You really can't complain about the view of Pedi Harbor frrom our room.
There was something wonderfully chill and relaxing about the place; though I had a hard time falling asleep because it was so quiet.
And for some reason we were famished.....
And I do enjoy tomatoes and cucumbers with breakfast.
After breakfast we took a walk and sat in front of the general store watching folks going to church. As it got a bit hotter we headed back to the room, showered, checked out, and caught the bus back to Gialos. Somehow, time had passed quickly and we were getting a bit hungry. So we walked along the waterfront and alleyways looking for a place to eat.
Most looked like tourist traps and we weren't inspired by the looks of the food. We decided to head back to Taverna Trata, where we had a pretty good meal the day before. The gentleman running the front of house recognized us and was happy to see us back. No, we didn't order any Symi Shrimp this time, something I kind of regret, but we did have a decent meal anyway.
The Missus really enjoyed the garlicky eggplant salad the last time, so we started with that.
I decided to try some Taramasalata - Cod Roe Dip, looking quite pretty in pink. At least it didn't have too much food coloring.
This was a likable version. Not too fishy, slightly smokey flavor, more creamy that gritty, perhaps a bit on the salty side, but this was much better than many versions I've had.
This, while not the best, was still filling and tasty.
By this point we were joined by a local resident......
Like all of the tavernas in the area, Trata has a fish case, so we decided to get a grilled fish....
Nicely grilled, well seasoned, crisp skin.......
Taverna Trata Near the bottom of the Kali Strata steps Gialos, Greece
We still had a good amount of time before our ferry arrived, so we decided to head on over to the other side of the harbor, passing the clock tower which guards the harbor.
There's no denying just how picturesque Gialos Harbor is. Every shot is postcard material here.
Once past a couple of shops and bars, you start seeing a bit more of the residential side of the colorful harbor.
As we reached the other end of the harbor, the Missus noticed a church up on the hill. She decided to walk on up to check it out.
Me, well, I was feeling a bit hot and bothered so I decided to have a nice cup of coffee, check email, and I even got a post done.
And while the Missus got some pretty good photos from up on the hill.
I had a table at the waters edge, where the view wasn't too bad either......
Soon enough, the Missus returned, our boat arrived, and before you knew it, we were headed back to Rhodes. We enjoyed our time on Symi. It gave us just the short break we needed, a diversion, after which we were ready to continue on........
I think breaks like this during trips lasting multiple weeks are a must; at least for us.
It gets a bit hot in the afternoons on Symi. Folks fill their time by catching the water taxi, finding a beach, getting some sun, or taking a nice little nap like us.
Waking up to a view like this ain't too shabby.....
We especially needed a nap after the filling lunch we had earlier. After waking we just hung around the area, taking a seat in front of the tiny store on the waterfront, watching the locals return after work, socializing....... the pace is truly slow and laid back here.
So while the interior of the hotel seemed a but drab, with a certain amount of "geriatricness" to it, it was all balanced out by the rather sedate surroundings.
Earlier in the day, while taking our walk, we noticed this covered "pier". There were tables and chairs set-up making it look like a make-shift a fresco dining area.
We initially had thought of heading back to Gialos for dinner, but decided to walk on over to the pier, to find all the tables made up and a grill heated and ready to go. We thought this would make for a really nice dinner.
After all, there was no one else around except us, the staff, and most of all, the view.
There was a certain stillness, as if time stands still here on Pedi Beach, barely a whisper of a breeze.
The menu was full of Greek Isle standards, grilled seafood and kebabs. The cooked food, drinks, and other items came from the building across the street. The grilled food....from well, the grill of course.
We started with the eggplant, which was nicely seasoned, with a bit more umph than the usual.... the folks running the grill looked Turkish. I may be wrong, but considering the fact that Rhodes is about an hour ferry trip from Mamaris and Symi just a short ride from Rhodes.....
The one item I got excited about on the menu were the Symi Shrimp.
