After our four heavenly days in Rhodes Town we caught the local bus south about 30 miles south to the town of Lindos on the southeast coast of Rhodes Island. It’s got the standard history of the area – Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Knights of St. John, Ottoman, Italian, and finally Greek again – and a massive acropolis standing sentinel over the town and bay.
The old town is a cute little warren of tiny winding steets – pedestrian ways these days, and presumably always insofar as no car could ever fit through – packed with restaurants, shops, and bars. There aren’t so many hotels, though, and given that we’re making our plans a few days in advance while others plan months or a year in advance, our options were the larger beach resorts somewhat out of town. Our days, then, consisted of days at our beach a bit out of town, and then going into town for cocktails and dinner.All in all, it worked well, though overwhelmingly we prefer to stay in town rather than out at a resort. I had hours to work my way through a Ken Follett novel and then could still go into town for a little civilization. We had a few amusing experiences while searching out decent cocktails. In one bar we taught the bartender to make pretty good Manhattans and got to talking with him. While he told us he was Lithuanian, we soon discovered he had to be ethnic Russian. Now, we’ve spent time in Lithuania – we toured a museum of Soviet occupation and hiked to the site of the Bloody Sunday battle that led to independence – and there’s no great love lost for their time as part of the Soviet Union, but he was really trying to convince us that the Lithuanians were lucky to have been part of the USSR. Sure enough, when Mark asked he said that he was half Russian and half Polish. His attitude, though, drives home the very real risk that Lithuania faces from an overly adventurous Vladimir Putin, when he can claim that Lithuanians want a greater Russian presence. The other cocktail stories were more amusing. After listening to Lithuanian history from a Russian perspective we decided to try another bar the next night. I asked the bartender if he could make a gin martini – we go really basic until and unless we have reason to believe they can do things more complicated – and he said sure, he could do that. As he was mixing the drinks he observed that they were out of olives. I did a double take and asked him incredulously “You’re out of olives — in Greece?!?” Strange but true.
Finally, one night after dinner we were walking back to the the taxi stand to get back to our hotel and walked past a lively bar playing loud music. Now, we rarely stop out after dinner but I told Mark as we were walking past “If they were playing ABBA we’d go in.” Sure enough, within seconds and before we were out of earshot, we heard “Voulez Vous” and we pretty much had to go in. To add to the surreal quality we met a fun couple from Britain’s Isle of Man and chatted for the rest of the night. Actually, we only really talked with her. He was originally from remote, northern Scotland and we simply could not understand a word he said. He’d been drinking and the music was loud so the environment was unforgiving. Our sense, though, was that while officially we spoke the same language, communication was utterly hopeless. Fast forward to 1 AM, the music goes off, and we’ve closed the place down. That never happens!
We thought we were done with Rhodes and caught a morning bus back to Rhodes Town to catch a boat to Kos, another island in the Dodecanese Islands. When we got to the port at 10 AM or so, though, we were told that our boat had been canceled for mechanical problems. It had never quite occurred to me that that could happen on a boat, but they said we could still get on a 5 PM boat. OK, but what are we going to do for six or seven hours, especially when we have our luggage with us? I had images of just sitting around a café hour after hour, waiting for our boat.Mark had a better idea though: go back to our favorite restaurant on our favorite beach in town and ask if we can store our bags and have lunch there. Sure, they said, no problem. So we had one more great day on a beach we love, one more lunch in a beach restaurant we love, and one more bottle of that great Rhodes rosé wine we really love.
So now we’re really done with Rhodes, a fabulous island. Spending a few days at the beach resort was good, but it reiterated our strong preference for staying in town, not out of town. Off to Kos!