Had a day or two to relax upon coming to Rhodes and decided to spend it on the beach and stroll around town’s narrow streets. On the eastern part of the island, they say, the Mediterranean Sea is usually peaceful with a wave or two. But the western coast (the Aegean side) is just too windy! If you are into surfing, you know where to go.
Since the town of Rhodes is right on the peak of the island, overlooking Turkish coast (Turkish resort of Marmaris is, for example, at less than 45 kilometers away), you will always see beautiful mountain range on the horizon. From this spot, you can go east or west and enjoy the island at you preferences. This is also the line that separates the two seas.
There I was, walking from the Windy Beach towards the serene one, and it only took five minutes or so to get from one to the other. The famous beach with calm waters in the city is the Elli Beach.
Cafes and restaurants are lined up along the coast, offering sunbeds and refreshments. Since it’s not the peak of the season yet, sunbeds are still around five euros each, and you can have a coffee or a drink for two or three euros. You have already guessed that at the Elli beach families with children are common, while the other one, more to the west, is almost deserted nowadays. But that is all to change soon, because more and more tourists are coming every day.
The first thing they will tell you when you come here is that the place is safe, that the island is well equipped and supplied with everything you need. The city is also well known for shopping and after large cruise ships arrive with more than 6,000 tourists, the goods that are left in stores are always on discount. There is a range of famous brands to chose from.
When it comes to food, fear not! So many colorful restaurants with traditional Greek cuisine, uzo with meze, stuffed vegetables, souvlaki, gyros etc. You can chose whether to sit and have souvlaki for about 7.5 euros (or a small plate for 5.5), or to have gyros to go for 2 to 2.60. Pastry, fresh fruit, nuts, olives, honey, seafood…
You will be called out by waiters to come in, no matter how many times you pass by the exact same place, telling the guy that you have “just had lunch and were not interested in another one”! But then again, strolling through narrow Greek streets would just not be the same without them.
The place is still not full, so it’s not that noisy and crowded. If you are into all night-clubs and bars, it would be better to come later in the season, because now it’s just too early for such fun. But if you want to relax and enjoy those 30 degrees Celsius with a bit of a wind, then make sure to come now. And let me tell you, Odeon World Travel Belgrade’s agency made it so easy! Instead of trying to find a good flight or a hotel deal, to worry about finding my accommodation after landing and so on, I have just booked a trip with them. They provided a charter flight, transfer from and to the airport, hotel booking etc.
There are different hotels in Rhodes, some better than others, more spacious or less, food is better or worse, the service also, some are equipped with a swimming pool etc, but there are so many that you can chose from according to your preferences and budget. And even though I knew I would work here every day, it did feel like a small vacation because I would let someone else take care of trip details this time. It felt like saying “take me to Rhodes, please”, and they did, no drama what so ever!
They say that prices in stores, car rentals and island tours with local operators usually go up in July and August. Now, you can buy a large bottle of water for 0.60, rent a bike for 7 euros, scooter for 12-15 per day, or a car for about 30-50. I was lucky enough to find Nikos and his Ruote Car Rental.
He provided me with such a cute yellow car for driving around the island, and I was telling myself that it wasn’t by accident that the small car is in the color of the Sun, or the Sun god. (Well, I did dedicate my first Rhodes Glimpse to Helios, didn’t I!)
Joking aside, it came to be really useful, since all the cars in often crowded parking lots along the island were gray, black or white. And mine was easy to spot, that nice little Helios’ yellow “chariot”.
Local travel agencies offer different tours around the island, and those are still not expensive, but one would have to be careful about the state boats or buses are in.
For example, the tour to the Symi island nearby now costs 25 to 30 euros with local agencies, but I have heard stories about some boats in such a state that you think you cannot wash the dirt off “no matter how many showers you take afterwards”. Few of them are just too old or neglected, it seems, but not all, of course. I didn’t want to risk it, since in just about 15 euros more, you can have a good ride by one fast and comfortable boat, accompanied by a couple of experienced guides who know the place well.
Anyway, I have stumbled upon couple of guys I went to school with, and saw them again more than 10 years ago (they have guided tours in Tunisia back then). When planning to come here, I was told back in Belgrade not to worry about a thing, since “Ivana and Toma are going to be there all the time”. It did cross my mind that they might be the same Ivana and Toma I had coffee with in Sidi Bou Said the last time, but then I dismissed it. “It’s probably just a coincidence”, I thought.
At least I did until I came out of the airplane and went to the counter to ask about the transfer to the hotel – and there was Ivana! “You will see Toma later”, she said, “this is our third year here, don’t worry about a thing, we’re here!”
And then I knew, this is going to be one swell journey and I am not going to rush around the island, why should I! I will just enjoy the ride and write, since by coming here with Odeon and now exploring the island with these guys, it would be so much easier to blog about the place.
One of the next Glimpses will be about the astonishing Old Town, since we took a walking tour with Toma last week – one great stroll back in time!
Meanwhile, let me just dive back into another myth and celebrate one of the seven ancient wonders of the world!
The full Rhodes Greece SERIES