Part 8 - Rhodes
Rhodes was one of the two ports that were added due to the change of itinerary. We didn’t mind, as the year before we had much enjoyed the city of Rhodes with its medieval walls and streets dating back to the age of chivalry. Also, after all the days of sightseeing we found it relaxing to visit a place where we could just walk around and enjoy the beautiful things along the way. Linda and Pete joined us again, so we enjoyed good company on top.
Last year I had downloaded and printed a map for a walking tour from www.tomsportguides.com. The tour was ideal to be repeated with our friends.
After breakfast we walked from the cruise port along the bay towards the ancient port of Mandraki, following the impressive city walls and past the Marine Gate.
We found the colorful fishing boat again, which sold sponges, clams, wind chimes and all sorts of odds and ends, which looked so beautiful on a photo.
Along the many piers with tour boats offering trips to Lindos, snorkeling excursions or tours on glass bottom boats, we reached the ancient port of Mandraki. Accoring to legend, this is where the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is said to have stood. Nowadays, the spot at the port entrance is marked by the statues of a stag and a doe - Elafos and Elafina, the animals on the emblem of Rhodes.
At the port you can’t miss the magnificently decorated Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (Evangelismos), where we stopped for a brief visit.
On the opposite side of the promenade we walked back towards the old town and came past the „New Market“ Nea Agora. The building of the new market looks like a mosque and hosts various stalls and shops as well as restaurants, cafes and taverns.
Through the „Liberty Gate“ we entered the old town and, like last year, felt like entering a different era.
Even today, the pebble-paved streets and the houses with their thick stone walls give you the impression of being in a medieval castle.
From here, the Street of the Knights runs in a straight line all the way to the Grandmaster's Palace.
Located to the left and right are the lodges or inns of the various „tongues“ of the knight’s orders, decorated with the coats of arms of the Grandmasters. These inns were a place to stay for Knights of St. John from other parts of Europe when visiting the Grandmaster’s Palace. The term “tongue” describes the seven administrative units of the Order of the Knights of St. John: Provence, France, Auvergne, England, Aragon, Italy and Germany. The Street of the Knights is the only late medieval residential street in Europe, which has been fully preserved.
It is always worthwhile taking a look at the little courtyards and the many small details on the walls and doors.
At the end of the street we reached the Palace of the Grandmaster, now home to the Archaeological Museum.
Behind the Palace lies Opheus Street with its many shops and taverns. An ideal spot for us to have a break and a cold drink.
Refreshed, we continued on our way past the bell tower towards the Turkish Library. This building dates back to the 18th century and offers an exhibition of numerous Turkish, Persian and Arabic manuscripts and books, including, among others, Koran manuscripts from the 15th/16th century.
Through the alleyways with beautiful details we reached the St. Athanasios Gate, through which we left the old town.
We followed the mighty city walls on the outside as far as the next gate, through which we re-entered the old town. It takes various bridges and gates until you are actually inside, which is an impressive demonstration of how much effort the Knights had put into their protection against the Turkish enemy at the time.
This part of the town of Rhodes is less touristy but just as beautiful: narrow alleys, residential houses, a few shops and taverns.
Via Pythagoras Street we finally reached Hippocrates Square with its Owl Fountain and many restaurant terraces on the upper floors.
At the Archipelagos restaurant we found a table with an excellent view of the lively square and enjoyed lunch break with delicious Greek food. We had a lot of fun again, and time went by far too quickly.
After our leisurely lunch break, we continued without any hurry on the road past the seahorse fountain at the end of which we came across the ruins of Panagia tou Brougou church from the 14th century.
At the gate of the Virgin Mary we left the old town and ended our tour. At the beach in front of it, Birgit and Linda wanted to dip their feet in the sea. In water, the women cut a better figure, but in port Pete was the knight in shining armor...
It goes without saying that we remained loyal to our daily routine and enjoyed the Sail Away at the Sunset Bar and met again at the Sky Lounge after dinner. When we were on our way to bed, we passed the Solarium which had been turned into a Miami Beach style night club. But even the mermaids in the pool couldn’t keep us from our bed rest so well deserved after all the walking we had done that day.
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