Compact is the best label to describe the type of car we rented to cart around the four of us on Rhodes. After about 15 minutes of tetris packing the car I was not so sure we would get everything to fit with us in the car too! We finally all made it into the car with a couple of bags wedged in the back seat between my parents for the short drive to the Airbnb to drop off the bags. When we pulled in the driveway there were three ladies standing out front of the Airbnb and I thought they had just finished cleaning which was great timing! Turns out all three of them were locked out of the house which meant we couldn’t drop off our bags either before finding some lunch in the medieval town of Rhodes. We were able to leave a bag in one of the ladies’ cars so we could at least be less cramped on our drive to town. We were all very hungry and ready to find lunch and one of us was growing a bit hangry (cough*Lauren*cough) so I knew we needed to make a quick decision. I will never understand why some cultures think they need to hound you to look in their shop or eat at their restaurant, offering you the “best price” or waiving a menu in front of your face like your incapable of reading it for yourself. Greece was, in our experience, worse about this than Morocco!!! I made a quick decision for lunch and went to find Lauren on the street lined with empty restaurants where she was speaking French to the restaurant hounds in hopes that they would give up in hounding her. In hindsight my decision for lunch was definitely not the best with mediocre food and horrible service, no tip for you sir!
There is so much history packed into the streets of this fortified sea town. Starting around 1309 the Knight’s of St John of Jerusalem spent over 200 years transforming the city into a strong hold. Remnants form their work are visible all over the city with the 4km-long sea wall, Palace of the Grand Master, and the street of the Knights of St. John. Walking around the city really makes you feel like you are back in the medieval period or at a great renaissance fair!
Since we had to head back to the Airbnb to collect the keys, we decided to have dinner close by as getting into the town did take some effort. The vegan friendly options nearby were limited to one choice so that made it very simple! We showed up without reservations and were lucky to get the last open table which could have sat about ten people. The restaurant was a Mediterranean tapas style where the owner and her menu are true to herself. When we asked her if they had any hummus dishes available she told us “I no like hummus so I not make.” The food was so good that we went back a couple days later.
The next day we returned to Rhodes town to do some more exploring. Starting at the Palace of the Grand Master, we spent a couple hours just touring this enormous structure. The palace, founded in the 14th century, was home to the grand master responsible for leading the Order of Knights with the protection of the city. There were multiple countries represented by the grand masters over the years. While we walked through the palace, I could not stop wondering how much of the palace had lasted through the ages and how much had been restored because it was in such magnificent condition considering it’s age at 500 years.
After the palace we dragged my parents to yet another vegetarian restaurant, and they were great sports about it. Determined to get an answer about the restoration efforts of the Grand Master’s Palace, my Mom and I went into the archaeology museum, but it turned out to be a dead end as most of the displays were finds from elsewhere in Greece. Something we found amazing in the museum was the 4,000 year old jewelry that was on display from 2,000 BC. Our amazement was for their masterful skill in working with ornate piece of colored glass, gold, and stone. It was still bugging me so I did some research online and learned that extensive reconstruction had been performed all over the city by the Italians during their occupation (1912-1947) including the Palace of the Grand Master.
Before leaving the town we walked around the port and took in some beautiful views and gazed at the clear blue waters. On our way out of town we decided to buy a ticket and climb up the clock tower for the best view of the town. It was a pretty vantage point of the town and the Grand Masters Palace with the blue sea as the backdrop.
Lindos is on the south east of the island, about a two-hour drive, and boasts one of the nicest beaches with protected waters for swimming. We set out early with a full tank of gas, or so we hoped, since the needle hadn’t moved since we left the airport and got a bit of a surprise a few miles down the road when maps.me took us down a narrow windy gravel road to add a bit of fun to our day. Unsure of how much gas we truly had in the tank, scenarios ran through my head of us running out of gas on this barely traveled back road and walking miles to the gas station. As soon as we reached civilization again, I stopped to fill up the tank and confirmed our suspicions that the needle was a lazy one. We split ways with my parents when we reached town as Lauren and I had our hearts set on some beach time. Our parents explored the town and visited a small but ornate church that ended up being their favorite of the trip. The beach was more of a lagoon with shallow clear waters for the first hundred feet off shore. The sea floor was covered in some areas with little conch shells crawling about. We swam in the tepid waters and then lounged in the sun enjoying our books until my parents reappeared from the town. We headed back to pack up after our fill of the beach for our flight the next day.
Rhodes town entertained us for one more morning before returning to the airport for our flight. In the airport we stood puzzled, looking for our check-in counter. Finally, I gave up and went to seek help who told me we were too early to check in for our flight. Peculiar response since our flight was scheduled to take off in about an hour, or so we thought. Turns out they decided to cancel our flight and put us on the last one of the day 3 hours later and didn’t think we deserved to be informed of the change. Don’t ever fly Sky Express Airlines if you can help it, they did this to both flights we booked with them. This delay also screwed up our check-in plans for our Airbnb on Crete as our host could not be present and left the keys with a neighbor. After our two hour drive at night we arrived in the neighborhood of our Airbnb and called the host for specific directions to the apartment. She did not speak English very well and was not much help in finding the place. We parked and split up to walk around the area to find the Airbnb and after about 20 minutes of running around the dark neighborhood I recognized the porch from the pictures and yelled up to the neighbor standing on the porch to get us in. It was past 10pm when we got in, and we had not eaten dinner, but our host had graciously left dinner for us in the oven. Right after we ate my Dad, Lauren, and I went out in search of some much-needed beer to bring back.