Playing Tourist on Rhodes

First rains - we woke up to a showery Tuesday with lots of thunderstorms hovering around but no serious downpours.  

On Wednesday I went to Rhodes for the day and played tourist in the Old Town.  This is the big mosque at the top of Socrates street, at the top end of the Old Town.

Looking down Socrates street towards the harbour. This is the main shopping street in the Old Town.  Rhodes Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and behind the tourist tat there are some amazing old buildings.

Like this one, for example.

And this old Ottoman coffee shop with its pebbled floors and bric a brac. This style of coffee shop with its high vaulted roof, straight-backed chairs and walls lined with memorabilia is found throughout the old Ottoman empire and could be anywhere from Cairo and Jerusalem to Damascus and Istanbul. The uniquely Rhodian feature is the pebble floor.

At the bottom, looking through a ruined church and an Old Town gate at a glimpse of the sea.

Some of the ruins in Rhodes Old Town are of archaeological interest.  Others are ancient ramshackle buildings in which people are eking out a living.  The side streets beyond the cruise ship visitors and tourist crowds reveal the realities of a frugal life with no funds to indulge in authentic restorations or gentrification.

Here is an example of what I mentioned above.  In the foreground is an archaeological excavation of a Byzantine church.  In the background is a lovingly restored 19th century town house.  In between there is someone, probably an elderly woman judging by the washing line, living in a partially ruined building.

The view from the balcony of room 303 at the Hermes hotel in Mandraki.

The Italian Art Deco fish market in the Nea Agora, Mandraki.

Guardians of the gold - spotted inside the Nea Agora, Mandraki
Tuesday's rainy day marked the start of autumn and although it was still hot walking around Rhodes on Wednesday, there is now a brisk north wind blowing and temperatures are firmly in the twenties.  Rhodes is busy, mainly with Russian package holiday tourists and cruise ship passengers.  Mandraki harbour, however, which used to be popular with the yachting fraternity, is empty with only a few locally owned motor boats in evidence and there were no megayachts berthed in Kolonna.

September on Symi is always the month for the island's many regular British, Scandinavian and German visitors and there are a lot of familiar faces around.  It is a good month for those who aren't tied to school holidays and want to avoid the heat of high summer.  We are still taking last minute bookings for late September and October so it looks as though this year Symi will be busier in October than it was in April and May. We have now also opened booking for 2017.

Have a good weekend.


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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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