General information of Rhodes
The island of Rhodes is, after Crete, Evia and Lesbos, the largest Greek island and, along Sicilly and Cyprus, one of the great islands of the Mediterranean.
Rhodes is a country unto itself, and in the years before tourism, it was easily self-sufficient. It lies almost exactly halfway between Piraeus and Cyprus, 18 km off the coast of Asia Minor, and it was long considered a bridge between Europe and the East.
Geologically similar to Turkish mainland, it was probably once a part of it, separated by one of the frequent volcanic upheavals this volatile region has experienced.
Rhodes saw successive waves of settlement, culminating with the arrival of the Dorian Greeks from Argos and Laconia sometime early in the first millennium BC. They settled in Ialyssos, Lindos and Kameiros and together with Dorians from Kos, and from Knidos and Halicarnassos in Asia Minor, formed a ring of loose confederation, later known as the Hexapolis (Six Cities).
The Rhodes has a rich and interesting history, but, for me, the most interesting is about Knights.
Rhodes was a crucial stop on the road to the Holy Land during the Crusades. It came briefly under Venetian influence, then Byzantine, then Genoese, but in 1309., when the Knights of St. John took the city from the Genoese masters, its most glorious modern era began.
Grand Master's Palace
The imposing building of the Old Town used to be the headquarters of the leader of the Knights of Saint John as well as a fortress.
Built in 14th century.
Two storey-building with an internal courtyard.
During the Turkish period it was destroyed and then rebuilt.
Nowadays, the palace is a museum.
Creatures of Rhodes
As with the rest of the Mediterranean, Rhodes is abundant in wildlife ranging from millions of tiny little ants to massive lizards, and no matter where you go on Rhodes you are sure to encounter something you have never seen before!
If you look hard enough, you will definitely find something interesting!
According to our road map, Glifada cove had a beach so after seeing Monolithos and Siana we decided it was time for some seaside R&R.
The road along the lower slopes of the massive Mount Ataviros was one of the finest routes we drove, through pine trees and past scenic overlooks. Pulling off the main road to reach Glifada, we had a pleasant descent along many curves which was not nearly as sphincter-clenching a road as at Monolithos or Butterfly Valley. Along the way are fields and groves overlooked by small shacks where the farmers live during the harvest.
We were disappointed to see no sand when we reached the coast, just a jumble of huge sea-sprayed rocks. However, there was a taverna with a few tables lined up under some pine trees above the shore. The lack of sand and sun was made up for with the friendly welcome we received from our host, a tasty plate of fat sun-ripened tomatoes and the antics of the adorable kittens who coaxed scraps of feta cheese off us. The taverna host placed a plate of treats out on the ground and complained to us: 'Too many cats!'.
We had a true 'pinch me, I'm dreaming' kind of moment sitting atop the sea wall in the shade of the pines, looking over the water to the islands offshore, whilst listening to the surf and the breeze. Bliss!
A bit further down a rocky road amid sun-blasted grass and dusty cars we saw a chimney smoking away. A sign out front said 'We show you how Suoma is made' (the local liquor). Who knows, maybe it's a life-changing experience but at the time we couldn't be tempted out of our air-conditioned car to stand in front of a furnance.
The turn-off for Glifada is about halfway between Kritinia and Siana on the main highway along the west coast.
Bus Tickets and Journeys
ts a bit confusing as sometimes you buy a ticket before you get on the bus, sometimes a return and others a single only and sometimes you can only pay on the bus! However there are kiosks staffed by friendly english speaking greeks to help out and the timetables are available too - copies of timetable can be obtained from the nearby tourist office. I found they pretty well run to schedule and were mostly air conditioned. Prices varied acording to distance for example Lindos was 3.70 euros each way and Faliraki was 1.70 euros each way. Not expensive and often passed through some of the smaller villages en route too which was interesting to see - although the bus we caught to Tsambika did a tour around all the hotel s of Kolymbia and took ages to get there!