We gathered together in our beach-side Rhodes hotel before going out for typical Greek fare at a local taverna. For starters we had Greek Salad (of course), dolmades, tzatziki, meatballs, and fried zucchini balls. Then it was a choice of chicken or pork souvlaki before finishing off with classic baklava for dessert. Yum. Greek food is so savory, filling, and downright satisfying. And it doesn’t hurt that Greek wine and beer are also very good.
This tour of the islands was unlike any we’ve ever done at Imprint. I guess we would call it the “un-tour”, meaning the heart of the tour, 6 days underway on chartered yachts, stopping at out of the way Greek islands (those underserved by the ferry system) made for exciting days of individual discovery and explorations but little in the way of typical organized tour activities. We did not have sights to see, museums to visit, or walking tours to enjoy.
Instead, we had amazingly lovely islands to wander and explore, mostly on our own. But our first full day on Rhodes was the exception. We had a funny and charismatic guide, Kostas, who introduced us to his island. First we drove south to the magnificent Acropolis of Lindos.
The fortified “high town” is not of a scale of the famous one in Athens, but Lindos makes up for this shortcoming with its spectacular location. The ruins top a rock promontory that overlooks the blue Aegean and an impossibly cozy and picturesque cove – the Bay of St Paul. After exploring the ruins with Kostas we had free time for lunch and then a return to Rhodes Town.
The Old Town of Rhodes is a World Heritage Sight. It is decidedly medieval in character. That is due to the fact that Rhodes was a key stepping stone to the Holy Land during the Crusades. One of the major crusading orders, The Knights of St John, chose Rhodes as a major outpost.
The crusading orders were established to create and defend transportation routes for pilgrims wishing to visit the sacred sights of the Holy Land. The entire Old Town is enclosed in crenellated fortification walls, a moat, and its narrow streets are lined with the palatial headquarters of the various crusading orders. The Palace of the Magistrates is the highlight and Kostas gave us a guided tour. It is one of the best medieval experiences in Europe and it fired our travel and historical imaginations. Those activities filled most of our first full day and a free evening allowed our travelers to seek out their own tavernas for more savory Greek fare.