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The Road to Rhodes

Rhodes

sunny 29 °C
View Rhodes on kmmk17's travel map.

When it came to our summer holiday this year we were pretty open minded - all we wanted was somewhere warm, a nice hotel with good food, and not in Spain.

Nothing against Spain - they do what they do really well, but after going to Gran Canaria last year, and having been to Spain 11 times before, I really wanted to go somewhere new this year.

We looked around for a while and started to settle in on Greece. I had been to Athens 10 years ago, but that was all. Visiting one of the islands would be a different experience, and we started to settle in on Crete. Nevertheless, we didn't want to book anything too far in advance - all the Covid related cancellations and reschedulings had scarred us, so we waited until relatively close to the time.

Then just as we were ready to book at the hotel I had found, I had a thought - is Crete the island we wanted to visit? I started to think about Rhodes, and realised it had more to see. Last minute change of plan!

We looked at the flights and they were all pretty awful timings. Looked at hotels and last minute bookings meant a small choice that met our wants. In the end it worked out better to go on a package with Tui than to book everything independently. Going All-Inclusive with Tui was no more expensive than our usual Half Board independent trip, so we decided to make our lives easier and do that. Let's treat ourselves - after all, we had scrapped a holiday in August anyway!

The hotel we found looked pretty good - but there were some sketchy reviews - ants, dodgy WiFi, smelly nearby sewage works. But the reviews for other good places we'd stayed before had sketchy reviews, and did some of this matter anyway? We took a punt and decided just to go with it!

The Kresten Royal

The Kresten Royal

Several weeks later, it was almost time to head off. Then two days before we were due to leave, the Queen died. How annoying - all the drama, special TV programmes and general excitement of this generational event was taking place whilst we were heading out of the country. We had talked about going down to London - maybe to see the lying in state. Then there was the funeral - when would this take place and would be able to see it?

As our flight wasn't leaving until mid afternoon, we got to see the official proclamation of the new monarch on TV that morning. We had heard rumours that the funeral would take place on the Monday after we returned, which would give us time to head down to London the day before (the day after we got back) but this wasn't yet confirmed

Mourning

Mourning

It was soon time to head off. Once arriving at the airport there was no mistaking the country was in mourning. There were images of the Queen everywhere, as well as a Book of Condolence, which we had signed as we didn't have time to visit one at home.

Book of Condolence

Book of Condolence

By the time we would arrive in Greece, we would miss dinner so we grabbed food from the recently opened Burger King in the departure lounge, before boarding our plane.

It was a four hour flight, so we'd got some newspapers, puzzle books and music to keep us entertained. Some beautiful views en route over the Alps and Italy and then just after sunset we arrived at Rhodes Airport.

The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn

Frustratingly most of the UK flights were arriving at the same times, and so there was a lot of hanging about. Baggage reclaim took around an hour, and then we waited ages for our transfer coach to leave. It then decided to reverse the drop off route and so we were one of the last to get dropped off. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was just after midnight - even accounting for the loss of two hours, this still meant 10 hours end to end. Being late there was just one poor man on he reception dealing with all the new arrivals. Eventually we managed to get our key and head to the room.

The bar was still open for another half hour, so we decided to go and get a drink so we could at least do something on our first day!

The following morning we headed down to breakfast, had our fill and then headed to the nearby supermarket to get some supplies. We sussed out the local buses and headed back to the hotel. It was then finally time to start enjoying ourselves! We made our way to the top pool - just next to the hotel where there was a bar. Found ourselves some sun loungers and grabbed some drinks. All-inclusive meant free, so we started working our way through the cocktail list.

By the Pool

By the Pool

After having dinner we headed down to the bar and then sat and enjoyed some evening entertainment.

The following day we decided to head down to the lower pool, which we realised we didn't enjoy as much, despite being closer to the restaurant with the Souvlaki. We briefly went to the beach, where the pebbles hurt our feet, before heading back up to the top pool.

After two days in the hotel, on the Tuesday we had a day out - heading south to visit the ruins at Lindos. After breakfast, we headed to the bus stop and got on a direct bus to Lindos. It took around 90 minutes and picked up more and more people until there was no room left, but eventually we arrived at the very busy tourist town.

The buses stop on the outskirts of the town, and everyone then walks down the hill, passing numerous stray cats, towards the quaint, traditional Greek town.

Streets of Lindos

Streets of Lindos

Many winding streets made this very busy, but before long we arrived at the entrance to the ruins. We bought out tickets online so we didn't need to queue for ages and headed straight through.

Lindos

Lindos

To be honest, these ruins were no more special than any other set of Greek ruins, but nevertheless they were still pretty and had beautiful views over the nearby bays.