Even though I'd had almost two full plates to myself earlier in the day, I just wanted more. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, these had the condensed shrimp flavor....think of the intense savoriness of dried shrimp, in a sweet, light, and crunchy form. These were so good.
The grilled octopus looked tough, but wasn't bad by any means.
We threw in the towel after this.....we'd had quite a meal for lunch and this filled us up.
Things were nicely finished by the complementary fruit plate.
By now, several of the tables were taken, which was our que to head back to the room.
The moon was rising over the mountains and we took our sweet time walking back to the room.
Earlier in the day I'd taken a photo of a sign on one of the buildings. Perhaps this used to be a bakery? I thought about the sign as we walked back to our room. Thinking about that little slogan on the drawing, I made up my own version of it; "life is my cake......you have to take a bite and savor the sweetness and richness of it."
Not bad for someone who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, huh?
For our trip to Istanbul and Rhodes, I really wasn't sure what to do. So I started reading through things and the words, "the most beautiful harbor in the Greek Islands" popped out at me. The harbor is named Gialos and the Island Symi. Once the home to master ship builders.....the "Argo" the ship used by Jason and the Argonauts was supposedly built on Symi.
Now we could have easily just done a day trip....but I decided why not stay on this island with a population of 2500....and not even in the main city, but on the other side of the island....in a little fishing village named Pedi Beach? Which is how we took the ferry and arrived on the island of Symi with a boat load of day-trippers.
When they say that Gialos Harbor is the most beautiful in the Greek Islands, they aren't kidding....
The vivid colored buildings lining the mountains contrasts with the blue waters in the harbor to create a dramatic and romantic backdrop. The clock tower, named Roloi guards the harbor.
After disembarking the boat, we wandered a bit looking for the "bus" to take us to Pedi beach, eventually finding it near the South side of the harbor. We were off to Pedi Beach.....
The bus actually drives on the side of the harbor, right along the deep blue Mediterranean,which is a bit disconcerting as it looks like you'll be treading water at any moment. It then maneuvered it's way up then down the winding roads of mountain, some that seemed scarcely wide enough to hold the bus. At the end of the line you end up at Pedi Beach and if you're staying there, the Pedi Beach Hotel.
The Missus took a look around; all the occupants seemed to be older couples, many of which were tanning on the lounges in front of the hotel or couples with kids......asking me, "so, this is where we're staying huh?"
And the actual "beach" seemed to be a tiny spit of something...which wasn't quite sand about 10 yards long in front of the hotel. "So, this is the beach, huh?"
And yet; there was something quite idyllic about this place..... in spite of all the people there was a kind of quiet.
I'd gotten us a superior room, which had a wonderful view of the harbor. You had no choice but to decompress looking out from the deck.
We'd definitely get in a quiet night here, but that would have to wait, as we unloaded and the Missus decided we'd head back to Gialos for lunch.
We caught the bus back and had them drop us at the top of mountain. We'd walk down taking in the view of Gialos Harbor all the way.
I'd say this might be the most beautiful harbor in the Greek Isles, what do you think?
We wandered about peeking into the tavernas that dotted the harbor. Most were rather uninspiring....mostly expensive tourist fare.
For some reason, it was this little taverna a bit away from the water's edge near all the jewelry shops, that caught our attention. Named Taverna Trata (Trawler), maybe it was the little rough around the edges look of the place, perhaps it was the two tables of what looked like locals eating here. But something drew us to the place.
It did have the look of many of the other tourist type tavernas, with plates of prepped ready-to-go-in-a-minute seafood dishes.
But the place was just a bit more quiet and relaxed, so we decided to have lunch here....
This is Greece, right? So of course we started things off with some of the house wine...it was pretty warm so we went with the house white, dutifully delivered in the standard tin cup.
We started off with the house version of Eggplant Salad. Not bad, lots of garlic flavor, better than we expected. This seemed to revive us in a way.
The Missus is a big fan of Horta, the boiled wild greens.
