Tag Archives: Rhodes

All Rhodes lead to home

So our final day in paradise dawned. I woke up and went alone to breakfast-the kids came back in quite late. I then reported to reception to try arrange for us to be accommodated for the full day. Check-out was midday, but we were being collected to go to the airport at about ten pm, and so I wanted to try stay in our room for the day. The nice ladies at reception told me that our room was needed for the next intake, but if we were prepared to move out early, they would give us a room elsewhere for the day at no extra cost.

So I returned to the room, wakened the blinking children, and gave them the news that we had an hour to tidy up, pack, and relocate. They took this news rather well, and soon we were all bustling about getting our shit together (well, perhaps it was more of a slow shuffle than an actual bustle, but we got moving). We packed everything and moved the whole lot down to reception, where they allocated us our temporary room.

I wrote about our treasure hunt to find our room on the first night. Now, in daylight, with a weeks worth of orientation and familiarity with the resort, we were confident that we would find our room in no time. We also had easy to follow verbal instructions from the reception desk, so no problems, right? Wrong. Again, the drunk dyslexic retard had hidden our room so well that it took a concerted effort, three maps and 45 minutes of help from Indiana Jones to find our new accommodation.

We got there in the end, dumped our bags, and most of us went off to lie by the pool again. Drinks, lunch, more pool, a few games of ping pong and more rest brought us neatly to supper time. We ate on the terrace in the cool evening breeze, looking out over the pool and to the ocean beyond. It was idyllic, and a perfect way to conclude our stay. After dinner the girls went on a raid to the taverna to steal us some food supplies for the flight home, and the kids frolic’d with the Frenchies, we moved the bags back to reception, and finally our bus arrived about ten-ish.

The drive to the airport was uneventful, but the flight was delayed by about half an hour, so the kids lay down and slept on the airport floor for an hour while I fiddled with my iPad, after which we boarded, flew, passported, collected baggage, caught the transfer shuttle to the car park, and drove home, arriving about 0645. Tired and grumpy, we all collapsed into bed and slept the sleep of innocent kings. Night all……

Another day, another plateful of Feta

Our last full day on the resort today. The weather was perfect. Not too hot, but a great day for lying in the sun by the pool, sipping cold beverages and eating in and amongst. Aside from a sleep in the afternoon and a game of monopoly we spent most of the time by the pool. By the evening the kids had become very friendly with the French contingent, so they went to the disco in the eve, and I went to the room to grumble about the amount of clothing lying in disarray all around our room. At least I knew that we would have to tidy and pack everything away on the morrow, so after a couple of episodes of House, I turned out the lights and slid away to sleep.

When the Aegean met the Med

While we were happy to just chill and relax in our lovely resort, we also kind of wanted to take advantage of being on such a beautiful island and see some more of the place. So, today we hired a car and went off to explore the southern realms of Rhodes. We had breakfast, packed up the car, and switched into ‘driving on the right hand side of the road’ mode. The hotel was near Kiotari, on the East side of the island, about three quarters of the way down towards the southern tip of Rhodes.

We had come down from the airport in the north, and also been back up north earlier in the week when we spent the day in Rhodes town itself, so we hadn’t seen anything further south. We drove out of the resort, turned left, and trundled through villages and lots of empty spaces. It is early in the season, and this part of the island is pretty deserted anyway, so it was rather quiet on the roads. One thing I noticed is that there are almost as many churches in Rhodes as there are people living on the island (100-120 thousand depending on which tour gude you believe). Every three yards there was signpost leading to a track off the main road, indicating the Church of St John Christadolou, or the shrine of Mary Magdalen Moussaka or some combination of those.

After approximately 144 churches (about ten miles), we came to our first stop – Prasonissi. Just as Rhodes Town inhabits the northern extreme of the island, Prasonissi is the southern tip. There is an extra blob of island joined to the main island by a beach spit, which is accessible during summer, but covered by sea during the colder months. This narrow neck was still under water when we arrived, and was a very interesting piece of geography. As you learned a few days ago, Rhodes divides the Aegean and Meddly-terannean seas. Prasonissi is at the confluence of these, and the summer-visible beach which forms this join has two shores, one on each sea. I think the beach is only 20-50 metres wide when present, but as it was underwater, we could see the waves coming in from the two directions, and meeting in the middle. Also, weirdly, there was a narrow band of very black cloud above the join between the seas, and nowhere else in the sky.
We walked along the edge of the beach, paddled our feet in the water so that one foot was in the Med and one in the Aegean, the boy managed to get wet and covered with sand in seconds, and Jexi nearly lost her flip-flops in the tide.

