A Postcard From Lindos, Rhodes

My holidays are often quite adventurous: cycling though the German countryside, hiking across British mountains, bobbing down the Zambezi in a barrel, play-wrestling polar bears on Svalbard – that sort of thing.

Lindos Rhodes (3)

Jim’s flip-flop time

But this year, Jim and I decided to plump for something a little more conventional, a lot more lazy.  A few weeks ago we boarded a very swish, very new Boeing 787 Dreamliner – which was a personal excitement  – and flew to the far end of Europe, to the Greek island of Rhodes.

Pallas Beach, Lindos

Our ultimate destination on the island’s eastern coast was Lindos; somewhere I know very well.  I say that but as my first visit was in 1983 and my last in 1985, perhaps I don’t know it quite as well as I like to boast.

Lindos Rhodes (9)

But thankfully, mercifully, in 32 years it has barely changed.  Lindos is still a little town of blinding-white houses clustered adoringly at the foot of a rocky acropolis.

Acropolis Lindos (3)

And what an acropolis: a site and sight as good as any in Greece.

Lindos Rhodes (31)

It is imposing, dramatic and craggy from any angle; and not a citadel I should want to storm after breakfast.

Acropolis Lindos (2)

They’ve all been here you know, on the acropolis: the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John, the Ottomans, the Italians.  The Greeks.

Acropolis Lindos (1)

And now an international crowd of scantily clad tourists, thoughtfully displaying their wobbly, sun-burnt skin and once crisp, what-once-might-have-seemed-a-good-idea tattoos.  I thought it quite sweet that they thought this intimate display might lighten up my day (but then I was in a snooty frame of mind).

Lindos Rhodes (7)

With sheer force of will, I tore my eyes off the most eye-popping examples, closed my mouth and hacked my way through a thicket of selfie-sticks to the medieval walls on the western side of the acropolis.  I gazed down over the Middle-Eastern-looking town, trying to pinpoint the house I’d rented in 1983.  It had been small, square, flat-roofed and white.  So that narrowed it down a bit.

Lindos

Mountains, headlands and bays fade way northward to the tip of the island and Rhodes Town.

St Paul's Bay, Lindos (1)

Whilst, to the south lies beautiful St Paul’s Bay.

St Paul's Bay, Lindos (3)

St Paul was shipwrecked here, hence the name, and in August 1983 I was moped-wrecked here (which doesn’t really work as a link but never mind).  Zipping about on a rental moped, I zipped a curve too fast.  The bike slewed one way and I flew, all flailing limbs, in the other.  I clearly remember floating through the air, seemingly in slow motion, with time enough to quietly repeat the same four letter word.  Like Icarus my inaugural flight didn’t end well.  Luckily, I didn’t head-butt a rock; unluckily, and wearing shorts and a vest, I landed on knee and elbows, skidding across gravel.

Moped Crash

That smarts.

St Paul's Church, Lindos

I was laid up in my Rhodes Town room for several days; nursed, fed and fussed over by an adorable, clucking landlady before my pal, Michael, and I relocated to Lindos.  We spent our time doing not very much: riding slower-than-a-moped donkeys to near-by Pefkos, reading, exploring the hot hills and snorkelling in St Paul’s Bay.

St Paul's Bay, Lindos (4)

The bay is busier now, of course, but it is just as lovely; the water as clear, as warm and as full of sea-life.  On that first visit, I spent absorbed hours with mask and snorkel: exploring the cove, chasing brightly coloured fish, seeking that elusive ancient statue or golden amulet I was convinced was waiting to be discovered on the sea-bed,

Lindos (2)

and then kicking out into the open sea.  In the bay, the water is a few feet deep but beyond the natural harbour walls a vast underwater cliff disappears into the deep and the sea bottom disappears. Suddenly, I was floating alone in the Big Blue, dazzled by flickering sun-beams, dipping down as far as I could into colder water.  But then three thoughts coalesced in my hitherto empty head: a recent report of Great White sharks in Greek waters, my moped wounds seeping blood and a half remembered fact that sharks can taste and hone in on blood from 800 miles away.  Or something.  My moment of calm in the Big Blue evaporated and, with an imagined razor toothed maw torpedoing toward me,  I splashed breathlessly back to the safe confines of St Paul’s.

And that’s my best-est anti-climatic Lindos story.

St Paul's Bay, Lindos (2)

I didn’t visit the beach at the northern end of the bay in the 80’s but from memory it was deserted: no beach umbrellas, no friendly dog, no plump children, no disembodied limbs.

Lindos Rhodes (30)

But neither did it have one of the nicest tavernas I know.  Jim and I returned here most days for perfectly ripe Greek Salad with crumbly, salty, perfect feta; hot, crisp, perfect calamari; or warm, garlicky, puffy, perfect pittas served with dollops of perfect taramasalata, tzatziki, hummus and baba ganoush (all four as unrelated to supermarket tubs as I am to the Duchess of Windsor).   In short, it is perfect.