This was nice, not over done and mushy, still a bit firm, lightly seasoned, quite good with a squeeze of lemon.
I was interested in how Mediterranean Urchin would taste. These were small, a very bright, almost orange color. Doused in olive oil, the flavor was more briney than I was used too....not quite as sweet as well. The texture was much more mushy....
Then came something both the Missus and I had heard about, Symi Shrimp.
These tiny shrimp are a local delicacy in Symi and now I know why. The shells are thin, but firm and really crisps up nicely. The shrimp have an amazing, almost condensed shrimp flavor and sweetness. Seasoned simply with salt and pepper, man, these were so good, you just pop them in your mouth and crunch away to your hearts content.
The Eggplant Imam, stuffed eggplant had nice seasoning.
The tanginess from the tomato paste, nice black pepper, onions adding a bit of crunch and sweet-pungency. Though the skin was really tough, the flavors were nice.
And for dessert???? Are you kidding me? Another plate of Symi Shrimp of course!
The tall, husky, fellow running the front of the house was a man of few words, but very nice.....he laughed when we ordered more Symi Shrimp, "very good....very good, huh?"
Very good indeed!
Taverna Trata Near the bottom of the Kali Strata steps Gialos, Greece
Mission completed, we headed back to Pedi Beach. It was time for a nap!
After having our (first) lunch at Mavrikos in Lindos, we backtracked and then took a side road. Our destination, the beautiful coast and the quiet village of Stegna.
Compared to Lindos and Rhodes Town, this was a peaceful, relaxing piece of paradise.
At the end of the road was a Taverna that Vassos, from the Saint Michel recommended to us named Antonis.
There's a ton of charm and the folks here are very friendly. However, we really found the food to be bland, and not prepared well. It was also our most expensive meal on Rhodes at over 70 Euros.
The Octopus was just grilled to death and rubbery.
The fish was not seasoned, not grilled very well......and cost us 50 Euros to boot.
It was really weird, like the grill wasn't hot enough, the skin of the fish like rubber...... such a beautiful fish....ruined.
We were finding that getting a nice meal on Rhodes was kind of tough......
Still, it was a nice, very relaxing change of pace.
Antonis Stegna, Rhodes, Greece
We drive back to Rhodes Town and returned our rental car. As evening got closer, the cruise ships left, and Rhodes Town again became quiet.
We took a walk up and down the back streets of Rhodes Town, away from the main tourist sites....where the residents of Old Town lived.
We'd had two lunches and decided on just chilling. We stopped by one of the little shops and bought a bottle of wine......Chris had given me a list of nice drinking wines to try. We also saw some stuff being stocked on the shelves of the little market and the Missus was thrilled. It was one of Her favorite things from our time in Crete......Cretan Rusk (twice baked bread). We also brought some cheese. Funny, we even brought back some rusk all the way from Rhodes....and it was still good.
We settled in on the patio of our room, which we called "the penthouse", since it was situated on the roof of the Saint Michel....we had the whole place to ourselves.
As the sun started to set, we could tell it was going to be a great one.....
One of the most beautiful I've ever seen....and I've seen my share.
Maybe we'd been a bit underwhelmed by the food on Rhodes, but man.......this was worth it all. A priceless sunset, which just set everything right.
We got to sleep early.......we had a boat to catch the next morning.
Much like we did in Crete, since Rhodes was a rather large island, we decided to rent a car. After manuevering the vehicle out of the Old Town we headed off Southeast. Our destination? The town of Lindos, birthplace of Charis who built the Colossus of Rhodes. I had read that Lindos was quite unique and it was easy to see why, even from a distance.
Remember the old joke about never being able to find a location whenever someone says "you can't miss it".....well, in this case it's true. You really can't miss this place. Towering over the town of about 1,000 is the Acropolis of Lindos.
It becomes obvious, even at a glance, why Lindos was one of the most important cities on the island in ancient times. Both the Acropolis, built on a rock towering almost 400 feet over the village and the rather calm natural harbor, along with its location on the Eastern side of the island made it a perfect location for trade with people like the Phoenicians.
