Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rhodes - Day 1 and Near Death by Donkey!

We arrived in Rhodes, Greece from Athens after 3 hours sleep.   We got a taxi from our hostel in Athens to the airport as the trains weren’t running at that time of the morning (5am).  The taxi ride was fine, but very fast, although the speed limit was 50, I don’t think anyone on the road stuck to that speed at all.  In any case, we were at the airport in record time.

Our flight was on time, but the weather was bad.  We had to drop 2000 feet to avoid bad turbulence, and the clouds were massive, although very pretty as the sun was rising, but at the same time, lightning was lighting them up as well.

Very windy when we landed at Rhodes was the landing was a bit hairy!

We caught the bus into Rodos to the City Hotel where we were staying.  Very pleasant here – I’m typing this up in their garden bar while Anne is sitting in the sun reading her book.  We’re just taking a short break before we head back to the airport to catch our flight to Pisa.  We still have to check in at the right time, but our flight is delayed by 2.5 hours.

We arrived at our hotel in Rhodes at about 9.00am, checked in, and then they offered us breakfast, so we filled up on boiled and poached eggs, toast, yoghurt, honey, sausages and bacon.  We then dropped our luggage in our room, then went around the corner and hired a car for 26 hours for 40 euros for unlimited km.  So we then headed out of Rodos City to see the sights the rest of the island could offer us.

We first went to the ruins of Apollo Temple at the Acropolis of Rhodes which dates from the Hellenistic Period (3rd-2nd c.BC).  Just 3 km away from where we were staying.  It consisted of the Temple of Apollo of which below was a stadium and a small theatre.  A bus tour of high school students from Prague were there visiting at the same time as us.

We then got in the car and drove to Lindos – weather was patchy rain and very hot and humid.  We arrived at Lindos about 1pm.  Lindos is both a town and an archaeological site on the east coast of the island about 55km from Rodos City.  Took the free shuttle bus to the entrance of the town and walked through the alleyways boasting lots of tourist shops.  Above the town rises the acropolis of Lindos, a natural citadel which was fortifified successively by the Greeks, Romans, Byznatines, Knights of St John, and the Ottomans.  This makes the site difficult to excavate and interpret. 

Once in the town we had to start walking upwards to reach the citadel (castle) and was definitely an effort to do with my sore foot.  We managed to haggle a better price with my deafness and anne’s student ID card!
Took lots of photos – of the Relief of a Rhodian  Trireme (warship) cut into the rock at the foot of the steps leading to the acropolis.  The stray cats living there.  The Hellenistic Staircase (2nd c BC) leading to the main archaeological area of the acropolis.  The Remains of a Roman temple.  The castle of the Knights of St John built some time before 1317 on the foundations of the older Byzantine fortificaitons.  The walls and towers follow the natural conformation of the cliff.

After wandering around for some time, we decided to leave and get back to the car to get to our next destination – the ancient city of Kamiros.  Because my foot was so sore, I was adamant that the donkey ride down would be a great experience.  Anne was just as adamant that it would not be – so she decided to walk down, and I rode on the donkey.  All went well and I even managed one photo, until we got down to where the cobblestones and steps were.  Anne thinks the donkey slipped.  I felt the saddle move a bit.  Whatever happened, the donkey decided it no longer wanted me on it’s back so bucked me off.  My foot (not the sore one) got caught on the saddle, so I forced my shoe off.  I ended up falling onto a step.  The woman helped me get my shoe on and stuck around until I asked her for my money back.  She took off after that and left me high and dry barely on my feet and in pain.  Anne took off after her and kept saying ‘give me our money back’ which the woman refused to do.  They completely disappeared.  I shakily started walking down but then starting crying – shock.  Eventually another donkey operator came down, realised what had happened and took my hand and led me down the hill.  He said that the woman should not have left me, and should have given our money back to us, and that he would help us when we get to the donkey station.

Last photo before the donkey bucked!