Lindos Rhodes (46)

On the slope behind the taverna is a nicely tended, terraced vegetable garden and I envied the customers who, later in the year, would bite into tomatoes, aubergines and cucumbers plucked metres from their table.

St Paul's Bay, Lindos (4)

Should you ever visit Lindos, make sure you walk down to this taverna.

St Paul's Bay, Lindos (6)

I don’t know its name but don’t worry you’ll find it easily enough.  Just head down to St Paul’s Bay.  The restaurant is next to the enormous dog resting her muzzle in the salt water.

Asklipio

One day, tiring of the Lindos crowds (and too chicken to rent a car and drive on Greek roads), we took a taxi to the small, inland town of Asklipeiou.  There isn’t a lot to do in Asklipeiou other than sip iced coffee; pay €1 to enter the stunning Byzantine church,  whisper our awe over the wall paintings;

Agapitos Restaurant, Rhodes

Agapitos Restaurant, Asklipio

and dawdle over a slow lunch, with maybe a cold beer.  And then maybe a second.

Asklipio castle (4)

Afterwards, we climbed a steep, dusty road (in 33º heat) to the Castle of Asklipeiou, above Asklipeiou.  (I’m repeating the name Asklipeiou simply because I suspect you have no idea how to pronounce it.  Asklipeiou.  I could have made it easier for you by providing the alternative English spelling, Asklipio, had I been so minded).

Asklipio castle (1)

The castle was deserted and, after the hubbub of Lindos, deliciously quiet save the hum of insects and my laboured, beery wheezing.  We tried to imagine the lives of the Knights of St John who built the castle in the C13th; many of whom were English.  It was hard to imagine men from Gloucestershire or Sussex living and dying in this alien, often violent landscape.  They won’t have missed mud.

Asklipio castle (2)

Greece has little money for the upkeep of her architectural treasures – nor much money for anything – but without information boards, an entrance kiosk or café, the ruin was all the more charming; if heart-stopping for any health and safety executive.  There were no no-go areas, no railings, no warnings about loose masonry or imminent death by falling.

Asklipio castle (5)

Jim took that as a challenge and clambered about the crumbly walls, precipitous falls all about, with fat cracks in the wall beneath his feet.  I watched from between my fingers.

Asklepeiou castle (3)

As we explored, bickering over reckless castle climbing and squinting at the views, I recoiled at a sudden hit of noxious smell.  After glancing suspiciously as Jim – who denied, as usual, any knowledge – I followed my nose.

Dracunculus vulgaris (3)

Dracunculus vulgaris was the culprit … and I apologised to Jim.

Dracunculus vulgaris (1)

The dragon arum is very stinky.  I had assumed, at second thought, that maybe a goat had fallen from the castle walls, its carcass baked by the sun.

Dracunculus vulgaris (2)

And that is the best description I can give for the scent of Dracunculus vulgarisNext time you sniff something rotten in Greece, it might be road-kill or it might be this extraordinary lily.  Enjoy (but best not plant one under the kitchen window).

Bougainvillea

Anyway, what was meant to be a postcard from Lindos has grown into a multi-paged letter, with tiny writing.  I’ll finish off with some pictures of less noisome, ubiquitous plants:  Bougainvillea;

Oleander

oleander;

Lindos Rhodes (48)

and jasmine –

Jasmine

swamping the lanes of Lindos with a more delectable perfume.

Greek thistle

I fell in love with Greece absolutely as a young man and it lures me back time and time again.  But I don’t suppose I shall return to Lindos.  As special as it is to me, it is too busy, too touristy for my 2017 self.  On our next visit, Jim and I will stick to our abandoned independent travel plan and revert to adventurousness: fly out, make plans on the hoof, hop amongst the islands perhaps or journey across the mainland, eat a lot, drink some, fly back.  But that’s a trip which will, I’m afraid, result in a far, far longer postcard.

Lunchtime pint

Cheers.oooOOSave

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46 thoughts on “A Postcard From Lindos, Rhodes

  1. Thanks for sharing with us David! Beautiful images as always but they are extra special due to the fact they’re holiday pictures! Greece is beautiful. I hope you enjoyed yourself – i can’t wait until it’s my turn to go away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing …..your writing mentally transported me to the rocks and blue skies. ..I ignored the tourists….and although not brave enough myself, I could imagine your underwater swim. Will save and return to it when I feel like some timeout.
    Pesrl

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was very hot, Frank with few trees I’m afraid. We had planned on a lot of walking for this trip but that proved impossible, hence the use of a taxi. I thought May might still be cool enough. I got that wrong. Dave

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  3. It’s years since I’ve been to the Greek Islands and your glorious photos do make me yearn to return. The light is so different. And the stunning colour of the sea. Beats rainy old Blighty any day. I’d put up with a lot of tattoos and wobbliness for all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh that sky and sea – pure heaven!
    The thought of hordes of tourists leaves me cold and dampens my desire to travel. One must work a bit harder to get off the beaten path, but thankfully, there are still places out there for us to explore. Beautiful post, Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Eliza, you’re right about the hordes. I hadn’t expected Lindos to be quite so busy though it’s obvious why it is. This was very much a cheapish, easy holiday but next time we’ll do that bit of work to avoid the crowds. D

