye.

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