Rodos, Greece: Initial Impressions

I should have known better, but in the rush to quickly book a long weekend away on a sunny island in a new country, I booked an All Inclusive hotel on Rhodes… The hotel itself is nice: clean, modern, friendly and right on the beach. And after checking in I did the Done Thing and had a bite to eat from what was left on the buffet, and then grabbed a free sun lounger between the pools and the shouldn’t-be-in-a-speedo guests. I went for a quick dip in the ocean (chillier than I expected), grabbed the free ice cream (available between 3 & 5 at pool bar) and my All Inclusive Gin & Lemon drink in a plastic cup. I am proud (I think) to say that I lasted all of 2 hours. I left most of the artificial drink and the piped pop music behind and jumped into my rental to explore this Greek island. I saw several beautiful, dry islands from the air coming – but Rodos has a lot more green vegetation. There are a lot of closed up businesses though, and plenty of run-down buildings. You can see clearly how Greece is suffering at the moment. Even my rental car is substantially older and in poorer shape than what I normally expect from such an international company. I drove once across the island from my hotel in Ialyssos in the north west to Faliraki on the east coast. The “rush”of the day had passed (the season is over now, and many business close in the next few weeks, re-opening in March). The beaches are more sandy this side, the bars and tavernas one next to another overlooking beautiful bays, crystal clear water and lots of rocky formations. After a good long stroll, I hopped back in my car and drove towards Rhodes town. I made a short stop at the Therme on the way – a beautiful circular venue used for weddings and with a stunning restaurant as well. Rhodes old town is apparently the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe. It certainly has the largest and most intact city wall that I have ever seen. It is up to 12m thick and has several gates and turrets. Inside are plenty of cobbled streets, old buildings and hundreds of tourists traps restaurants and shopping opportunities. It was attractive and buzzing at night with all the people and lights. The owner at Mama Sofia was very friendly at the start – but the calamari was the toughest I have ever had. And the wine from Rhodes must be something to get used to… I walked back through the old and “new” town to my car. The new town had a lot more seriously up-market stores and restaurants than I expected from my drive (all open till at least 9pm). The streets are also smaller than usual, giving it all a wonderful charm. I wanted to check out Berlin Bar (the local gay bar which is closing for the season on the weekend) – but 9 is too early, and I don’t do empty bars on my own well… So I took a slow drive back to my hotel, knowing that the Animation Programme must have started…yay… My room really has a great location – when there is no music playing I can hear the sea from my balcony. And I am on the end, so I only have one neighbor. The hotel is in the approach path for the airport, which is great for me, I get to do some plane spotting (strangely not every one likes this…). Being on the end means that I am lucky (cough) to have the entertainment stage directly below my balcony. When I got in, there was a duel between Denmark and Holland for who could most quickly guess a song that was played on the sound system. Interesting concept, with an audience scattered across the whole complex watching and listening with glee. Just mildly frustrating that none of the songs were ever played to the end… I know a lot of people love this type of holiday: fly to another country, transfer to hotel, have all the food and drink you need, get entertained every evening and then fly home. No need to leave the complex and interact with pesky locals… I have never been one for that, but I have sold more than my fair share of those holidays to people. And at least now I can say I have done this as well! So here I sit with a bottle of wine snuck into my room (does one sneak alcohol into an all inclusive joint??) making the most of the wifi and the lemmings guests below. I’m hoping for a great breakfast tomorrow, and then some more exploring in Lindos me thinks. A quick note on my flight: I flew directly from Munich to Rhodes on Aegean Airlines. I had a seat in Row 2, which was business class seating – bonus! Despite a very full flight, there were only 2 of us in the 6 seats of that row. The snack was ok, the staff were friendly. Let’s see what the return will bring. Here some pics of the day: My plane Greece from the air View from my hotel room Faliraki The Therme The old town cobblestones and panorama And the beautiful restaurant at the Therme

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