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a gorgeous post! I’ve been to Greece before, but it was some years ago and your post has reminded me of how much I want to go back there. Stunning pics too – thanks for sharing them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yep, perhaps he was just a rubbish sailor. I’ve done a little research since you posted your comment, Amelia and it seems it was Malta he was shipwrecked on and not Rhodes. He visited Lindos – according to local legend – but, despite the source I read and used for this post, wasn’t shipwrecked there. So, thanks for that. Dave

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great blog. I’m not one for ‘hot and sunny’ holidays – my last trip (to Turkey) was in 2001 – but you’ve given me serious doubts. Lindos looks and sounds very appealing. I do have a weakness for ill-maintained ruins, unsanitised by English Heritage, and still full of ghosts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Stephen. I hadn’t been to Greece for about fifteen years either and (as no fan of lying by a pool or the beach) worried we’d be bored. But we managed to find plenty to do and see during our ten days if sadly no ghosts. Dave.

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  7. Excellent photos and a very entertaining article. The dog’s muzzle in the water took me a sec, I’m pretty literal sometimes. The Drancunculus Vulgaris also sounded like a Harry Potter-based spoof, but I did go to the link and then to the titan arum “corpse flower” that some botanist has waited on for ten years. Crowded or not, looks like an amazing place, and if I can ever manage a tour of Crusader/Venetian/Ottoman sites , this will be on the list

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robert,

      Lindos is an amazing sight and I didn’t even mention our two visits to Rhodes Town which is incredible. An entire mediaeval city, still completely walled. It is deserving of a post itself (had I taken enough photos!) and would make for a perfect city break, with a boat day-trip to Lindos thrown in.

      D

      p.s. I read about the Titan Lily too. I should love to see it, if not sniff it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love and miss your little ramblings intently. Your trip looked idilic and I am very jealous as I love Greece, but intend to visit after the summer rush is over. You in a pair of skimpy knickers, brings to memory some other stories rom your youth which I had best not recant here 🙂 looking forward to having a catch up soon, lots of love to you an Jimmy, big kisses and hugs from Spain xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • My initial thought, Andrew, was that I could sue you for such an outrageous skimpy accusation. But actually, on reflection, I realise that you’re absolutely right and I would lose the case. Which is shaming. See you very soon, Dxx

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  9. That blue is one step away from being pure light. Wow—so vibrant! Of all those beautiful scenes and photos, I think my favorite is the “quiet” one of the small tree in the reflected sunlight from the Acropolis. And yay for prickly pears! Those look like the prickle-less kind, which is just good sense. (Note based on experience: they’re not as prickle-less as All That.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Stacy, on my first visit to the acropolis, I went at about 8am and had the place to myself. Jim and I should have done the same this time – it was very busy (which detracts from the sense of the place, I think). The day I came off the moped was also the first time I ate prickly pear – harvested from the wild, along with grapes and figs. And nope, they weren’t at all prickle-less. It was a day of lessons. Dx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My hubby and I, we went to Iraklia some twenty years ago and tried to go to Lindos, but the chubby old ferry lady told us day after day, maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow, until we finally had to leave for Athens to catch our plane. It’s become a saying with us, this maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after tomorrow, and is still helping us to calm down, whenever we go all German about things not happening in time. So, to cut a long story short, thank you for finally giving us this trip. It’s just as lovely as we thought it’be. Keep climbing! Lo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lo, I’ve sailed to Rhodes from both Turkey and Crete and know how frustrating it can be if the seas are rough (which one never imagines they will be in the Med). I almost missed a flight home once because of the whole “maybe today, maybe tomorrow” problem. I remember not being very calm about that at all, so I obviously share the same gene. D

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  11. Beautiful photos. Do you have a polarising filter or was the sky really that blue? And well done for managing to introduce a flaunting of your youthful self in a state of undress! I bet it did too! Though why you should be repeating “Ouch” as you were in pre-landing airborne mode escapes me. Not sure if unplanned island-hopping is the way to go in Greece these days. The “reception” you find yourself at might not be in an hotel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi John, I spent a long time searching for the Kodachrome slide from 1983 (holding dozens up to the window trying to identify it) and, when I eventually found it, didn’t remember that I had been wearing so very little! Having finally found and scanned it, I used it anyway … despite the lack of decorum.

      Yes, to the skies being so blue – but yes too to a polarising filter!

      I’m more worried about my sorry lack of sea-legs than any reception whilst island-hopping, tbh.

      D

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  12. Fabulous photos as always. I went to Lindos in 2013, loved it but I wore decent clothes and have no tattoos so am probably very boring. Your postcard brought back happy memories and I am glad you and Jim had a good time. Thank you for sharing. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anne, I was happy to wear sun-blocking clothes, I don’t have tattoos either and gladly put my hand up to being boring. Boring is good? But then I would say that. Lindos is an amazing place and, despite what I say above, I’d be happy to go back there one day. D

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