01 02 03 Gypsyland: Rhodos, the island of the blue sea... 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Rhodos, the island of the blue sea...

I have finally found time to tell you all you want and need to know about Rhodos...  and I want to share it with you, since it’s honestly one of the most beautiful and amazing places I’ve ever been. And here it is, the next vacation destination in paradise… Rhodos !!

As you might know, Rhodos is an island of Greece, to be more precise one of the Dodecanese islands. It’s the 3rd biggest island in Greece, and it’s one of the most eastern ones, very close to the Turkish coast as well. Of course this can only mean good things for the weather and climate :)
What most people don't know is that actually Rhodos is a very important and famous island for a few thousands of years already, since it has housed one of the 7 Wonders of the World that we all learned in history class. Unfortunately, the Colossos was destroyed only a few years after its building, so you can’t visit it, and we only know it from drawings and reconstructions, but still it was quite… COLOSSAL in those times with its 32 meters high.  An interesting fact is that the design of the Statue of Liberty in New York is based on the Colossos of Rhodos. 

Anyway, to get to the part why Rhodos is so amazing… The beaches are just incredible, the water is the most intense blue that you’ve ever seen, the weather is hot with almost no rain from the beginning of May ‘till the end of September, delicious food, and last but not least… It’s honestly one of the most hospitable places I’ve ever been (and I am NOT saying pushy, most important!!).  Greece may be in crisis, but Greek hospitality is definitely not!

To discover  the island, I recommend staying in a nice village that is centrally located and well connected to the main roads, preferrably on  the east coast that is full of villages and beautiful beaches. The best option to move around is renting a scooter or car to discover the other places. If you visit an island, in my opinion, it’s a sin to just book an all-in in one place and stay there not seeing the rest of the island. You need to drive around, see different beaches and places, eat local food in different restaurants, and above all - discover the culture.

The beaches you should definitely visit are Tsampika beach, Stegna Beach and of course Anthony Quinn’s Bay, probably one of the most beautiful places of the island. The first two are surrounded by restaurants and bars, but are really clean and have very nice sand. Anthony Quinn’s Bay is the contrary of all that: it is located ‘in the middle of nowhere’, there is only one bar and it’s a stone beach. At first I thought that I wouldn’t be able to lay on the stones with my towel, but actually it was surprisingly comfortable. Anyway, if you don’t feel like trying, there are sunbeds for rent at 4 Euro / day, so that’s not an excuse. The bay is really quite, and it has a wonderful underwater life, so bringing your snorkeling equipment is a must! It’s a bit hard to get in and out of the water due to the stones, but it’s definitely more than worth it.

A general small note is that you might be interested to learn the Greek alphabet (which is almost the same as ours, but still there are some major differences), since that will definitely help you read the useful things, like names of restaurants, panels on the highway, and therefore get to the places you want to get to :) Especially the letters 'E' and 'N' have special notations which are confusing for the people used to the Latin alphabet. Also a few words like ‘efkaristo’ which means thank you, ‘kalimera’ which means 'Goodmorning', and a few more will be useful and very much appreciated by the locals. A link to the Greek alphabet you can find here: 

Now more about the food. If you think about Greece, you directly think about tzatziki, moussaka and a fresh Greek salad. In Stegna, you should go eat in a small restaurant called “Perigiali” , located at the end of the beach, near to the only hotel that is in Stegna, Hotel Angelos. They have delicious fresh fish and seafood, and also the traditional dishes are more than delicious. If you want to try more special and authentic things, I recommend going to Afandou. It’s a more local village with fewer tourists, which definitely makes the food more authentic. There is one small restaurant that is definitely the most romantic one, with delicious homemade food. Actually, which I don’t remember the name of due to the amount of wine and ouzo that has flown that night. We accidentally discovered this little restaurant after a vendor of nuts in Kolymbia told us we should go to ‘Mike’s restaurant’ in Afandou. So, we took our scooter, took off to Afandou, just to find out that Mike’s is actually an ice cream place, not even open at night…  We entered the bar next to it thinking that this was it, and unfortunately the owner told us he doesn’t have food. When he saw our sad and hungry faces, he told us there was a nice restaurant around the corner, where we could surely get some good food. We promised him to come back for a cocktail after, and went into the small street behind the bar to discover this delicious place.  One of the specialties here are the scampi’s with cream ouzo sauce and the shrimp rice. This is honestly a heavenly combination! I don’t remember eating that much on a night… The owner is a rather chubby, cordial Greek who is calling ‘darling’ everyone he likes. And you know what they say? The quality of the food is directly proportional to the size of the cook’s tummy J