We walked back to the car, and hopped back in to drive onward. I think we hadn’t passed enough churches to meet our morning quota. Anyway, we followed the coast around, heading north again up the western side of the isle. The views were beautiful as we drove along the green countryside, seeing bays, little rocky islets off the coast, various villages, and yet more churches to saints with unpronounceable names that no-one has ever heard of.

We were aiming our next stop toward Monolithos. There is a little village here, with a Knights of St John castle nearby. We passed through the village, and stopped at a spectacular viewpoint just before the castle, to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the scenery. Then we drove on the the ruin itself, and walked up a set of stone stairs to visit this castle. It was built on a Byzantine ruin, and the only part of the old buildings still in use is (you guessed it) a church. The castle is on a hilltop with three sheer sides that drop a couple of hundred metres down to the coastal plain. We trailed around the ruins, enjoying the wonderful views and appreciating the old stones.

Back down to the car, then onward to Siana, another tiny village in the hills. As we arrived, the heavens found more water than was thought possible, and emptied it all onto Siana in a short space of time. We sat in the car waiting for the worst to abate, then traipsed into somebodies Taverna. It was a large kitchen with various (none matching) tables and chairs. The kids were very sceptical, but we ordered lunch and a drink, and then waited fir some considerable time while a party of geriatric and senile Italians ate at the table opposite us. They were loud, and kept getting annoyed at people leaving the Taverna door open as they entered or left.

The eatery was full- probably a convenient refuge from the rain-and our food took the best part of an hour to arrive. It was actually very good- fresh fish, fresh meat, fresh pizza. Most of us enjoyed our meal, but one of the kids had started ailing as we arrived, and just as the rest of us finished eating, a steady stream of vomit created an ever-increasing puddle of sick. This somewhat dampened our spirits, and we decided to return to base to allow the sick to retire to bed with paracetamol and ibuprofen. We had a relaxing remainder of the afternoon, and then (with the now completely cured offspring) went out to fill up the car for its return and stop at the local supermarket for some supplies.

A few kilograms of chocolate and two bags of Greek coffee in our possession, we returned to the hotel, along with two bedraggled French folk who had been for a walk and got caught in the rain. Another nice meal, a relaxing evening, and bedtime followed.

Here comes the sun

Sleep. And more sleep. We decided not to rush today, and slept in until about 11 or so. We had a cup of tea, and went back to the room for another game of monopoly while big studied, then went for lunch. The weather was turning lovely, so after lunch we got into swimming kit, and went down to the main pool. We slathered ourselves in lotion, and spent the afternoon in the sun, with a quick dip in the cool pool. Somehow the afternoon passed quite quickly, and we lost Ben along the way as he befriended a crew of Israeli and French people of similar age to him. I have briefly seen him since, smiling and being towed by various girls in various directions.

Karaoke was the evenings entertainment. I am allergic to this Japanese import, so I am sat in the lobby of the hotel, typing my blog entry and likely to shell out a few quid to upload the entries to date, before I go back to the room and watch an episode of House MD. I loaded a bunch of these onto my iPad to take away with me on holiday. I haven’t watched that many, but I am enjoying his misanthropic abuse and general disdain for the idiots that populate this earth. I identify with his outlook.

Slow Tuesday

The weather did not favor the brave today. It was overcast, not too warm (13 degrees) so we amused ourselves without sunny pursuits. Me, Ben and Jex played a game of monopoly while Span studied ( A levels coming up soon), we played some table tennis, ate, drank, ate, drank some more and somehow passed the day in easy chunks. I booked a hire car for Thursday so we can explore the island a bit more.

How many Rhodes must a man walk down?

Our hotel is in the south of the island, about 60 Km’s south of the town of Rhodes itself. Rhodes town is very old and has significant history, so we decided to take a tour to the town for the day. We had breakfast, packed a day bag, and went to wait for the bus. Greek time is much like Jewish Mean Time-everything is approximate. We waited a bit longer than expected for the bus, but it arrived, we hopped on, and had a very pretty drive to heading north, with the sea to our right. The bays and views were lovely, and it took about 90 minutes to reach our destination.