We decided to stop in Lindos and grab our first lunch. I found osme parking a bit outside of town and we walked into the village.
The village itself is tourist central. Lindos is the second most popular tourist destination on the island. While walking along the small streets and alleyways, past the white washed houses, you'll undoubtedly come across packs of donkeys ferrying tourists up to the Acropolis. I really felt sorry for the poor donkeys....I saw several carrying really large tourists up the hill.
I actually thought I'd soon be trudging up that hill. But no, much like what happened with saying "no to Knossos", the Missus decided that we'd seen enough........
As we headed toward the central square, the bell tower of the Church of Assumption squarely in sight, the Missus pulled into a jewelry shop. Much like Chania, the Missus decided that She wanted some ear rings....I guess we were developing our own traditions.
So while the young man in the shop and I discussed recycling, Greece, and what was even more funny; the 80's music blaring through the shop (this kid was in his early 20's) "I love 80's, the best music, they don't make music like this anymore"...sounds like something I'd say, the Missus found a pair of ear rings She wanted.
Mission accomplished, a tradition lives on.....
Talking about 30 year old music really made me hungry so we asked directions to a restaurant that had been recommended to us; Mavrikos.
Located in the really busy bus and taxi stop, we were told that Mavrikos was once considered on of the best restaurants in Greece.
The place looked really nice, white tablecloths and all. The customers were undoubtedly tourists. The menu spanned everything from Spaghetti Bolognese to Tabbouli to more interesting stuff like youvesti with beef (a traditional beef stew).
I really felt for the staff here, customers wanting pizza and burgers, folks walking in the door using the restrooms....
We kept it simple and light, there were plans for a second lunch in the works.
The Missus, like She always does ordered the horta, one of Her favorite things in the world.
Which was cooked to death as it always is. The flavor was pretty good, almost like collards.
And a routine Greek Salad.
This version had capers which added a nice briney touch.
Pretty boring, eh? I was famished and decided to order the Slow Cooked Belly of Pork in Grape Syrup.
This was an interesting dish. You could tell that a lot of this had been prepped way ahead of time and quickly put together for service. The rice was really bad. If undercooked rice was a crime, the person who made this should get the death penalty. The pork belly, though it was only lukewarm, was decent, not overcooked and mushy, perhaps a bit under what I'd appreciate, but still full of pork flavor. The grape sauce made the dish, slightly sweet and fruity, with a touch of astringency and acid, it balanced out the fattiness of the pork. Of course, as with most places in Europe, a pig tastes like a pig. Definitely not cheap at almost 16 Euros, but better than just about everything I'd had in Rhodes so far.
We headed back to the car, the Missus smiling at Her bounty, me trying to remember what the car looked like.........
I still remember that conversation with the young man in the shop......there were a few songs before this one, but following it, I had to comment on the 80's music. I remember being mesmerized by the video when it first came out. It's still a favorite of mine.
I know I'm old.........but I still love this video. If you've ever wondered about the girl in the video, there's more here.
We'd been enjoying our time in Rhodes Town, ut had yet to experience what I'd call a good, solid meal. For dinner we decided to head past the Hora, now quiet after the tourists and day trippers had left and head out to the area called the "New Market".
Since things had been fairly plus/minus in he Old Town, we decided to try our luck out here. The New Agora seemed a bit touristy, full of fast food and tourist fare. But a little bistro-ish ouzerie named Indigo caught our eye.
We found the super bright and loud colors a bit gaudy...and yet charming in its own way. It was so somewhat tacky that it looked quaint and interesting.
The prices weren't bad and this place just looked so different from the others that we had to stop here.
We started with a favorite of the Missus; the Fava Skordalia.
The flavor was right on, nice and beany, perfect amount of salt and seasoning. The texture however, was kind of weird and glue-like.
The Missus went with what seemed like a simple roasted eggplant salad. It turned out to be quite a bit more than that.
This was one of the more memorable dishes we had on the trip. We loved the contrasting textures, the soft roasted eggplant, with the crisp fried filo dough and crunch greens. The addition of the crisp fried "noodles" would have usually thrown us off, but in this case it worked fine. The salty feta, offset with the acid in the dressing and tomatoes.
I ordered the grilled calamari.
I loved the vegetables which were nicely seasoned and had a good combination of tangy-sweet-salty flavors. The calamari had a nice grilled flavor, but was on the tough side.
Overall, this was decent meal, perhaps the best we'd had on Rhodes to date.
Indigo New Market 105 Rhodes Town, Greece
As we walked back to our room, we couldn't help but be impressed with the imposing and grand walls of the "Old Town" at sunset.
And yet, I was still in the dark with regards to the food here......
Energized after a cup of espresso, we decided to take a walk outside the imposing wall of the old town. The walk took us through the area called the "New Town". During Ottoman rule, the Greeks who didn't leave with the Knights of St. John were not allowed to live within the city walls, this is where the New Town sprouted. It looks like a fairly modern European town, skinny streets, lots of shops, banks, etc.
Still, there's quite a bit to see out here. This is the Mourad Reis Mosque and the old Turkish Cemetery,
There's an area called the New Agora, which I'll cover in another post. There's also Mandraki Harbor.
The passage into the harbor is guarded by the Tower of Saint Nicholas and the "Platoni", bronze statues of a Platoni deer stag and doe.
We walked past the Temple of Virgin Mary's Annuciation.....
Past the commercial harbor and through the massive Thalassini Gate.
It's quite an imposing sight. It looks so imposing, that it's hard to imagine the old town being over-run and conquered.
By this time, the bright Mediterranean sun was getting to me and I was getting hungry. We decided to try out a place that Chris, from the Hotel Saint Michel recommended to us called Alexis 4 Seasons.
There's indoor seating on the second floor and a nice peaceful courtyard in the rear. Which seemed like a great place to escape all the noise and bustle of the street outside.
The menu was seafood based which made us happy......
We settled in with our wine and bread to get off to a nice relaxing lunch.....
At which time a large party of Taiwanese tourists on a "tour" from a cruise ship came in. Loud, demanding, and argumentative, this party of 12 just killed the atmosphere. Our Server, a really funny guy, saw the look on our face, and told us, "do not worry, they want to eat as cheap and fast as possible, and be gone in 20 minutes!" The one amusing thing was that the kind of eccentric woman with the tripod and camera I described in my previous post was part of this group. Even with all these folks she knew, some of which were possibly her relatives; she still insisted on placing that dinky little tripod on the ground turning on the timer, running into position, assume a pose, then "click" the photo would be taken. She did this about 6 times during the meal....never once did she ask someone in her party to take a photo, no......she needed that tripod, even when asking others to take a photo with her! I guess she trusted that tripod more than anyone else! Still, this group had nothing on the Russian tour that pushed everyone aside to get to the front of the line in Cappadocia, nor the Koreans who walked in front of all the folks trying to take photos in Selcuk, or the worst, the Chinese tour who pushed their way to the front of the line at Saint Peter's Basilica, then tried to force their way past the guard at the metal detector. Then there was the whiney German tourist who demanded free drinks because the bus from Halong Bay back to Hanoi was taking longer than it should.
Things started with a fairly routine roasted pepper and eggplant dish.
Ditto the salad....
Then it got really interesting. I decided to order something called the "Deep Blue Plate", the description of which was "mix local shell food".
I'm so glad I ordered this. There was seaweed, of course, nice but nothing really special. Then there's the collection of various limpets, sea snails and such, some of which were really tasty; the flavor of the Mediterranean condensed into a single bite. Loved the various textures, some soft and buttery, other chewy like abalone. I looked at a piece.....and it looked like opihi and even tasted like a milder version of it. There were some very briney barnacles as well. By now the tour groups had indeed left, to the relief of the three tables of customers in the place. I realize that having tour groups keeps these places in business, but man, that was painful.
We love octopus around the Greek Islands and our Server recommended the grilled octopus and calamari with squid ink pasta.
The octopus was a bit more chewy than I prefer. Perhaps the fantastic stuff we had at Vasiliko in Chania has kind of ruined me. The calamari was excellent quite tender, with a nice smokey, grilled flavor. The pasta was meh, al dente, but under seasoned.
We also had the mussels with white wine.
The mussels were decent, it was perhaps a bit under-seasoned for my taste. These were small, but quite tender...there are time I prefer the smaller mussels because they tend to have more flavor, but this was like something I'd make at home.
There was one item on the menu that I delighted to see. I'd come to really enjoy Raki during our time in Crete. I saw it by what the rest of Greece calls it Tsikoudia. It was the perfect way to end my meal.
The meal was decent, but not outstanding. The service was nice, but at over 70 Euros (over $100 at that time) for lunch in Rhodes, I expected a bit more.
*** Nothing but a cup of coffee in this one. We'll have a new post with more food tomorrow.
Compared to the busy and buzzing late mornings and afternoons, the walled Old Town of Rhodes seemed quite tranquil and relaxed in the morning. The Mediterranean sun shone brightly on the streets even at 7 am! Busy Ippokratous Square seemed downright tranquil.
The Kastellania Fountain is one of the Old Town's landmark as is the usually packed Kastellania Stairs, which date back to 1507, which used to lead up to, duh, Kastellania Palace.
Walking around Rhodes Town during this time of day you're able to see the usual tourist filled town in a new light (no pun intended).
Walking within the rather formidable walls of the old town, you start understanding the history and importance of this medieval city, once the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The commercial and strategic location of Rhodes means a long and colorful history as well as the island was in turn ruled by the Greeks, Roman, Isaurians, Arabs, Genoese, Ottoman, Italians, finally back to the Greeks. None of these captured my imagination more than the Knights of St John and no walk created more drama for me than an early morning wander up the Street of the Knights. This was where the Knights lived, you can find the "Inn of France", the "Inn of Italy" and so on. The Knights were divided into eight "tongues" - Aragon, Auvergne, Castile, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Provence. Each had their role and a "gate" of the city for which they held responsibility.
The road originally led up from the harbour to the Palace of the Grand Masters, an impressive structure. You can almost imagine knights on horseback galloping out the gates.
It is so large that I had a hard time trying to fit it in a single photo. This castle like structure was built in the 14th century on the site of an ancient temple to the god Helios. This was where the Grand Master of the order of the Knight Hospitaller lived. When the Ottomans defeated the Knights it became a prison and storage for ammunition. This lead to the event called the "Great Gunpowder Explosion of 1856", when lightning triggered an explosion which basically demolished the structure. When the Italians took over Rhodes, they rebuilt the palace, which became a vacation residence for Mussolini. There's actually a plaque near the entrance with Mussolini on it....sort of "Mussolini slept here" I guess. I took a photo but it didn't come out.
The photo that did come out was of the rather grand stairway in the palace.
I was told that most of what is located in the "museum" does not reflect the "Knights", rather the mosaics and art were taken from Kos and were brought here by the Italians as was the antique furniture.
Still, the place is quite an impressive site.
So what happened to the Knight of St John after their defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Turks? Well, the Knights, badly outnumbered made a spirited defense, so it is thought that Suleiman the Magnificent, allowed them to ransom themselves and leave Rhodes. Where did they go? Well, take a look to the right and I'm sure you'll figure it out. This simple display also served as inspiration for one of the stops in our most recent vacation.
We left the palace and just a short walk down the street you can see one of the remnants of the Ottoman occupation.
The Suleyman Mosque. This was also where we first saw this rather eccentric tourist. She was a very thin Taiwanese woman, who looked to be in her mid forties. She carried this really dinky looking mini-tripod with a camera attached. Every few steps she'd place the tripod on the ground and click a button and run up the steps do a "pose" just before the camera and flash went off. A couple yards later....she'd do the same thing. The Missus and I walked past her just cracking up. We just had to get out of there, so we ducked out St George's gate. As we exited the Old Town we walked over the area that must have been the former moat. It had been replaced by a nice green area.
We wandered around the "New Town" a bit. Through some of the shops and markets, just getting a feel for the area. Man, I was running low on gas, so the Missus suggested we get a cup of espresso.
Not as good as Tunisia, but it did the trick. I was ready to head on back out in the sun drenched streets of Rhodes Town.
Trying to catch up on our travel posts. This one is from back in 2012.
I'm not sure why we.....though I think it was I, chose the island of Rhodes. When doing some research, I probably got caught up in Medieval, knights, Grand Masters, a walled city! A young boy's dream. It also seemed like a nice change of pace after Tunisia and Istanbul. All that history was a plus as well. Plus, the Missus loves the Greek Islands.
So we arrived on our flight from Istanbul, through Athens. We'd decided to catch the bus from the airport to Rhodes Town. However, one of the cab drivers...you gotta love Greek cab drivers, they are nuts, offered us a deal to split the fair with another couple. So we ended up catching the taxi. The couple got out at a resort south of Rhodes Town and the driver picked up a passenger outside the Old Town. From there we ended up at the cruise terminal dock, all the while listening to an animated conversation between the driver and the passenger in a language we didn't understand! As the driver dropped the guy off he glanced back and gave us a surprised look. He's been so engrossed in conversation that he forgot all about us! He laughed, shrugged, and told us, "sorry, politics you know...." He ended up taking us back up the road and dropping us off near Saint Catherine's Gate.....he pointed through the gate and said, "that way....." Well, it wasn't quite "that way...." Luckily, we had a map and it wasn't that long a walk as headed past the main square and tourist stops down the charming cobblestone back streets of the Old Town.
If your idea of the Greek Islands are those charming bright white with blue trimmed structures, Rhodes will be a surprise. Here it's brick and stone, a fortress, a moat.....
Eventually we ended up at a small square area and gingerly stepped over the snoring dogs.....
We really wanted to stay in the Old Town, within the walls of the medieval city, and the Hotel Saint Michel seemed to fit the bill. The building is over 700 years old, cozy, and while the rooms are nothing fancy, the place has character to spare.
Also, Chris and Vasso were so accommodating, really making us feel comfortable and at home.
We were lucky enough to get the room we call the "penthouse". It is located at the top of the steep stairs on the roof. While the room was rather small and the wifi really didn't work up here, the place was private, cozy, and had one really big bonus......
We had the entire upper deck area to ourselves. Both the door to the room and the door to the deck had locks...
We were to make great use of the deck over our stay......
We really enjoyed the location of the hotel, it was close to everything, but away from the tourist hustle and bustle.
Settled in, we headed out for dinner. Usually, we're really tired after arriving at a city for the first time. Rhodes really didn't tax us much. Still, we thought we'd take it easy and head to a restaurant I'd read about fairly close by, away from the tourist rush called Laganis.
The Missus loves the tin cups that house wine is served in, so we got the house red which was passable.
She also loves horta, the wild "mountain greens", often a type of chicory, so we ordered that as well.
This version wasn't cooked to death as we're used too. It also needed a good deal more seasoning, but was not bad overall. Sadly, this was the best dish of the meal.
Things went quickly downhill with the Fava Skordalia.
This lacked flavor as well, but even worse, the dip had an unpleasant gritty texture as well.
The beets were nice and sweet but on the hard side.
We were only comforted by the fact that we tend to not choose real well for our initial meal in new cities we visit. I was sure that tomorrow we'd fare much better.
After the meal, we decided to take a walk down the streets of this quieter part of Rhodes Town.
