There are no marks left of the Colossus of Rhodes, built by the Greeks and noted as one
of the seven wonders of the ancient world. However, the Old Town is a gorgeous
medieval walled city with a network of pebble and stone streets crammed full of
souvenir, gold and clothing shops and lots of cafes.
There are a host of buildings dating from the 1300s when the Knights of the Order of St John took the city from the Genovese (who took it from the Byzantines, who took it from the Venetians …round up the usual suspects … and not forgetting the Romans, Goths and Greeks …
Rhodes old town has a number of beautiful museums – the Archaeological
museum, housed in the Hospital of the Knights (completed in 1489) and the
Palace of the Knights of St John; itʼs 300 rooms home to icons, manuscripts and
mosaics. Of course, Iʼve only read about these, as the museums were all closed
the day we were there!! However, I saw said places from the outside and just
walking around did not disappoint.
I stopped at a café and downed a coffee and baklava in the sun, while watching 3 cats stake each other out and perform acrobatic feats on a low stone wall … who needs museums anyway? During my peregrinations I managed to buy a very lovely pashmina (heaven
knows Iʼm down to my last dozen!) I returned to the ship via Platia Martyron
Evreon, the square of the Jewish martyrs, commemorating local Jews who were
taken to concentration camps in 1943 – only 50 of the 2000survived.
We practically pulled up in the main street of Chios (pronounced “hios”).
There is an esplanade, which follows the coastline in the town centre; I could have jumpedoff the boat straight into a café and not got my feet even remotely damp!! Chios is not a touristy island despite being in the eastern Aegean Sea and it is just 5 miles off the coast of Turkey. Homer and Hippocrates are allegedly from Chios – you
can see thereʼs not a hint of tourism there!
However, the day we were there appeared to be a non-school day, even though it was a weekday, and young people of secondary and tertiary school age were crowding the cafes and shops, all talking excitedly, pretty much all at once.
I visited the Archaeological Museum (donʼt say I donʼt have a cultural focus, no sir-ee!!) and enjoyed the wonders of it; itʼs quite remarkable to see such things in a regional museum.
View from the ship – you can see what I mean about close!
Well, welcome to tourist island! Despite being a hugely tourist dependent place,
Mykonos is actually very beautiful – itʼs white cube buildings, bougainvillea,
painted door and window frames of aqua, ox blood, yellow and pink, and
windmills all a delight to the senses. I walked through the narrow paved lanes
past private homes, trendy shops (and tourist shops), restaurants and cafes and
fellow passengers browsing!
I made my way to the famous windmills, but not before stopping at a lovely taverna and sat outside to drink my coffee and lose myself in the beauty of a huge pink bougainvillea which had a trunk like a tree.
After the windmills, I wondered about – bought some gifts – and made my way to
the beachfront. En route, I managed somehow to strike up a conversation with a
shopkeeper (Iʼm sure this attraction stems from my parents being wholesale
grocers!). He asked me where I was from. I said “Australia”. He said “yes, thatʼs
where you were born, but where do you live now?” I said "Australia – I live there."
He said “But you donʼt sound Australian”. I said, “Well, there you go. I can do
broad Australian if you like” (does impression of broad oz). He laughs –“ yes, you
can do it! “ So, I ask –“ are you from Mykonos or some other part of Greece?”
Answer: “I live half the year here and the other half in Brunswick!” (Thatʼs a
suburb of Melbourne, where Iʼm from). Amusement all round. Then he proceeds
to test me on my Greek, which is 5 words in all, but everyone seems to be
pleased that I have a go, and he declares the language test acceptable.
I decided I was a bit peckish after the linguistic and residential tests, so made my
way back to the beachfront where there were several very nice looking outdoor
cafes with views of brightly coloured boats and fishermen cleaning up after the morning's fish sales. Picked one, ordered eggplant salad, crusty bread, washed down with a very fine chilled rose … … felt no pain at all … …