May 30-31

If you want to catch up with part one here's the Cyclades including Naxos and Santorini with short visits to Delos and Mykonos.

I came from Santorini to Rhodes on an overnight Blue Star Ferry. I am a Blue Star Ferry fan. Every trip, and I've gone with them three times now, has been perfect. I had no idea it would be so comfortable.

(wiki picture)

I had made a plan with an Airbnb host to meet someone 'at the clock' who would show me the accommodation.

I didn't want to make a non-refundable four-nights reservation for a place that had no reviews but the description was right up my the Old Town, with a kitchen, fast wifi, and for a good price.

Happily everything went well and I'm settled here in the UNESCO World Heritage Medieval City of Rhodes.

I did take a picture on my phone of each turn from the clock to my room. There are five turns.

I'm showing you two of them. The other three are similar. Old Town it is!

I had a little stroll around the neighborhood.

Everywhere I've been in Greece so far gelato shops are on every block, sometimes two on a block. This one had the largest and most elaborate decorations yet.

I didn't do much on the 30th even though I arrived in the morning and was settled before noon. The ferry ride was entirely comfortable and I slept in a cabin, still we didn't leave until after 1 in the morning...waaay past my bedtime...and I was up at 7 so I was feeling a little buzzed.

But not too buzzed to eat! I had olives, bread, dolmas, eggplant salad, tzatziki, and a baked potato. (I saw that baked potato on the menu and I Wanted it.)

And retsina. YUM.

Now it's the 31st and I'm off for some looking around.

LP: "The 18th-century Muslim Library was founded in 1794 by Turkish Rhodian Ahmed Hasuf. It houses a small number of Persian and Arabic manuscripts and a collection of Korans handwritten on parchment."

Notice the piece over the door.

Some artists were selling their work near this tree but my favorite piece was this tree itself. On the bigger picture you can see both eyes, one blue and one brown. Nicely done.

One of the entrances around The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. I was trying to find the Byzantine Museum but somehow found myself... the port of New Town which is new in the sense that it's full of chain stores.

One thing I didn't run across in New Town or in Old Town, or come to think of it in Naxos or Santorini either, was your basic they're-everywhere (but apparently not) fast food joint. No McDonalds or Burger King or KFC. In other words, no place to use the bathroom without being noticed.

That's the lighthouse out there.

Coming back into Old Town, the Temple of Aphrodite.

I'm going to copy out the short description from UNESCO citing Rhodes Old Town a World Heritage Site:

"The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and set about transforming the city into a stronghold. It subsequently came under Turkish and Italian rule. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital and the Street of the Knights, the Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period. In the Lower Town, Gothic architecture coexists with mosques, public baths and other buildings dating from the Ottoman period."

You can google for the long description because it is an excellent summary of Rhodes Old Town history.

Next stop: the Archeological Museum. Worth the price of admission for this lion alone.

Also worth the price of admission is this Aphrodite.

I'm a little surprised Getty never got his hands on this gorgeous thing.

The building that houses the museum from 1914 was previously the hospital of the Knights.

The Order of St John of Jerusalem: "The Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Hospitallers, Order of Hospitallers, Knights of Saint John and Order of Saint John, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders during the Middle Ages."

A group has gathered behind me to wait their turn for this shot in The Street of Knights. This street is an ancient one with each building having a long and storied history.

Back to The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes and this time I went in.

It's HUGE in here with not much in the way of furnishings but very impressive to walk through.

Look familiar? All my LA family and friends will nod in recognition.

I think about J Paul Getty and the Getty Center and the Getty Villa whenever I see wonderful things.

I think that's the mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent dating from 1523.

It looks so peaceful but that's because this street is up by where I'm staying, a quieter few blocks than down the way where there seem to me to be plenty enough people.

Food! I had a bowl of delicious mussels in garlic and tomato sauce with garlic toast to soak up the juice, and then went back to my digs to do up these pictures.

June 1

Sailing out of Rhodes for a day trip to visit the island of Symi and its port town by the same name and also on the other side of Symi we'll sail to the Panormitis Monastery.

I'm really liking Rhodes. If you happen to be in the area, even from Turkey you can easily reach Rhodes, you won't be sorry if you stop on by.

