Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Rodos log 3: Filerimos and the Valley of Butterflies

The day's primary event was a trip to a hill called Filerimos, then continuing on to "The valley of butterflies". We reported, as requested, to the Blue Sky hotel pickup point by 8:50, even though the minibus only came about ten minutes later. We had to wait about 15 minutes before leaving as apparently someone had booked but not turned up. When we did start, we traveled on the road to the airport.

Filerimos is a hill overlooking Rodos town: there is a monastery which we did not visit, and about 1000 peacocks/peahens wandering around the grounds. The major point of the trip is the views: one overlooking Rodos (although this is one is hard to get as vegetation gets in the way), and one over the southern part of the island, along with the western coast. Apparently the site is popular with young people who go there to get married. We were given an hour to spend there, which is probably just right if one goes to the monastery, but otherwise is far too long.

After returning to the airport road, we continued traveling for another half hour or so, past the airport and on to the Valley of Butterflies. This was not quite what we had been led to believe: first there was a 1km continually ascending hike through dense woodland, with a stream and waterfall on one side. The path was mainly cobbled stones, making the walking hard. The only wildlife which I saw was two goats; I did frequently stop and look for butterflies, but I could see none. Eventually the part ceased and I arrived at a large open space - a cafe. There were paths which lead to another monastery but again, I didn't enter.

In the wasteland behind the cafe - some natural open land - I eventually saw some butterflies; at first I jokingly thought that there was only one, flying around, but eventually I saw some more - maybe five in all. After this, I decided to retrace my steps and return to the parking area.

I was very disappointed in this trip, but didn't see the disappointment reflected in other people's face - there were plenty of other people, although the place was not crowded. This is like a psychological experiment: people are told to visit here, so they visit, but they won't admit that they didn't enjoy themselves. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

Coming back to town at 2pm, we rested for a while, then went into the Old City via the  Gate D'amboise, which is in the north west corner, only a few minutes from our flat. At first I was very taken by the architecture, which is the palace of the Knights, dating from the fourteenth century, but my appreciation was sorely tempered by the fact that almost every available space was taken by either stalls selling more and more tat or by restaurants. Our "entrance area" had only a few people, but by the time we entered Socratous Street, the area was crowded. I was enjoying myself less and less.

Eventually I managed to navigate out of the maze, to an exit by the harbour. Just before existing, I chanced upon a music shop, selling bazoukis and other instruments. The name of the shop is Sakellaridis and the address is 9 Museum Square. The cheapest "real" bazouki costs 85 euro (although the proprietor is willing to give a discount for cash) whereas a toy bazouki can be bought for 35 euro. These prices are a bit too much for me, so I decided to compromise on a karimba and some pan pipes. My grand-daughter should have fun with the karimba.

From the harbour exit, it was only a short walk back to the modern harbour area which we know; we stopped for some refreshment then walked back to the flat. There was plenty of potential today but all in all, rather disappointing.

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