Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I’m glad I’m journaling this -- in the true sense of the word -- because I’m honestly forgetting what happens from day to day. When I’m back home, this vacation will feel like it was gone in a second, but right now, it seems like ages. Was I really on the Acropolis a week ago? Was I in Rhodes yesterday? Was I riding a gulet in Turkey today? Yes -- but all I can really recall in the immediate past is looking at the stars.

I’ve gotten way ahead of myself. First, yesterday, Rhodes. Here’s the thing about Rhodes that isn’t spelled out in its entirety in the Shore Excursions brochure: Yes, Rhodes does have an acropolis -- the Lindos Acropolis. It’s much harder to reach than the one in Athens, much more crowded (for reasons I cannot possibly understand), and much less worth the trip. There’s a (fairly small) temple of Athena there, but the great bulk of it is a restoration built in the 1920s. I mean, there’s four columns, and each column is made out of, say, six pieces of rock. Looking at this thing, you can tell that only piece of one of the columns is original. Look, I can see a restoration in a museum, and it wouldn’t require walking up 330 steps with a bunch of tourists coming the other way and no handrail. In contrast, the insanely interesting thing about Rhodes is the old city, which is (according to our guide, and I have no reason to disbelieve him) the best preserved medieval city IN THE WORLD.

I, of course, signed up for the Lindos Acropolis tour, being all about antiquities and not caring a whole freakin’ lot for medieval history. And I did the acropolis tour, and elements of it were very nice -- the view (pictures to come) was freakin’ awesome, and I hung out with a very nice couple. But when it took about an hour fifteen walking (uphill) to get there, and the guide told us we could cover the Acropolis at our own pace and it shouldn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes, well, I could tell it was going to be a little anti-climactic.

Luckily, I was easily able to remedy the problem because the Lindos Acropolis tour was in the morning but we were docked at Rhodes all day. So, once we got back and caught our breaths, I went back to Rhodes -- with half of the couple from earlier -- to check out the Old City. Because just by looking at the fortified wall around it, it was clear that this was the real item of historical interest in Rhodes.

Paradoxically, the coolest thing we saw in the Old City was a medieval church which had been converted into an archeology musuem, and there were HUNDREDS of freakin’ antiquities there. Tons. In ancient times, damn near everyone stopped in at Rhodes (along the trade routes), and paid their respects to Athena by leaving an offering of sorts at her temple at the Acropolis -- and all of that stuff which has since been dug up is at this museum in the old city. Painted amphorae (jugs) from as far as Corinth; Athenian stuff throughout the ages; glass works; sculptures; metal…. there were heaps of these things (and, dredging up scattered bits of Art History from the recesses of my mind, I was able to spout off random interesting facts at the husband -- who apparently found me to be quite educational. I was frustrated that I remembered so little; but when you know next to nothing, I guess a little seems like a lot).

After the museum, I … well, I shopped. The best preserved medieval city in the world is being used as a great big bazaar. Picture … well, actually, picture any of the themed shopping areas in Las Vegas -- like the Forum Shops at Ceasar’s Palace or the shopping area at Aladdin. Except the historical setting in which the shops have been plopped is REAL. So it’s just streets and streets of old medieval buildings which now house restaurants, linen shops, and souvenir stores which may as well be called “All Things Greek.” I got a reasonable amount of shopping accomplished in a short period of time, and went back to the ship, quite satisfied with Rhodes.

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