Friday, January 30, 2009

Costa Cruise Day 5: Rhodes, Greece

Day 5 of the cruise took us to the island of Rhodes. I don't know if it was the walled fortress or the stone laid streets or the fact that the city is a World Heritage Site or the generous hospitality of the people of Rhodes, but I will come out and say that for the record Rhodes was my favorite.

Rhodes is a Roman city but much of what is seen today was built during Medieval times when the Knights Hospitaller rebuilt Rhodes as the 'European ideal' , and you can tell just by looking at the walled city and the remnants of a city gate that this place was meant to withstand some serious attacks.

Before I continue, I must note that Rhodes is also a cat city. If Athens has gone to the dogs, Rhodes has definately gone to the cats... there are cats EVERYWHERE!

It was both fun and challenging to walk around Rhodes due to the stone layed roads of Rhodes. :) I could not get enough of taking shots of the streets low to the ground.

While everywhere there are small, interesting details that make Rhodes unique, the major highlight of this walled city was the fortress, originally built by the Knights of Rhodes as the Palace of the Grand Master. We happened upon the entry going along the path less taken - that of the moat!

We went round and round until we happened upon a couple of drunk locals. I did some strange hand motions and said 'Fortress?' and the one responded cheekily in English... 'It is right behind you!' and I said, 'I know! But how do I get in?' and of course they responded in perfect English, despite inebriation the location of the entrance. Amazing. I guess that is what happens when only a small percentage of the world speaks Greek - they learn English!

The fortess was pretty huge and very interesting inside, being fully restored and renovated. I would recommend it. Just know that you need both a ticket for inside and a ticket to walk the walls and I think the place is only open until 11... so get there early!

After walking all around the fortress, we walked aimlessly around the city, waiting for lunch, taking in the scenes. The cobbled streets are so narrow that you are constantly dodging the scooters, of which there are many because the streets of the old town are mostly too narrow for big cars and trucks. We did not go outside of the old area, but I assume the newer part of Rhodes is more accomodating.

Tucked in amongst all the streets are little stone and brick houses with gardens and lots and lots of...

CATS!


The main town square is where it is at to go shopping and grab a bite to eat or have a Greek coffee, but you will save significantly if you eat off the beaten path.

Around the fountain is where all the store keepers and restaurant owners do their best to push you into the shop come lunch time!
The highlight of our visit was going into the city's only original antique shop and buying a big brass fish that I fell in love with. The owners of the store were so hospitable that they offered us Greek coffee and water (always with water!), some cake that the woman had made that morning with pine nuts, and some mixed nuts and seeds. It was incredible. While this was going on, Jace leaned over to me and whispered, 'Um... just how much did that fish cost anyway?!' They were certainly pulling out all the stops and treating us like royalty, but I get the feeling that is just how things are done in Rhodes. Then again, the fish wasn't cheap... :) BUT I LOVE IT! Here is Val enjoying our Greek coffee on the house.

We finally made our way to lunch and succumbed to a place right near the fountain, where Val enjoyed a typically Greek salad - the Feta was TO DIE FOR!

Jace had a Greek pizza (not pictured...) - whatever that is. And I enhaled some Mousakka. Ohhh Mouuuuusaaaaaaaakaaaaaaaa. I think I love you.

Rhodes was definately our favorite. I would like to go back there again in the summer for a chill-out holiday and go swimming and eat Mousakka all day... anyone want to join me?

Two more locations to cover from the cruise - Cyprus and Egypt! Coming next week! Stay tuned.
---
Are you on Facebook? Swisstory is... become a fan!

1 comment:

juanitatortilla said...

Alright, I'm packing my bags right now, for the *love* of cobbled alleys and cats and Feta. I am sold!

Now, I think we all deserve to see this brass fish!!!!

 

Contact me. | Advertise on Swisstory