Meanwhile Anne got to the donkey station and tried to explain what had happened, and the angry Greek woman and donkey operator who had left me lied and told the guy that Anne had pushed her (which she hadn’t).  However, the woman finally gave Anne our money back and Anne came back triumphant!

I thanked the kind Greek man for his help and we went on our way.  By the time we had got back to the car we had calmed down sufficiently to laugh about it, but realising that it could have been a lot worse had I hit my head on the stairs.  We then wondered if we were wise to insist on our money back, as the important thing was that I was okay, and we were now worried that this woman may be in trouble for bringing the donkey down the hill without any money.

An interesting afternoon for sure – and I have lovely bruises on my legs, arms and back – big ones, and ones that hurt!

We left Lindos and took off over to Kamiros – where there is an ancient Hellenistic city (ruins) to wander around.  The drive there was interesting and pretty – quite a bit of pine forestry where the leaves were so bright yellow/green they almost looked unreal.  Villages with houses that were run down, and some completely deserted.  I stopped to photograph some.

Kamiros was a city lying on a peninsula on the northwest of the island 30 km west from Rodos Town.  It used to be one of the three large Doric powerful cities which in the 5th Century unified with Ialyssos and Lindos to form the powerful state of Rhodes.

The ancient city was built on three levels.  At the top of the hill was the Acropolis with the temple complex of Athena Kameiras and the Stoa.  A covered reservoir having a capacity of 600 cubic meters of water, enough for up to 400 families was constructed about the 6th century BC.  Later the Stoa was built over the reservoir and it consisted of two rows of Doric Columns with rooms for shops or lodgings in the rear.

 Lower Doric Temple
Hellenistic housing
 Main Street
Water Reservoir

The main settlement was on the middle terrace, consisting of a grid of parallel streets and residential blocks.  On the lower terrace are found a Doric Temple, probably to Apollo.

The town was in the heart of an agricultural region.  Shipment of agricultural produce such as olive oil and wine required lots of pottery and even today one can observe immense number of broken pieces of pottery spread over the area.

Kamiros decline was the result of the gradual abandonment by its residents, who moved to the City of Rhodes (Rodos) established in the late 5th century BC.

After leaving Kamiros it was getting late, we headed back to the hotel to shower and change.  By now the rain was bucketing down,  but in spite of this we decided to go to Old Town for Dinner.  We shared one umbrella and walked along under a huge Lightning and Thunder storm – was quite spectacular.  We got to the old town and the heavens just opened – such heavy rain it was unbelievable.  I was soaked to the skin.  We found a Greek Restaurant, and the lady lent me a towel to try and dry my clothes which was lovely.  We ended up staying for dinner and wine – beautiful Greek fare.  Anne ordered Chicken with Feta, and I had the Lamb with feta.  We also had Dolmades and Tzatziki  and pita.  I’ve fallen in love with Greek food.  If I stay here any longer I’ll soon be as big as a house!

By the end of our dinner, the rain had stopped so we decided to walk back to the hotel rather than taxi.  Unfortunately the stone roads were very slippery and I took a tumble.  Ended up lying on the road in pain for a while, before being able to attempt to stand.  The stones on the road also dug into my knee.  So now I have a sore knee and a sore foot!  We got back to the hotel okay though and iced it thoroughly.  I’ll live another day!!  I am hoping I will get to Morocco in one piece!


Wayne said...

Looks like you are having a true "adventure" falls, and all

Morgan said...

Fascinating looking place. The ruins are interesting.

Bloody donkey eh? Just as well you didn't end up with more injuries to add to your foot.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Posedly: i am born deaf, totally deaf with no aids and implants but a wonderful language called American Sign Language. I laughed at your taxi experience in Greece. I had similar experience in 2010 in Athens from a cruise ship disembarkment to a hotel. My wife and I got in one taxi and our two friends got in a second one. They raced against each other toward the hotel near the Acropolis. What a hoot !