Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A day tour of Rhodes

Thunder rumbled through the night with periodic rain. The morning was wet and threatening with light rain still falling. Our hosts only provided breakfast in the garden, as there was no space inside the hotel. On wet mornings such as today they had an arrangement with a local cafe to do breakfast for the guests. A short stroll down to the corner, and a no nonsense lady behind the counter who was super efficient and expected her guest to be the same. No 'umming' or 'ahhing' over a menu. Here are your choices - make up your mind - and don't waste my time.
Still - the breakfast was good and more importantly the coffee was excellent.
After breakfast we discussed our options and under advice from our hostess and the owner of the moto rental agency, we opted for a small car rather than a scooter. The local consensus was that more rain was likely.
Naturally the weather cleared up and apart from a few drops on one of the mountain roads would have been perfect for riding. Still we had a great time and circumnavigated the entire island, covering more than 200km. One advantage of the car, was that Celeste could navigate while I drove. Signage on the roads was less than perfect, and on the bike we would have been forced to stop more frequently to check the map and probably would not have seen as much of the island as we did.
The cancerous growth of mass tourism is spreading down both coasts from Rhodes city. Lots of massive hotels for the first 20 or so Km's. Also plenty of signs of the downturn in the Greek economy, with abandoned construction sites and lots of half finished 'villas' along the beach front.
After you get past the tourist belt, the island retains much of its rural charm. At this time of the year - still green from the winter rains. Lots of olive groves and orchards, and in some of the more mountainous areas we passed through, vineyards & bee hives. In the mountains along the western coast - plenty of pine forest - where we stumbled on a hotel (Elafos Hotel), built by the Italians in 1929 -  that looked like a European alpine chalet. Apparently it was used as an Italian holiday resort and a military hospital by the Germans during WWII.
After returning the car we topped off the day with an excellent meal at Koukos cafe.
Tomorrow we will visit the Palace of the Grand Masters and the archeological museum. Our ferry (fingers crossed) departs at 4:30 pm, so we still have enough time to cross a few more things off our list.

1 comment:

  1. Bill doing the techie biz surrounded by beauty.