Friday, October 31, 2014

Rethymnon and Rhodes

Continuing the better-late-than-never chronicles of our trip to Greece and Italy ... The next day, we took a bus to Rethymnon, some 80 km away, like Heraklion, a coastal town on the north shore of Crete. Once we debussed (why can't that be a word?) we made our way along the coast, looking for a place for Kevin to do what Kevin does in the presence of water...

...which is this. We were right near the old town section of Rethymnon, which consists of a more-or-less grid of beautiful little streets, scarcely larger than alleys.

Please note the white line in the road above, indicating that DUH, this is a road open to vehicles. 

It was all about the shopping on the most streets, but I was pleased to see that this was also a real neighborhood, filled with actual homes and normal people and such.  We wandered around, eventually grabbing a bite to eat at an outdoor cafe, and then following up with gelato, naturally.

On the ride back to Heraklion a couple of hours later, I attempted to capture some shots of the land meeting the sea.

 Crete: it's big. There is quite a bit of topography involved.

Hills don't stop olive groves.  

That evening, we wandered around Heraklion some more, observing graffiti but not understanding any of it, window shopping, spying on locals, spying on other tourists.  It appeared we were maybe not the ONLY Americans, but certainly in the minority. That evening, we dined at our hotel again - I wanted a do-over after my plate of rabbit bones two evenings previously - and as the cuisine was known for featuring traditional Cretan fare, why not.  

The next day, we were due to leave for Rhodes in the late afternoon. We had time for one more walk, so we checked out the old Venetian fortress in the harbor. It was closed for renovations, so we thought we'd take a wee stroll down the jetty behind it. 

We kind of underestimated just how long that jetty is. Maybe two miles. One way.

We finally got to the end of it, and when we looked back for the fortress we couldn't even see it - it was around a corner.

Our flight to Rhodes was really a flight to Athens first. Sure, there are direct flights, but they are spendy, as my sister would say. I had fun staring out at the Peloponnesus from my window seat - that whole chunk of Greece across the water from Athens - and kind of losing myself in daydreams.


By the time we got to Rhodes, it was past sunset. We watched lightning over the ocean on our descent - quite a sight. The next day we immediately set out for the waterfront and boom, there was Turkey, some twelve miles away. For Kevin, this was the fifth time he had seen into another country without being able to cross over the border.

We had originally hoped to rent a car and drive around the island but scotched that idea pretty quickly for logistical reasons. There would be plenty to see without the hassle and expense, and we didn't have much time anyway. We wandered along the waterfront and eavesdropped on our fellow tourists, most of whom were Russian. 

We poked our head in a church. It started off as Eastern Orthodox and was eventually converted to Greek Orthodox. I realized anew how much more there is for me to learn about Byzantine culture and history.

Sections of the sidewalk were done up in abstract designs of black and white pebbles.

We made our way over a moat into the walled fortress old town area.

Right around here is where I sprained my ankle for the third time in as many weeks. 

A sprained ankle and pebble-stoned roads are not a great combination, but having to go slowly meant I could savor the buildings.

Here we have the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. A mixture of French, Spanish, and Byzantine influences, I read somewhere on a placard.

The inside was pretty spartan - mosaic floors, to be sure, but not nearly as fussy as it could have been. There was very little in the way of interpretive signage so I never did learn what the series of grand rooms were used for.

In the moat were cannonballs graciously donated by the Turks. 

I lusted, but exercised forbearance, with all of the tourist shops that fill the streets of old town.

We must have been exhausted, because we had an early dinner, followed by dessert at a little shop selling one thing, and one thing only: chocolate fondue. The shopgirl asked me if I wanted dark, milk, or white chocolate and I looked at her as though she were insane. Only one of those choices counts as chocolate. She approved of my choice.

The light was totally different on the water the next day.

Actual colors. Amazing. 

We flew to Athens again. This is Tilos, as near as I can tell. 

Then we flew to Rome. And then Florence. A long day. Fortunately, there was this to amuse us in the airport in Rhodes:

Not something you'd see in the States, huh!

No comments:

Post a Comment