Travel Journal

Rhodes – So where’s the Colossus?

(Monday 22 November 2010) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 102-4 -- 11/14-11/16/10 Rhodes
We didn’t feel like walking to the hotel so we split a cab with another couple and got at our hotel around 4 AM. After a confusing conversation about check-in dates with the clerk, we left our bags there and walked down the street to some street restaurants that were doing a booming business with the after club crowd who were partying Saturday night. We ate some pizza and then I went to look for the Port Authority to see about ships to Turkey while Julie waited at the hotel. Rhodes was very quiet but also safe to walk. The few people I met didn’t speak English – although I have been surprised how many do in my travels here so far – or didn’t know where the Port Authority was located. Julie and I took a walk and visited the Palace of the Grand Master which opened at 8:30 and was free on Sundays. Rhodes’ old town has a fortified thick wall and a palace built by the Knights of St. John which is a enormous building which Mussolini placed mosaic floor works throughout before WWII but when the war broke out it was placed on the back burner. We headed back to the hotel afterwards.

The changing of the hotel clerk got us better luck and we were able to check in around ten and take a much needed shower and since there was a bathtub, I was able to take a long soak. Ahhh, the simple pleasures! Julie did a great job finding us a room which was actually a mini-suite with a kitchenette for 19 Euros a night!
We did some more walking later checking on the ferry to Turkey.
The website I had looked at had Sunday and Tuesday ferries, the receptionist at the hotel said there were daily ferries, the Port Authority which we finally found suggested we check with the travel agencies – which was weird and a travel agency said the ferry left on Wednesday. Doing some more digging, I saw the web page was changed to show a Wednesday departure for just this week. We confirmed that the ferry was only two times a week now and was leaving on Wednesday so we got tickets. I guess we will have to extend our stay a day here in Rhodes.
The next day we caught a local bus to a spot just out of town which had the ruins of a temple to Apollo, a theatre and stadium. Not much but a pleasant diversion. I made the mistake of not asking the bus driver that brought us where to catch the bus back and we waited an hour before we finally figured out that the bus traveled in a loop and there wasn’t one going the opposite way.

Rhodes perhaps is most famous for what’s not there. The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World but has long since vanished. It fell down after an earthquake after about fifty years and laid in ruins for centuries before the bronze was recycled into canons. The location where it stood is still debated. The whimsical belief that the statue straddled the harbor entrance has been proven as impossible so the common theory is it stood at one of the two sides of the harbor although there is talk it actually was away from the harbor at a temple to the Sun. There are statues of deer, the modern symbol of the city, on either side of the harbor to mark possible locations. It was fun to picture what it might have looked like.

Our time in Rhodes was too long as there really isn’t much to do in the city. We wandered the old city when cruise ships where in port and the souvenir stands opened up, and we walked when there were no visiting ships and the town closed shop.
On the final day we sat and waited for the ferry and talked to a nice Turkish man who gave us some pointers on visiting Istanbul and offered to use to find us rooms for our visit. He was returning with his family home and we had a good time chatting with him. We boarded the ferry after going through passport control where they looked through every page of my passport probably checking that I didn’t overstay my 90 days allotted time. We had entered France 89 days ago so we were safe and also had spent a week out in Morocco so there weren’t any problems.
There was a late start but about an hour later we arrived in Turkey.


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