On day 3 of our Greek Islands cruise, we woke up in Rhodes. This was our longest port stop, 7am-6pm.
I have to say, in every port so far, I almost could have chosen to remain on deck drinking in the picture of clean white cubic buildings arranged around sparkly harbors (or, in the case of Rhodes, a sprawling Medieval castle, formidable walls and a swath of Neoclassical buildings in Easter-egg colors plunging into the harbor). There’s something incredibly visually satisfying about a natural amphitheater, with buildings spilling down the sides and jumbled on the low land, alert and expectant to the world stage that is the harbor. We have a similar setting in Portland and after more than 20 years, I’m still tempted to risk driving off bridges just to gaze at it every time I pass.
Entering these ports, we’re greeted by the big smiles and open arms of the landscape, which seem to say, “welcome, welcome!” punctuated by the occasional dramatic burst of fortressed-acropolis, which says something other than, “welcome,” but is compelling all the same.Tempting as it is to rhapsodize on the view from a lounger all day, I can’t sit still when there are things to see and do. So, after a slow start, we hit the Rhode for some sightseeing (see what I did there?)
We had prebooked a private guide for a 1/2-day tour. He picked us up at the port and we drove about an hour down the coast to Lindos, a small town dominated by an emphatic, be-castled acropolis. The castle was built in the 14th century by the Knights of St. John to fend off lurking Ottomans. A thousand years before the knights arrived, the acropolis was a sanctuary of Athena. The Doric Temple of Athena is my new favorite ancient Greek building. The propylaea and stoa are also very nice.
Down below, we wandered through the charming narrow streets of Lindos for a bit and then headed back to Rhodes Town, which is actually a good sized city. From Mandraki Harbor, we walked to the Old Town, part Medieval Gothic, built by the Knights of St. John, and part Ottoman. The famous sites here are the Palace of the Grand Master and the Street of the Knights but the entire tangled maze is wonderful. It IS a maze though. Don’t get lost there unless you have time to spare. We wandered for a couple of hours and then hobbled down to the New Town to sit in a cafe in the Nea Agora and gaze upon Neoclassical and Art Deco architecture, quite a change from the austerity of the fortified Old Town.
Back to the boat, tired and happy; happily tired.
At 6pm we waved our hankies at Rhodes and set a course for Crete, legendary home of the Minotaur and his labyrinth, speaking of mazes, and actual home of the mysterious Minoan civilization, but, we’ll discuss that when we get there.
Click to see Greece tours that include cruise visits to Rhodes.