A blue island… Blue as the clear azure sea and the skies above it.
A lot has already been written about this terrific island in the Greek Dodecanese archipelago. Colossal legends of the antique-world wonder are already well known!
Rhodes, the medieval town, the fortress, the Byzantine treasure, the Knights and the Ottomans, the Venetians and the Greek, the fascists and the democrats, the people and the emperors… they all left the traces of their rule in this unique old town, claiming their “deeds” to be for the sake of the people! We call this “multicultural” aspect of its development. Was it really? Or was it the race for domination, making the old town a bit chaotic with the symbols, signs and buildings so typical and recognizable for the rulers, their “style” and epoch. They all claimed this part of the world to be their own, at one period of time or another… Numerous historical footnotes could be easily recognized when reading any of the official history textbooks, even though some would not provide sufficient explanations.
Today, the medieval town, the fortress, the Crusader castles, the urban structure dominated by the church towers and minarets is overcrowded and packed with not so cheap, but extremely cheap-looking tourist trash goods, which made me feel exhausted and demotivated every time I decided to walk in. This is the “contribution” of our culture in our time! Some built, some destroyed and rebuilt… we let it all being dominated by the cheap looking kitschy staff and dreadful souvenirs, virtually all over the old town… The medieval town, protected by the famous UNESCO, whatever this term “protection” means in the world where sovereignty is questioned on a daily-basis, needs to be URGENTLY decontaminated – “de-commercialized”, as this attack of bad taste seriously damages the “multicultural” heritage in all aspects. (I am aware of the relationship between the offer and the demand.)
The “new” town does not deserve a single comment in terms of architecture, as the repetitive “typical Mediterranean” patterns are seen all around with the incredible lack of creativity. The tourists are definitely the worst part of the story. Groups and gangs of tattooed drunken teenagers and young people in their early twenties drink whatever they find to be in liquid state and roam all around the narrow streets of the new town… Bad music, bad taste, horrible clubs and vulgar “strip-tease” bars, taverns serving light blue cocktails, groups of tourists drinking colorful alcoholic drinks with straws, all from one huge glass… teenagers drinking cheap gin or vodka from the bottles sold to them in specialized shops… Inferno opposed to the aesthetics, one would naively expect to find!
You do not travel to Rhodes for the miles of beaches, but for the unique offer of its god-made and man-made beauties. The potential is enormous, yet the results are mediocre, satisfying probably the taste of the majority of tourists they get.
The best hotels are out of town; so renting a car is probably the best solution to visit the island. Lindos is another urban interesting option with its Acropolis – merely the traces, the medieval gate to the Acropolis, the castle, of course, built by the “generous Knights” in the XIV century on the foundations of the Byzantine fortification! And, yes, I almost forgot: the charming panoramic view of a white village, looking poetically like the white linen, set on the rocks. When you get into the village, the similar kitschy staff is all around you with the additional offer: to rent a donkey! There are however some lovely restaurants, although everything seems to be overpriced and contributes to the general feeling of a mass-tourist offer.
Finding a good hotel as the base, renting a good car (instead of a donkey), visiting nice secluded beaches, enjoying in the beautiful blue sea, reading good books (you selected before vacations), taking a good distance from the modern urban areas, visiting however occasionally the town of Rhodes, its medieval, Byzantine, Venetian, Judaic and Ottoman parts and treasures, spotting the details on the old doors of Lindos, tasting figs and Greek honey, feeding and caressing lovely cats in the port, avoiding the attempts of modern art at all price, may be a formula for good vacations. We all have right to have specific taste. Some may abuse this right, though. The sea is blue, azure – magnificent, the historical burden and treasures – immense, the vacations – short. A careful selection would be the key! Adio sas!