Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation
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Day 31: Rhodes, Greece
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Day 29: Istanbul, Turkey
Day 30: Kusadasi, Turkey
Day 31: Rhodes, Greece
Day 32: Alexandria, Egypt
Day 33: Cruise at Sea
Day 34: Corfu, Greece
Day 35: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Country



Greece


Hotel


MS Rotterdam



Temperature

Another hot day with a high of 28C

 


Day 31: Thursday, October 5, 2006     Rhodes, Greece

We Could Live Here


Currency: euro
Language: Greek

The largest of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes was united with Greece in 1947 and remains the last territory added.  Rhodes' capital lies outside and within the walls of a very well preserved Venetian castle, built by the Knights of Saint John, which is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture, where a handful of Knights were the last Christian holdouts in a part of the world that had become completely dominated by Muslims, in particular the Ottoman Turks. When the city finally did fall after a siege that exhausted both defenders and besiegers the remaining Knights were offered safe passage and on January 1st of 1523 left Rhodes along with 5000 of the Christian inhabitants of the island who chose to leave rather than live under the Sultan. In the 

defense of the city 2000 Christians had died. The Turks had lost 50,000 trying to take it. This is not, however just an old town filled with ghosts of the past. The old city of Rhodes is a living, vibrant community with many homes and business, not all of them connected to tourism. The beauty of its capital and its interesting sites make this Greek island one of the most popular islands of Greece.

Ken standing by the Great Harbour with St. Nicolas Fort in the right background


We got up early for breakfast and were on shore by 9:00 am.  Because we were leaving at 1:00 pm, we focused our time in the Old Town of Rhodes City.  Most of the shops were not open yet and as you will see in the slide show photos, we pretty much had the streets to ourselves at first.  We walked along the Street of the Knights and came to the huge Palace of the Grand Masters,
which was built in the 14th century by the Knights of Rhodes, who occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1522. After the island was captured by the Ottoman Empire, the palace was used as a fortress.  We then wandered around the narrow streets and got lost several times as these streets had even narrower side streets that weren't on the map.  This wasn't too bad as we were inside a walled city and eventually you find something that is on the map.  As we walked the narrow streets, a few of the doors were now open.  Kathryn found a lovely white Greek dress for our grandniece Amy but decided to see if she could find something better.  In the end we decided that it was the best and when we made our way back to the store, we almost got lost again because now all the stores were open and everything looked different.
 

Palace of the Grand Masters.  Ken is in the blue top.

As we wandered around the town, we came to a large square were there was a professional photographer taking fashion photos of a couple of models.  About this time Ken became tired and needed to stop for a rest.  When we decided to go back and buy the dress for Amy,  we came on to a square which had been empty on our first time through but now was packed with people.  We ran across Dave Lunn and Al Russell enjoying a beer at an outside table, watching the tourist walk by.  Ken was such a good boy that he did not even stop to have a beer with them as he knew the way back to the store - the heat must have got to him.

Our one disappointment with Rhodes had to do with a bad shopping experience

Models at a fashion shoot

We saw some throw pillows at a store - we actually saw lots of them here and in other parts of our trip - that were hand-stitched with scenes from the Greek islands.  They had tons of pillows but the three that were on display would have matched the blue leather couch in our living room perfectly.  Unfortunately, they were the only copies of that pattern that they had and they wouldn't sell them to us.  We looked all over the rest of the city and couldn't find them.  We went back and begged and pleaded but they wouldn't budge because they said those pillows brought in a lot of customers.  It was nice wandering around Old Town which does not allow car or trucks after 11:00 am.  There were lots of motorbikes and scooters and they didn't always respect the pedestrians.
 

We went outside the wall and followed the road along the Great Harbour and then went back inside the walls at the north end.  We climbed up some dangers brick steps and walked along the top of the wall for a view of the New Town and the Mandraki Harbour.  Mandraki harbor was the main harbor of Rhodes for almost 2,500 years. On the left side you can see the entrance to the harbor and the two deer.  It is believed that the Colossus of Rhodes was standing there.  The Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the world, was built around 304 BC, in honor of Apollo the god of the sun (Helios in Greek) and patron god of Rhodes. It stood one hundred feet tall and it was located at the entrance of Mandraki harbor. Made entirely of bronze, it was then used as a lighthouse. It

Map of Rhodes Town

symbolized the strength and wealth of the Rhodian people.  It is believed to have been destroyed in 226 BC by a powerful earthquake. Later the pieces, it is believed, to have been taken by the Egyptians.

We staggered back to the ship in the heat and set sail shortly after 1:00.  We had to leave Rhodes early in order to be in Alexandria first thing in the morning.  We were also going to gain an hour due to a time zone change.  We could have spent much more time here in Rhodes. We passed the afternoon sun tanning out on the Sea View deck and had another excellent dinner.  The entertainment in the Queen's Lounge was a spectacular singer Daniel Bouchet.

Click here for a slide show of Day 31 photos.

Day 32

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