Memories of Last Year and to Make this Year

I booked my early summer holiday last weekend. After spending the week after Christmas trawling through my holiday guides, buying a few more and picking up brochures, I set my mind on Crete. I then decided on something a little different for my Monday Memories category because there’s not much about my recent travels (or older travels) on here.

Apparently I went to Crete when I was very little – far too little to remember, although we do have photos of me on a wind-surfer with some man. Don’t ask!

It’s quite exciting really – I’ll be able to cross off another of my Greek Island list and some more ancient Greek sites. For my honeymoon, my husband and I went to Egypt and Athens for all the sites. After the amazing Athens, last year I picked Rhodes and I was so impressed.

Rhodes old town is a Medieval town dating back to the Knights of St John and is technically too “late” for the time periods I love, but whilst there I was stunned and fell in love. People still live in the tiny homes built originally hundreds of years ago with the thinnest “roads” I have ever seen. It’s mainly all cobbled and the rows of buildings are strengthened by arches across the roads. It’s a fantastic thing to see, made even more crazy looking by the lack of cars aside from some very custom built ones.

Street of the Knights in Rhodes Old Town

The moat is dry, but there are still bridges and gates leading into the town and it’s not hard to imagine it in its heyday – a true fortified city. I was lucky enough to have two afternoons free time to wander around and only got caught in a bit of rain once! There are some older sites hiding in there, too, but most of it in the main town got built over and people still live there so they can’t go excavating. The museums were a bit of a let down, but were a distraction from the rain.

One of the bridges and gates into the city - possibly St John's

Before we went out there, I had already booked an afternoon and evening trip to Rhodes Old Town and a morning trip to Lindos to satisfy my “ancient” needs. Lindos is this amazingly tall little town, which at the bottom has windy little thin blocks of shops and homes again. Similar to Rhodes Town, it’s very odd walking around it in these narrow little lanes which to the inhabitants are main streets. It was a lot like little market areas here, but their town!

The overview of Lindos village from the acropolis 125m above it. It was among one of the most sacred sites in the ancient world.

Part of Lindos is from the Knights era, including the steps up it. I have to admit that I don’t mind being up high, but I don’t really like getting up there and walking the sometimes smooth steps with no railings and only a stumble away was a bit scary. Eventually you get up to the top and through the more “modern” areas to find yourself at the top and presented with the acropolis. It was that stuff that I went for!

Just some of the stairs leading up to the acropolis at Lindos

We went in April, over Easter, and so the weather wasn’t amazing – rain and cloud on and off. But, what this also meant was barely anyone there so photos of popular sites with no one else in and not having to struggle with the high summer temperatures and trying to climb to the top of anything. The pool was a bit chilly, but I was happy to sit and read after I got my trips sorted out.

This temple ruin is from the the third century BC and is just outside of Rhodes main town.

The other amazing thing about it being Easter was how the Christian people there celebrate it. We didn’t get to see any of the Good Friday or Easter Sunday processions, but on the second day in Rhodes Town, we were greeted by palm leaves strewn across the archways and fantastic paintings on them.

Just one of the images used with palm leaves.

Unfortunately for my husband, the hotel had a second trip that we didn’t know about until we got there which did the other coast of the island. Now, this took me to Kameiros which I had read about and was determined to see. It was a trek of a day, travelling between many many little towns (which really showed how the inhabitants really live) up and down into hills (didn’t help my headache), but I loved it. I consider myself quite fit, but walking to the top of that hill so I could look down on the remains of the ancient city, did take the puff out of my lungs!

Ancient Kameiros was possibly destroyed by a large earthquake in 142BC

I loved so much about the island of Rhodes – the view from my balcony of the sea beating down on rocks, the little walk to a rocky outcrop for some “rock-climbing”, to the ancient and slightly newer sites, the food and the quietness of being off season. I’m so glad that I’d already set my heart on visiting more Greek islands and my fingers are crossed that Crete can live up to the memories of Rhodes.

The lowest point on the Western coast - Monolithos and a sheer drop!

I’ll be in another all inclusive hotel, just outside of a little town which apparently has a nice harbour (Rhodes Town harbour) where I can perhaps try and eat an authentic little Greek meal because AI isn’t always that great. I don’t need a beach that’s swimmable, but one that has character and something unique about it – picturesque – is important. Funky chairs in the bar area is always fun and the sites of Knossos, Phaestos and Gortys could easily rival Lindos and Kameiros. Lastly, Crete has some of the best flora and fauna, I’ve read, so maybe I’ll even persuade the husband to come walk a gorge with me. What’s even better is this year I’ve opted for May – trying to balance the quiet of April with a bit more of the sun from July/August.

Less than four months to go!

~ Persephone M

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