Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Rodos log 2: the Old City

While we were walking around the harbour area the previous night, I picked up a leaflet for a hop-on hop-off tour around Rhodes city: this is exactly what we wanted, but for some reason, our landlady was unaware of it. I could see from the map that there was a pickup point quite near us, although exactly how near wasn't clear. I woke up at about 5:40 am and went out for a walk: the first port of call was to see how to get to this pickup point ... five minutes away on a street behind us, next to the sea. After walking there, I then walked back via a different route, in effect retracing our steps from the previous day, putting everything into context, filming here and there and looking closely at street names. I discovered that we are staying at a different address from what I had been led to believe: at the corner of Fanouraki and Ammochostou.

After breakfast, we walked to the Blue Sky Hotel, which is the bus pickup, and waited. We arrived a minute after the published departure time of the first bus, but don't worry: the bus was a few minutes late. Tickets are 12 euro each, which is a reasonable price. Apart from us, there was only one other couple on board. We set off for another pickup point, then doubled back to get to the Aquarium, which is at the northern-most point of the island - one of the places that we intended to visit. From here, the bus cut through to the port area, where we had been the previous evening, and then onto the old city - stop number seven.

Here we alighted. The idea was to cover as much of the market streets as possible before being overwhelmed by the surge from the two large tourist ships docked in harbour (one of which being Israeli). This plan worked to a certain extent, in that the first streets that we walked through were almost deserted, but soon we met the surge: this was because we were entering from one gate whereas they were entering from another gate, and so we met in the middle. This picture shows that we were the first to arrive at this fountain.

By the time we arrived at the next fountain, the roads were already crowded and the restaurant barkers were in full voice, despite it not yet being 10am. Fortunately, the barker in the picture was silent, but there were others who compensated for him (also the parrot). After several more shops and about half an hour, we decided that we had seen enough and that it was time for a drink. We stopped at a cafe which was quiet and ordered a milkshake; "small, medium or large?" was the question. I plumped for a large banana milkshake as I was thirsty: big mistake. I should have asked to see what each size was like (and how much it cost) before ordering. The "large" milkshake was huge - the waiter told me afterwards that it contained 1.5 litres of milk!! It was also very expensive - 20 euros. It also filled us up so much that we had no need to eat lunch, which is probably just as well. In fact, even by evening I was still feeling full.

This cafe turned out to be right next to the entrance by which the day tourists had entered, so we were shortly out of the old city. We visited Rodos about ten years ago when we were on a cruise, for a few hours in the evening: this is where we entered the old city. Once outside, we walked around the wall, going back to the pickup point, where we waited for a few minutes in the brutal sunshine. Along came the bus and off we went. After the next stop (the tourist harbour), the bus drove around the southern part of Rodos town, which is less interesting but probably the only reasonable way of getting to the Acropolis, which is a high hill at the back which apparently allows a view of the southern part of the island. We didn't get off as it was very hot.

The bus continued on its journey, reaching the western coast, then traveled north, passing the first and second pickup points on its way. This road is full of hotels, which is why the bus passes here. We didn't get off at point number two, but instead continued again until the Aquarium, where we did get off. This being underground, it was cool, providing a respite from the heat. The aquarium itself was disappointing: whilst the exhibits - and fish - were good, there simply weren't very many of them. 

From here, we waited for the bus again, did a complete round trip, got off at pickup point 2, walked home and collapsed in the shower. It was now gone 3pm. After resting, I did a quick food run, then showered again. We intended to eat dinner early, but got waylaid by our landlady's mother who talked to us for about half an hour; whilst the personal touch is very nice, it wasn't particularly what we wanted to do. 

We went to the same nearby restaurant where we had eaten the day before, this time ordering lamb chops (wife) and chicken souvlaki. Whilst the food was very good, the service was also very slow: when we asked about this, we were told that the food is cooked over charcoal (which we knew) and apparently takes longer to cook than in a frying pan (which we didn't know). Tell this to the hordes of Israelis who cook over barbecues on Independence Day! 

We didn't leave the restaurant until 9pm, me smashing a plate by accident on the way out - but hey! it's a Greek restaurant, where plates are smashed on purpose later on in the evening. Our original plans for the evening had been ruined by the time, but I hoped that at least we could save one thing: booking some tours at the tour operator shop which was a minute's walk from the restaurant. Fortunately this was still open, so we booked trips for the next coming days. This required a little flexibility as not every trip runs every day.

See you at the Blue Sky Hotel at 8:55 tomorrow morning for the pickup.

No comments: