Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rhodes, Greece

Part Three... RHODES!! I took a ferry from Kos to Rhodes (this was an ordeal in and of itself since the company I was meant to ride with was on strike and rescheduled without informing anyone... so there I was... lone foreigner with a backpack at 4:30 am waiting for a boat that was not coming. Thank God for my awesome travel agent in Turkey - Aegean Tour Travel - who helped me to get a ferry with another company that same day).
Anyway, I made it and was instantly impressed with how HUGE the castle walls were and how it was still a part of regular life as my taxi whisked me through one of the gates and onto the newer part of the city where my hotel, Atlantis City Hotel, was located. The staff there were sweet and got me settled in no time with a map and a plan of action for the next day (I was really only here for one full day due to the ferry mishap.
Rhodes has an amazing old city. When I left my hotel, I walked straight to the water, wandered along until I came to one of the outer walls of the castle that was built by the Knights of St. John. I entered the moat and wandered in relative peace. Almost no one was in there with me. Like Kos, Rhodes is on their winter schedule because there are few tourists here. However, unlike Kos, Rhodes is open for business. All the shops and restaurants are generally open and willing to sell their wares. There were a few tourist shops closed but generally the city was bustling. The best part? The old town within the city walls. It really was like stepping back in time. The mark of each castle invader left in tact as well. There were mosques, synagogues and churches in their together. Museums for each as well. And people were still living in restored sections and running their businesses within the walls as well. Had there been no cars, I would have truly felt like I had stepped back in time. There was a little magic in the old section of town, that's for sure.

The Street of the Knights within the castle walls.

A 14th Century church within the walls of the castle.

Poppies were blooming everywhere... made me so happy. Can't wait to get my better camera so I can take better quality pictures of this kind of thing!

Walking in the moat. There were cannon balls everywhere as well... so interesting.

The inside of the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John was full of mosaics and art work. I liked this piece the best. It costs 6 Euros to get in, pretty cheap for all the cool things you get to see.

Kos, Greece

Part two of my Spring Break trip too me to a little island in Greece called Kos. Initially I had thought to stay there for 2 or 3 days but on the sage advice of several friends I planned a one night stay.

Kos is a BEAUTIFUL little island with pretty beaches, some great little sites but it only takes about an hour to see the entire town. There is Hippocrates tree which is pretty cool. To think that the father of medicine was there, taught there and planted the tree so he could have somewhere to sit in the shade (and you need it in Kos, even in mid-March the sun was relentless). They say that the Apostle Paul taught in the shade of the tree too. *sigh* My inner ( yea right, let's be honest... everyone knows) history nerd and Jesus lover was thrilled to stand in that spot and read under the shade (although there were no leaves on the tree) of that tree (is it bad that I was dumbing down my brain with the latest copy of People Magazine rather than expanding my knowledge?).

The Plane Tree of Hippocrates... behind it is a Mosque from when the island was part of the Ottoman Empire.

A beautiful church in Kos... it just made me think of Easter.

Spring has sprung here! The very walls of the castle had flowers coming out... beautiful.

My first view of Kos from my ferry boat. Pretty, pretty.

Happy me from the overpass that leads from Hippocrates tree to the castle (which was full of Byzantine ruins... which we have LOADS of in Turkey so I didn't pay the Euros to go in a see).

Mid-March is NOT the time to go to Kos. While the island is charming, quaint and sleepy all year long, it was still shut down for winter hibernation (maybe opening back up at the end of the month or early April according to some locals I asked) and so there were no shops open, just 2 small restaurants that I could locate and a handful of cafes. It was VERY sleepy. Good for a day but not longer.

Bodrum, Turkey

I know, I know... I've been a bad blogger as of late. I haven't written much and there has been much to write so I apologise and will get right down to business! Today I'm blogging to you about my spring break... and yes, you can interpret the word blogging as bragging if you like!! ;)

There will be a series of entries from the spring break because I went a series of places and instead of producing a jumble, I thought a short series would be better. Part one, as the title tells you, takes place in Bodrum, Turkey. Bodrum is a gorgeous little town in the coast of the Aegean Sea that resembles what you think of when you think of a Greek resort town... beautiful white villas nestled into the hills and crystal clear waves lapping against the beach. The people are friendly, the seafood is fresh and tasty, the views are stunning and the atmosphere is relaxed. I think in the tourist season (which it isn't quite yet), Bodrum becomes party central with tons of bars and clubs right along the water. There is an abundance of leather goods for sale and a gorgeous little castle and other ancient ruins to see. In short, Bodrum has it all and for a decent price.
The main marina in Bodrum was laden with beautiful, traditional vessels that would run tours during the tourist season. I'm sure that many a Blue Cruise was taken from this area as well.

I loved that many of the cafes and restaurants had tables right on the beaches... which were NOT sandy, by the way... they were very pebbly.

This was the view from my hotel in Bodrum, the Manastir Hotel and Suites. It was a great place to stay, clean, quiet and well... look at the view! The castle is the Castle of St. Peter, it was built but the Knights of St. John...

Ah.... how can you not love waters like that?

It's said that the father of history is from Bodrum... this bust attests to it. I didn't check the museums for more as I was too busy enjoying the sunshine and the sounds of the waves. It's the perfect place to go when you've had a little too much winter...