Right now were on a flight to Rome, we boarded at Rhodes stopped briefly at Athens and touch down in Italy at 10:00am. In Rhodes, we were staying all the way inside the old city of Rodos so I was pretty stoked that a taxi came and picked us up right near the little B&B that we used.
Rodos old town is a UNESCO Heritage Site, it’s one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. We had a great time wandering the cobbled streets over the last few days.
I must admit that my main fascination with Rhodes comes from playing Civilisation on PC all those years ago. I still remember the first time I was introduced to that game, at Tristan Rayner’s house, we must have been around 6 or 7 years old. If you’re not familiar with Civilisation, it’s a turn based strategy game where you build cities and grow a civilisation balancing your economy and resources against building a military and researching new technology. Lots of fun! Anyhow, one of the early “wonders” that you can build is the Colossus of Rhodes… It gives you an advantage in trade or something like that! 🙂
The colossus is no longer standing, but a statue of a deer marks each spot where it supposedly stood across the harbour. You can imagine it must have been quite magnificent.
The old town of Rodos as it remains today, was heavily fortified by the Knights Hospitalier when they made it their main base on withdrawal from the Holy Land. They remained there for several hundred years until 200,000 soldiers of Sulieman the Magnificent turned up and besieged the 7,000 knights for six months until they surrendered… They must have had some respect for them because they were allowed to leave for their other main city of Malta.
Elyse and I had a picnic of Salami, Cheese & Tomato baguettes in the huge moat that surrounds the fortifications… It’s now a garden and lovely for a stroll when you want to get away from all the tavernas and souvenir shops inside. You can just imagine what it must have been like standing on the walls with 200,000 angry men outside… Not to mention the several sieges that the Hospitaliers withstood before eventually being defeated.
We spent a few hours last night reading Wikipedia articles to each other… Sounds boring but it’s pretty interesting when your in the places they’re talking about and can have a little bit more perspective. I really enjoyed the one on the Barbary Corsairs. Something I’d never heard about… Check it out 😉 I wish I’d studied ancient history.
We did the usual stuff, a visit to the Palace of the Grand Master, bus trip down to Lindos (where Saint Paul landed and brought Christianity to the Island) and checked out the archaeological museum. They were all really good.
I find it interesting how much the public transport procedures have varied in Greece. On Santorini you get on the bus you want and then at some stage during the trip a casually dressed conductor will come around and sell the tickets. In Heraklion you bought your ticket from a booth and then boarded the bus at which point you and the driver would both hold the ticket and tear it in half (this was my favourite). In Rhodes you boarded the bus and gave your money to the driver who printed out an electronic ticket.
We’re excited about the next phase of our journey but sad to be leaving Greece. It’s a beautiful country and the people are absolutely lovely. It’d be nice to come back some day and explore a bit more outside of the major centres.