Ouzo and Cream Sauce scampi's and Shrimp Rice in Afandou
One of the other things that will catch your eye directly on this island, except from the wild goats walking freely and crossing highways where and when they feel like it, is the huge amount of stray dogs and cats. This is a huge problem in whole Greece, and the biggest problem is the thought of a mediocre Greek on this problem. They see it as a normal thing that animals reproduce, and also a normal thing to poison,  shoot, hang or beat them to death after the end of the tourist season, after the last charter flight filled with tourists has left the island.. “I mean, I am helping them! Otherwise they will starve to death anyway… “.  One of the organizations trying to fight this cruelty is RAWS, the official shelter of Rhodes, that is trying to sterilize the animals.

If you want to help and adopt a stray dog or cat from there, it is WONDERFUL. If you’re not able to do that, it’s a small sign and a contribution to the country you’re visiting to help these poor animals a bit. For you, 5 Euro means nothing; it’s probably half an hour of work, or even less. For these animals, the food you can buy with that money (and believe me, that is a LOT!) can be the difference between life and death. Just remember one important thing: if you feed an animal, leave while this is eating. It will save you from heartbreaking scenes like I witnessed when I gave the dog I fed a bit of attention, and afterwards he didn’t let us leave with the scooter and ran along the highway between the cars for a whole kilometer… On the other hand, if you don't have food with you, a little bit of affection is just what these animals need. Just don't make the fault of giving them food AND affection together, because this will cause them to attach themselves to you, follow you around, and in the end being left alone when you go back home... 

As you can read in my preview post, I personally found 5 cute puppies and their fostermom near our hotel, and we managed them to get to a shelter! You can read more about it here: http://daryaingypsyland.blogspot.be/2012/06/week-ago-i-came-back-from-my-trip-to.html

There are 2 cities that you must visit on this island, and the first of them is the old city of Lindos. Here you will find lots of small streets reminding you of souks (Arabic market in covered streets), filled with shops where you can buy souvenirs, but also a lot of original handmade presents. Lindos also has a nice bay and a white sand beach, which you can visit by going down the streets, or just take a look at it from the highest point of Lindos, the Acropolis castle. It's definetely worth the walk up, and if you come in the morning, you can even visit the castle from inside. Unfortunately, we only arrived around 3PM and the castle was already closed, so I can't tell you if it's worth a look on the inside or not.
Lindos road to Acropolis
Lindos Bay

The other town is of course the town of Rhodos itself, and especially the old town that lies inside the ancient walls. Here you can discover the castle of Rhodos, and also get a nice view from the highest view point of the island: the Reloi. This is the old watchtower, and overviews whole Rhodos town around. Stroll around in small streets, and will find a part with lots of shops and restaurants, but also a more quit part where the locals live, with lots of cats in the streets, and even old grandpa’s selling some old stuff with unknown origin. About those last ones, you will do them a great pleasure buying something small from them if you find them, and their prayers will sure bring you luck… 

A nice place to eat in Rhodos is the Aegean Fish restaurant, which is really famous in town and located just opposite the catholic cemetery. Here you enter in a fish shop, and you choose yourself what the cook will grill onto your plate. Freshest fish you can ever imagine, and tasty as hell! Here I ate one of the best salmon filets of my life… For an order of 3 different fishes and a plate of gamba’s as starter and a big bottle of water  we paid less than 30 euro. 

The last place you should definitely think about visiting in Rhodos town, is the ancient Acropolis (or at least, the few pillars that are still left of it). Since it's located in a higher part of the city, here you also have a great view on the modern part of the city.

If you're looking for a place to stay, I would advise to look out for promotiosn on Booking.com, because hotels are quite cheap here - even in high season you can find a good value. If you're looking for an apartment with the possibility to cook for yourself -  Zoes Studios, runned by a very hospitable family, is just a 15 minute walk away from the beautiful Anthony Quinn's Bay. 

So, I hope I tickled your interest in this beautiful island... and you will give it a try anytime soon!

Greets from Gypsyland! 

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