It is hard to believe that my time in Greece has drawn to a close. Each day seemed so long, yet the time passed quickly, but I guess that is the anomaly of travel. The island of Rodos itself has such an incredible rich history as it was conquered many times by many different groups and each left their mark on it. One of the unique aspects of the Old Town is that is a World History Site as it is one of a few Medieval cities that is fully inhabited. It has all the necessary quarters - Christina, Jewish, Muslim, and each maintains its heritage. There is a Muslim library for example that held almost 2000 books dating from very old times and some of the ancient texts are on display. Wandering around the Old Town and seeing past all the shop keepers and tavernas, was revealing as I went down twisted alley leading into twisted alley. I could almost see people of days gone past going about their business or intrigues in these narrow, cobblestone streets.
Going on a cross country jeep excursion was so much fun. Lefteris picked me up at Faliraki where my hotel was and drove down the coast to the safari start. Little did I know I would be driving a little red suzuki with two passengers from Marseilles. We travelled in convoy - Lefteris and Nicolinda lead and gave commentary (mostly in French but every once in a while she would remember the Canadian) then the three green jeeps, the white one, and then us at the end. It was great except for all the dust from the gravel roads. We went back country and up into the mountains passed the artificial lake (resevoir), the wind mill parks, up high so that we were almost in the clouds. At times we traveled the ridges and had steep, long drops on either side. Stopping at Limni Beach was a good idea as we could cool down and wash the sweat and dust off. The beach was on the west side so bigger waves than the east beaches. However, this beach had a natural breakwater so it was calm. I thought I found some jade on the shore, but quickly realized that the pebbles were all pieces of polished marble. There were so many different colours and sizes, so of course I had to pick some. Well all right lots.
We returned to our jeeps and stopped in a short while at a small church of Agios Yorgios and proceeded on more back country roads to a small village where we stopped to have an "olive pickers" lunch. However, there were no olive pickers or even olives. The taverna was family run with all members taking part and the food was simple but so very delicious. The one thing I know I will miss from this summer is the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. Soon it will be back to truck ripened produce. But not yet!
I've already told you about the carpets, but I returned to the shop and spent a couple of hours talking with Irina (from Iran), Ismail (from Istanbul), and Ali (from India). They are all so well educated and were very wiling to tell legends, talk politics, and more. Ismail gave me a list of places to go and warnings for Istanbul. He told me where to go find Dervishes and to mention his name. He gave me his sister's phone number and told me to call her and she can show me other places. They were an incredible group of people.
The last night was spent going back to Taverna Manolis with my niece and her friend where we had great great food. We laughed and shared our travel stories and adventures until quite late and then went back to our separate abodes.
This little jewel of a place held so many wonderful surprises. In itself it is beautiful and wild, and even though it is a huge tourist destination it is possible to see its charm and its quiet.
So this afternoon I catch the catamaran from Old Town port to Marmaris and begin the last leg of my summer travels.