Sunday, November 2, 2008


Rhodes is truly the island of Roses

Rhodes, the beautiful island of roses, has unique physical scenery that does not cease to impress its visitors. Also unique is its climate with more sunny days than any other place in lower Europe. Like other Greek cities most chose a mainline god or goddess so the people of Rhodes chose Helios, the Sun, as their signature god. With practically zero crime rate and friendly and hospitable people you'll be surprised how easy life in Rhodes can be.

Rhodians are proud to note their city was the first ever built on an urban plan. In fact, 2,400 years ago, the famous architect of the ancient times, Ippodamus, designed and applied the first ever urban plan based on a perpendicular system.
Probably the most frequented part of the city is the ancient harbor - today called Mandraki - with the statue of the deer and the fawn at its entrance. Tradition tells us that this was where the famous Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, stood. Near the old city you will find exposed sparse remains of the Temple of Aphrodite.

Even after centuries of conflict and wars, Rhodes remains beautiful. Its beaches are among the cleanest in the Aegean, and its interior is still home to unspoiled mountain villages, rich fertile plains -- and butterflies.

With Richard and Carolyn, our traveling companions, we agreed that one of the highlights of our visit on the island was a trip by bus over to Lindos, a distant of 47km from the city of Rhodes. After arriving at mid-day we went to the shops underneath the Acropolis before we began our long walk to view this very historical place

Vendors were everywhere selling their wares. Our wives not desiring to make the trip up the hill suggested we consult one of the vendors and ride a couple of his donkeys up to the top. Well, two big men took their suggestion and boarded the animals. I am sure we looked like two giants on these little creatures. About half way up the trail my donkey slipped on a flat rock and his feet lost his footing and he went down fast. So did I, but I was able to remain upright. As fast as he had gone down he popped right back under me. The rest of the trip was at a slower pace and we finally entered the gate in good shape.

The village has perfectly preserved its medieval character, with pebble-covered streets and whitewashed houses built on a slope just over the beautiful sea. A series of steps leads to the ancient Acropolis with its Doric Temple of Athena. Through the main gate we discern the ruins of the Knight's Lodge and the Byzantine church of St. John. We cross the Doric Stoa (5th century BC) with its 42 columns (20 have been restored) and climb the majestic staircase to higher terrace with Propylaean ruins (5th century BC). From this point we reach the Sanctuary of Lindian Athena, with its elegant bi-prostyle temple on the edge of the cliff (4th century). Ruins of an ancient theater have been found on the slope of the Acropolis. The ancient Acropolis was then built into a castle.

After a few hours of touring the entire area we looked toward the sea and saw a magnificent view of a little inlet with a small white-walled building with a blue top. According to scripture, St. Paul the Apostle landed there when he came to the island of Rhodes; accordingly, the tiny harbor on the other side of village has been named Agios Pavlos. What a view it was since we were to high in the air looking down and toward the beautiful sea.

We felt sorry for the donkeys so we decided the walk down would be better for us both since the trail was a continuing down grade. About three fourths of the way we heard the voice of familiar ladies. Sure enough in the shop were our two first ladies. My wife’s first words were, “look what I just bought!”

Well, my wife stills wears a windbreaker jacket she bought in Rhodes that is beautifully embroidered with, “Cruising the Aegean Sea.”

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