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Rhodes

sunny 34 °C
View Midlife gap part 1 on aireland's travel map.

Whilst the hotel is good, the resort, Ixia, really is not my sort of place. It's a typical holiday resort lacking any character whatsoever. Just lines of large hotels and holiday villages, tavernas, bars and car rental places.

I tried to get a bus to Rhodes town on one day and gave up as 8 buses went past the bus stop because they were full. The bus stop was exposed to the sun and after frying along with 20 other people for an hour I returned to to pool.

Was successful the next day as I got to the bus stop at 3 in the morning (well ok it was 8 am) but even then it was standing room only on the bus. My main target was to explore the medieval town and it was well worth the trip.

The Citadel of Rhodes was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and is apparently one of the best-preserved Old Towns in the world. It is an absolute gem, a superb medieval ensemble with the feel of a genuine lived-in village. It's still entirely enclosed within a double ring of mighty sandstone walls and appears to stand utterly aloof from the modern world.

I think what makes the Old Town so special is the sheer vibrancy of the place as a whole. Its busiest commercial lanes, packed with restaurants, caf├ęs, and souvenir stores selling anything from T-shirts to fur coats, and gelati to jewellery, are quiet at the time I arrived but it doesn't take long for them to become busy - feels a bit like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul - a real buzz. However it is also possible to escape into the time-forgotten tangle of cobbled alleyways that lie further south, and away from the sea. No map can do justice to what a labyrinth it all is, or quite how much is missing; mysterious ruins lie half-buried, overrun with cats or wild flowers, while isolated Cyclopean arches suddenly rear into view, without a trace of the buildings they used to hold up.

The other highlight for me was the Palace of the Grand Masters (this place is all about the Knights of St John)

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On one day I met up with friends Patrick and Marian who were on holiday in Marmaris, Turkey which is only a short ferry ride away so they came over to Rhodes.

We had a good wander around with a couple of beers thrown in (inevitably) and then went for a fantastic fish lunch with plenty of wine and great food. Patrick's reputation has clearly not spread worldwide despite the fact that he spends about 6 months of the year travelling, as the owner of the hotel made a classic mistake of offering us a drink on the house (his home-made lemon flavoured firewater) and rather than just pouring us a glass each he left three glasses and a full bottle on the table. The inevitable happened and the whole bottle somehow became completely empty in what seemed like about 3 minutes.

I walked back to the harbour to wave them off back to Marmaris and then jumped into a taxi back to my hotel. Unsurprisingly I went straight to bed and was unconscious (would be wrong to say I slept) for about 3 hours.

I had a great time seeing them both (hadn't seen them since they came out to Santiago on the failed "find a sardine" trip) and will see them both again in September in Portugal - should be enough time for my liver to recover.

The other place apparently worth visiting on Rhodes is Lindos. The advice I got was to get there early to avoid the crowds. It's a 2 hour bus ride from Ixia (changing in Rhodes Town) for about 6 euros the taxi which only takes 30 minutes is 55 euros). I caught bus from Ixia at 7.30 am thinking 9.30 should be early enough to get there before the masses - oh how wrong was I! It was packed. There were queues for everything including just getting into the streets of the town.
It looks impressive and is in a fantastic position but it's just too busy. I couldn't bear another 2 hours in the sardine can (bus) so got a taxi back to Ixia

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Was not really sorry to leave Rhodes. I had never been before so wanted to see it but on reflection 3 days would have been more than enough. Now off to what I hope is a quiet island where I can just chill out

Posted by aireland 05:51 Archived in Greece

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Bit like buses, none for ages then along comes half a dozen!
More please

by richardannis

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