We eventually ended up at Ippokratous Square and the Castellania fountain which is the busiest tourist area of the Old Town, surrounded by shops and restaurants...and tourists of course. Since it was almost evening, most of the day-trippers had left or were in the process of leaving.
Soon, the folks from the cruise ships would be heading back and the place would become pretty quiet. After all the folks in resorts leave it looks like this.
Quite a contrast......
We headed back up the cobble stoned alleyway to the hotel, stopping at the little shop next door. Christos was more then happy to open our bottle of wine and provide some glasses for us. We sat on the patio and heard the horns of the two cruise ships heading out. Soon we toasted as the sun went down in the horizon.
It was a nice sunset, but a few days later we'd see what I can only call an amazing sunset on Rhodes. Things were sure to get better......
On our last morning in Chania we got up early as usual and took a norm al morning stroll around the old town. We kinda knew it was time to leave since we were getting to be perhaps a bit too familiar with our surroundings. Still, we'd really enjoyed our time in Chania, the city really spins its charms on you.
Speaking of charming, when Thomais saw us returning from our walk. She told us to wait for her before going anywhere....a few minutes later, she delivered freshly fried and delicious cheese pies to us!
Thomais told me that there are people who come back every year to Chania and stay at Madonna Studios. Based on our experience I can understand why. If we're ever back in Chania, we'll surely stay here.
While having our cheese pie and sipping some coffee we heard a commotion below......
It was a tour passing through the little cobblestone street in front of us.
The Missus decided to spend the rest of the morning relaxing with a book, while I headed off to the Archaeological Museum which is housed in church built by the Venetian's in the 16th century.
The admission was really inexpensive....2 Euros and it was a nice way to kill an hour.
We decided to get some lunch before our afternoon flight back to Athens.....it was an easy choice. We walked pass the tables of Tamam earlier in the morning, by then, the Missus had already decided to have lunch there. She wanted another crack at that avocado dip.
And yes, the Missus had keep Her "wine streak" alive.
I'd decided on having a nice salad...it seemed like the thing to order on such a bright and sunny day. I wasn't disappointed. They called this the Tamam Salad and it was simply one of the best salads I've had in a good long time. The tomatoes were so wonderfully ripe. There was a sweet-tangy dressing, that seemed a bit like a light honey-mustard. A good variety of cabbages and lettuces gave the salad a nice color and a tad of bitterness.
As you can see, it was topped with that lovely avocado dip and walnuts.......
We had more avocado dip.......
And this time we were smart enough to get some fried potatoes with it. Also, by this time, the Missus was in full swing trying to get that avocado dip recipe, which our server deftly deflected.
Keeping with our veg theme we ended with some very nicely done fava beans in olive oil topped with dill.
We had packed before heading out to lunch so we took one more walk around the waterfront.
As we walked back to pick up our bags and grab a taxi to the airport we came across the guy to the right. He worked at one of the waterfront tourist restaurants and would always try to get us into the place. We'd always turn him down with a smile and "oh, no we just ate" or something like that. If it was lunch he'd tell us, "come for dinner then...." In the mornings it would be, "come try us for lunch!" On this day, as he made his attempt to lure us into the restaurant, I told him, "oh, sorry, we are leaving in a few minutes." He broke out into a big smile and told me, "you must at least take a picture with me so you don't forget us!" So I did.......
Not that I was likely to forget about Chania anytime soon.
Returning to Athens was like going to a different planet. Gone was the blue sky, the clean air......it seemed much hotter and crowded as we walked to Hotel Tony from Symtaga Square.
After freshening up, we walked through the Plaka which was just packed to the seams with tourists.
We decided just to stick around the Koukaki neighborhood and have dinner at one of the local tavernas recommended by Tony.
It turned out to be just nourishment.......
The kokoretsi, basically lamb intestines wrapped around offal, then roasted was especially disappointing. The intestines greasy, the offal, dry, and well, awful.....
As they say....you can't win 'em all. We turned in early....it was another 5am bus from Symtaga Square to the airport in the morning. We were headed back to Antalya.....