Monday, 26 October 2015

Two awesome Acropoles on Rhodes

I wish we had more time on Rhodes!  The medieval town with its in tact city walls reminded me of Dubrovnik.  We spent most of our time outside of the city visiting the two Acropolis; by the time we got back, we barely had energy or time to explore anything other than the main drag which was mainly tourist shops. Our driver/guide Kosta took us into the old town right after he picked us up at the cruise port as cars are not allowed in there after 10 o'clock.  We were able to take some pictures at the Palace of the Grand Master and then were quickly whisked out of the city because the traffic jam had already started.  The visit to the non-existent Colossus of Rhodes, another of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was quick.

The Acropolis in Rhodes is quite beautiful with a Temple of Apollo, an Odeon and a fairly large stadium, partly reconstructed.  But the Acropolis at Lindos, a half hour's drive from Rhodes, is even more striking.  Situated at the top of the hill overlooking the sea, it is a natural citadel that was fortified by successive rulers from the Greeks to the Ottomans.  It was a steep climb up to the Acropolis, walking through a gauntlet of shops and stalls starting from the main square.  One could also hitch a ride up on donkeys that went up another road, thankfully for those who are walking.  But it is worth the 20 minute hike as it is very beautiful and the view from the top was spectacular.

Palace of the Grand Master

Cobbled street in medieval Rhodes before the crowds arrive

Colossus of Rhodes location

View of Rhodes from the hilltop - Turkey across the sea

The Acropolis at the hilltop - Temple of Apollo 

Odeon reconstructed - black stones are original 

The stadium seats

Interesting rest stops on the way to Lindos, including a potter's shop.

Potter at his wheel

This is a washroom

First view of Lindos 

The path up to the Lindos Acropolis

Private porch along the way

Medieval fortress around the Acropolis

Doric Temple of Athena reconstructed by the Italians during their occupation (1912-1945).  But the work was poorly done - in recent years, Greek and international archaeologists are working on repairing the damage.

Medieval castle around the Acropolis
Ancient Greek theatre outside the Lindos castle walls

Back in the medieval city of Rhodes, we entered through the Gate d'Amboise

The Public Library of Rhodes
The Muslim Library 

The main tourist street through the town 

Medieval fountain in Hippocrates Square

Ruins of the Church of Our Lady of the Burgh near the waterfront

The waterfront fort - site of Naillac's Tower which was destroyed in an earthquake in the 19th century

Saturday, 24 October 2015

A most charming island - Patmos

We did not book ahead for any tours on Patmos partly because they were over-the-top expensive but mainly because we thought we might need to give ourselves a break.  This would be the 8th day of our trip and we would have been sightseeing every day for a week.   By the time we did get to Patmos, we were very glad we made that decision earlier because we were more than a little tired and really needed a day off to recuperate.  But of course we couldn't come to the doorstep and not enter, if just for a look around.

After a leisurely breakfast, we took the tender in to Patmos and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves just strolling through the little town, wandering into stores at whim, chatting with a shopkeeper from Cuba (his sesame seed crunch was delicious!),  and dawdling around watching the cats. The houses were charming with colourful windows and trims.  What I enjoyed most was the lack of crowds and the ability to stand back and soak in the atmosphere.

A young lady approached us when she noticed us making a fuss of two cats by the waterfront.  She too was a cat lover and told us about this beautiful view that she just came upon.  She showed us the panoramic photo of Patmos on her camera and even offered to show us the way up to the little chapel up on the hill.  We thanked her and told her we could find our own way, which we did, with several wrong turns and sign language from a local who must have been used to tourists stumbling into her backyard.  It was quite an adventure for us to go up the narrow stepped footpath to the little chapel which was closed - but the view from its terrace was stunning.

Patmos was also known for St. John's Cave (now a chapel) which was supposedly where John had the Revelation.  We didn't visit as it was quite a distance up and not one of the twelve taxis on the island were around to offer us a ride.  We have reached what I consider to be that "mature" stage of life where we accept that we could not see everything there is to see in the world and happily resigned ourselves to a more leisurely way of enjoying the island.

The main square in Patmos

A local goods store we visited - great sesame crisps!

Gorgeous bourgainvillea
Twin-domed church 

Neat hotel!

It was just a 15 minute walk to the other side of the island with a pebbly beach

Idyllic life - fishing on the waterfront

NIce house by the waterfront

We climbed up to the little chapel at the top of this hill 

Huge cactus on both sides of the stepped path up to the top of the hill

Steps up to the chapel 

The chapel 

Patmos panorama - you can see both sides of the island from the terrace

It's nice to be a Patmos cat...