Sailing now into the blue-blue-blue harbor of the port town of the island of Symi.

Blue blue blue.

Symi once held more that 22,000 people during the era of its shipbuilding and sponge industries but now they're down to 2,500 people and tourists.

But like everywhere so far, and I might repeat this again, the shops are all occupied and full with fresh goods, the restaurants are amazing, and every single Greek person I've had occasion to visit with, admittedly almost entirely in the tourist biz, has been kind, helpful, and cheerful.

Come to Greece! You are paying in Euro though so don't expect the olden days of Greece on $10 (or $20 or $50) a day. I'm being very modest in accommodation, generous with eating out once a day, doing side trips which can be pretty expensive and it's all running about 80-100 Euro a day.

Nice on the clouds.

Blue Star Ferry it's not, but we weren't at all crowded so everyone got their chance at the rail and the inside was comfortable, air conditioned, no smoking, and plenty of room.

The landing pier at the Panormitis Monastery.

It's very exotic inside there for sure.

First they were going to have a christening and the whole place was decked out in blue Smurf World including a picture of the honoree photoshopped into a poster of a Smurf Village.

And when you go through that door of the chapel you'll see...

...this. A fevered display of religious iconography. The walls are covered in amazing painting too. Everyone was in line to take their turn kissing the glass that protects the image of Saint George.

"You have to watch out for Saint George" a local woman told me, "see the sword in one hand and a soul in the other? He takes all the souls and he doesn't take them all to heaven."

(internet pix from people who didn't get caught)

Smurfs; soul snatching saints; this looks good.

Back in Rhodes, it's about a 20 minute walk from my place to the commercial pier, and I'm here now in the lower part of Old Town.

TravelGuideToRhodes: "This church has served three different faiths in its lifetime – Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim.

It was the official church of the Knights of the Order of St. John, between 1309 and 1522, but the original occupants were the Byzantines, who erected it in the 11th century. When the knights took over Rhodes they decided that this church, which was in the same neighbourhood as the Street of the Knights and which was large enough to hold a large congregation, would best meet their needs.

"The knights immediately set about making a few structural adjustments to the style, in keeping with the Catholic designs of the time. A ribbed cross-vaulted roof was added to this inscribed cruciform Cathedral, which was also the seat of the Catholic bishop, to give it a Goth appearance. Its changes were supervised by the administration of the Grand Master Villeneuve. ...

"During their reign, a beautiful and ornate bell tower stood just a metre or two from the church but when the Ottoman Turks seized the island from the Knights, they pulled down the bell tower and replaced it with a tall minaret and transformed the church into a mosque."

Wandering around...

...winding through some back streets...

...looking for the only remaining Synagogue in Rhodes.

It isn't noted on my map but Lonely Planet had a short article. WWII and deportations to Auschwitz saw the end of a once thriving Jewish community here.

Lively and welcoming. Even the guys that stand outside the restaurants attempting to lure you in make their attempts gently.

June 3

I'm not sure how this day got away from me...maybe I spent the hours of the morning dozing like this cat who never did rouse herself despite my here kitty kitty efforts.

I did wash my clothes in a real washing machine thanks to the Mama at my place, which is a big treat from the bathroom sink I've been using. And I made the reservations for tomorrow's travel - that took some arranging.

I'm off mid-morning tomorrow - flight to Athens, then train, then subway, then change subway, then walk to get to a hotel where I'll overnight so that the next day I can get the bus to arrive before dark in my final destination, Nafplio in the Peloponnese.

Looking onto the back of the city walls.

I walked up to the Acropolis of Rhodes. This is another Temple of Apollo (you'll remember the other one from Naxos)

There was a stadium and a theater too so it was a good sized site.

I went back home, brought the laundry in, thought about packing up, and then instead when out for dinner.

When you emerge from the winding residential Old Town streets where I've been staying onto the first commercial street, right at that spot is My Restaurant.

This is my last night and I'm back here for the third time and everyone there is my new best friend. I messed up Big Time on the group shots that included the two guys so I've just got these...

...of the two girls. They would all greet me when I happened to walk past the restaurant and not go in...come back for lunch! come back for dinner! they would call out.

Adeeo Rhodes, you've been great, and now on to Nafplio.

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