Rhodes is a bit chaotic, and the traffic was lots of fun. We disembarked at Mandraki harbour, which is where the fabled colossus stood. There are two columns, with statues of deer atop, which mark the points at the harbor mouth where the giant statue was alleged to have stood. It is a pretty and ancient-looking harbour, and was to be where we rejoined our coach for the return journey.

Rhodes is divided into two main parts, with a third, the ancient town, only serving as a park and monument area rather than providing any commercial or residential purpose. The new town is typically Mediterranean, with a mix of styles, shopping precincts, scooters and shouting people. The old town is a beautiful, walled medieval city, in fantastic condition, and we spent a lot of time here.

We walked along the harbour front into the old town, via the Liberty gate. There are a number of entrances to the old city, much like Jerusalem, and each has a name and history of it’s own. It was lunch time, so we ambled about the cool, pebbled streets until we found a lovely taverna with outside tables, where we sat and had a real, proper Greek meal. I had Souvlaki, and the kids had two pizzas and a tuna baguette. Span did try some Ouzo though, so I guess that counts. The meal was lovely, the street was quaint, the staff were friendly, and we enjoyed the experience. We then walked back toward the harbour, and waited for the Road train, a tour vehicle, for a more in-depth tour of the town. We were towed around for about an hour, by a Greek guide who was hard to understand, but the tour was perfect. It gave us a good picture of the city it’s history, highlights and interesting places. We could also see across the Aegean to Turkey and some of the other Dodecanese islands.

Rhodes is a separating landmass between the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. We are on the eastern side, which faces the Med, while Turkey lies across the Aegean sea to the west and north of Rhodes. I think (I don’t have Internet access at the moment to check) that Rhodes is about the southern/eastern-most of the Greek isles, hence Turkey lying to the west of here.

After our tour, we head back in to the old town. We explored various streets, found some lovely shops, and had a cup of Greek coffee in a cafe on an open square at the end of the busy Socrates street, a market area full of shops for tourists. We then headed off to find the Jewish bit of the old town. We found the Jewish Martyrs square, where the Nazis rounded up the community that had existed in Rhodes for hundred of years, and shipped them off to the deat camps.

We then headed off the beaten track, and Jex got a bit anxious as the streets ere narrow and somewhat menacing. We found the new synagogue, and then aimed back to a more populated part of the town, and walked up Socrates street, shopping for gifts for various peeps. We were quite successful in our shopping quest, and my backpack was laden even more than expected. I understood what a pack donkey felt like.

We strolled around the lovely old town some more, explored little streets, dark alleys and magical gates, and then left the old city to head back to Mandraki harbour to get our bus back. It was a bit late (surprise) but didn’t take as long to get back to the hotel, where we had a nice dinner, and retired early.

Greece is the word

Breakfast here is from 7-10. Ben and I woke up in time to venture down for brekkie, but the ladies slept. The dining room is quite large, and the buffet for breakfast(in fact for all the meals) is pretty good. A choice of English breakfast materials, cereals, fruits, cold cuts and cheeses, lots of breads, jams and spreads and more make the meal an easy one.

Ben and I ate, then went for a stroll around the complex, and ended up on the beach, which adjoins the hotel and is provate for the hotel guests only. It is a lovely, quite pebbly beach, and we stood and skimmed stones across the water for a bit. I thought that if the stones were animated, they would be quite pissed off, actually. It had probably taken them millions of years to get the tide to wash them up onto the beach so they could lie in the sun and enjoy the breeze as well. Then, along come two upright apes, and without a ‘by your leave’, we toss them straight back into the sea. Very thoughtless.

We ambled back to the room and the lasses were stirring, so we chilled while they got ready, we did a bit of room tidying, and then went for lunch. After lounch we took another stroll to the beach, and ended up at the main hotel pool bar. The bar is in the water of the pool, and you can satnd or sit around it, with your feet dangling in the water, while drinking a cold beer. Pretty damn marvelous if you ask me. We did more eating, drinking and chilling, some sunbathing and Ben braved the coolish pool water to swim, and had an early night as we were still tired from the journey.

