The guy who stamped my passport when I arrived in Rhodes smiled and said “Welcome.”
Greeks are friendly. They may be impractical about business (the tourist offices are closed Saturday and Sunday!), but the people I have asked for directions are always helpful and smiling.
I arrived by ferry at 7:00 pm on Friday night without a hotel reservation but by 8:00, after asking people, I had a comfy, cheap pension room in the old town with secure bike storage. Stavros, the guy who owns the place and runs the bar below, is now a buddy. He worked for Boeing in Seattle for a number of years and returned to Greece to retire.
Rhodes has a long history and just about everyone has owned it and left a mark: the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Knights of St. John, the Ottomans, the Italians, and since WWII it is now Greek again. How the knights lost such a well-fortified city to the Ottomans is hard to understand; it must have been a long and very bloody battle. I guess if the attackers have time and resources, they can always win. Rather than bore you with history, I’ll just give you some photos below.
I depart Rhodes tomorrow (Monday) on a late afternoon ferry to Santorini (Thira). The ferry arrives at Santorini at 1:00 am and I have no hotel reservation. The ferry terminal is five km from the main town. Dark and hilly. I’m told there will be bus transport, taxis and people with hotel rooms for rent to meet the ferry. Another adventure. Thursday I go by ferry to Crete. I had originally planned to go directly from Rhodes to Crete on Tuesday, but when I went to buy a ticket today, I discovered the Crete ferry is full. Santorini is “plan B,” better than waiting until Sunday for the next ferry to Crete. Greece is turning out to be as unpredictable as I expected, but that’s part of the fun. Santorini is interesting so I decided to stay a few days.
After no cycling yesterday, I went for a 20 km ride today to make sure the legs don’t think they are on vacation. Great tail wind coming back. Effortless cruising the level parts at 25 kph. I’ll do a ride tomorrow with full kit as I check out of the pension in the morning. That will give the legs some punishment.
Souleiman Mosque from the clock tower
Part of the Acropolis outside of town. Completely destroyed by earthquakes, this bit is a reconstruction