All roads lead to Rhodes

Last year while working in Australia, the lead up to the ‘go-live’ of my project got a bit pressured, and we worked a fair few weekends and long days. By late October I had spent the best part of five months away from home, and was missing the kids and Jelena quite a lot. Lena had spent two wonderful weeks in Sydney with me, and on my brief returns to the UK then the chilluns spent most of that time with me, but I was missing out on time with them.

I had formed the idea of taking the kids away somewhere for a nice holiday, and spent an entire weekend (I am not joking, it took me bloody ages to figure out this holiday thingy, do research, read reviews, decide which destination and hotel to choose and so on) making the booking online. I had a poor 3G reception in my hotel overlooking Darling harbour, so the process was made even slower and more tedious by having to wait for my browser to constantly catch up with me.

I had never considered a package holiday before, nor a ‘resort’ holiday where we would be stationed in a self contained environment, but after much consideration, I felt that a fully inclusive resort holiday was what we needed. The kids are old enough to be pretty independent, and I was quite tired at this point, so the thought of being able to just turn up, and have all food, drink, amenities and activities laid on for us was quite appealing.

Where to go was the first major decision, and after some googling, I narrowed it down to Greece or Sinai. Given the current state of things in Egypt, I am glad Greece won out. I can’t quite remember why I went with Greece in the end, but here we are. I found a resort on Rhodes, in a small, quiet part of the island, called Kiotari. The reviews were very good, it looked perfect for a family, and the weather at the time of year was due to be pleasant but not too hot. In all, it looked great.

So, I duly handed over large sums of money, informed the kids, and got back to my project, rolling a satellite TV provision out over a games console client. The project finished, I returned to Happifax, the winter came and went, new passports were ordered, and suddenly it was time to go to the airport.

Our flight was from Manchester to Rhodes Diagoras. We found out more about Diagoras when we arrived, but just about everything here is named after him. After collecting numbers 2&3 from their mothers, plus a mad dash back to mine to collect the forgotten guitar, we finally were on our way to sunny Manchester.

We checked in almost without a glitch, except that. They had sat us on an emergency exit row, and (even though our ages were submitted in triplicate and showing on the tickets) decided that they could not let kids sit there. This is because in case of an emergency, they need someone reliable to operate the emergency doors – and apparently we were not reliable enough. So they moved us to another row, handed over the tickets, and through to security we went. We all got through security ok except Span, who must look suspicious. They scanned her, did some cursory checks, and decided she was safe enough, after all, to fly, and sent us on our way.

We walked into the departures area, which had an impressive array of shops. I did not manage to get through this area unscathed, and in spite of having two teenage daughters, it was me who wanted something. My crocs had been worn daily since we were in South Africa in 2007, and were missing a strap, covered in paint, looked like they had been chewed by a puppy, and had no grip at all. I found a nice pair of high- fashion crocs in duty free, and invested wisely.

Off to a restaurant called giraffe, where we had a meal (well, me and the girls ate properly, the boy ‘needed’ a pancake). As we were finishing our meal, the flight was called, so it was off to the gate to stand in line with Britains finest. I am not British by birth, nor really by heritage, but there are probably some things that make me proud to be British-ish. Not that I can think of any at the moment. However, one of the things that does not make one proud is our package-holiday typical tourist export. This breed is permanently orange, loud, rude, drunk, ignorant, has unruly children, and wears a Manchester United top. Just thinking about it brings a warm glow to my heart. I am not religious, but I was praying that our resort would not have too many English in attendance.

The flight was quite long (about 4 & 1/2 hours) and got a bit uncomfortable towards the end. We survived though, and disembarked, collected our luggage, and found our transfer bus. We set off around 1am, dropped various folk off at various hotels, and arrived at ours around 0245. Driving in to the hotel was very reassuring. The place looked fabulous. A series of 2 or 3 storey complexes, shaped into the hillside, interspersed with beautifully lit swimming pools, was very inviting. We checked in, had a mini treasure hunt to find our room (whoever designed the numbering of the rooms here was drunk, stoned, dyslexic or retarded- bet is on all four together) and finally got to our apartment.

Bags went on the floor, clothes went in a heap, and we went on the beds. Lights out was at 0315, and we slept the sleep of innocents.