Lindos Bay

Lindos Bay

We had a nice look around, before we headed back down through the beautiful town and eventually back to the bus station.

Arriving back at the hotel earlier than expected, we had time to go into the main restaurant for lunch (normally the effort to get dressed meant we opted for the Souvlaki and Pizza at the outside restaurant). We then had some more sunbathing before dinner and a visit to the bar that night.

After a day out, Wednesday was spent chilling in the hotel. However we overdid it a bit on the alcohol today. Too many strong cocktails too quickly. I had aimed to beat my record of 7 earlier in the week - but with 5 before lunch I ended up feeling queasy all day and gave up! A lesson for the rest of the week...

Cocktails Galore

Cocktails Galore

That afternoon there was a big changeover at the hotel. Many of the nice courteous (and mostly German) guests headed home, to be replaced by bus loads of Israelis who can only be described as "pushy". They made their presence known instantly and it meant and end to the nice orderly queues in the restaurant and the peaceful relaxing by the pool for the rest of the holiday...

The following day we again headed out of the hotel - making our way up to Rhodes Town. There is a lot of history here and it was a beautiful place to visit.

Site of the Colossus

Site of the Colossus

We started around the harbour - heading past many of the old buildings before reaching the site where the Colossus stood before being destroyed in the earthquake in 226BC, and now graced by a pair of Does. Pretty, but not quite on par with one of the seven Wonders of the World.

The Doe

The Doe

We then headed around to the other side of the harbour, passing three beautiful traditional windmills.

Mandraki Windmills

Mandraki Windmills

Just past these was a man looking after numerous cats, and finally at the end of the harbour entrance is another doe statue, and from where the Turkish coast can be seen, just 12 miles away.

Cats

Cats

We then headed south, entering the Old City, to where many of the most important old buildings on this island are located.

Grand Master's Palace

Grand Master's Palace

We walked past numerous souvenir shops, cafés, defensive and religious buildings of different types, representing the history of the rule of this island by the Romans, Ottomans, Italians and Greeks.

Old Town Streets

Old Town Streets

We then headed back towards the bus stop and eventually our hotel. Once again, being back at lunchtime we headed into the main restaurant for lunch. It was outside the entrance where we noticed one of the new guests, a young girl from Britain was hurriedly buying a T-shirt from the neighbouring gift shop, so she could enter for lunch - apparently dismayed that this 5* resort won't allow their guests to enter (barely) wearing a bikini...

The following day was our last full day. We again spent it around the pool, with cocktails and snacks before heading for dinner. Tonight the entertainment was "International Night", which basically meant getting out the bouzouki.

Bouzouki Time

Bouzouki Time

I decided to take a nice evening walk around the resort, taking a night time walk down to the beach and around the complex.

Evening view from our room

Evening view from our room

Our final day was now upon us, and thankfully our All inclusive wristbands weren't taken off us at check out, so we could again enjoy some drinks and snacks - particularly useful as our pick up was just before dinner time.

The airport was again full of faffing - lots of delays and extremely busy. A particular 'highlight' was the boarding of our flight at the exact same time as those at the gate next door. Everyone must get on an airport bus, and as there wasn't room to board both at the same time, we had to wait for all the stragglers heading to East Midlands before we could even start. In the end it meant boarding the flight 90 minutes later than departure was supposed to be - at around midnight - with estimated arrival back home at 2am (accounting for the time difference). Great...

This essentially made this a short haul overnight flight, and we eventually arrived home at around 3am (5am Greek time).

As planned, the following day we got up and headed into London to see the interesting, but busy and hectic funeral preparations - thank God for the extra bank holiday giving us chance to finally rest... even if my Out of Office was completely wrong...

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:45 Archived in Greece Tagged sea architecture history airport memorial sun pool tourists drunk Comments (0)

Costa Dubrovnik

#BalkanBants - Dubrovnik

sunny 32 °C
View #BalkanBants on kmmk17's travel map.


Arriving in Dubrovnik in the evening was a bit of a culture shock. After travelling through standard cities we had suddenly arrived in a tourist hotspot. As we got on the bus into the old city, the first people we saw were drunken, sunburnt Brits.

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

After a busy few days through Bosnia it was quite a relief to be spending two whole days in Dubrovnik giving us chance to get settled, have a lie in, and do a bit of washing, and luckily for us we were staying the Old City itself, meaning we were super close to all the attractions, and were able to pop back during the day to recover from the heat - and despite being crazily busier on the main street, the side streets were quiet enough for us not to be disturbed, and achieve a good old rest.

On the Stradun

On the Stradun

On the first day we explored the Old City, walking along the Stradun, and around the Harbour, before having our beach afternoon taking a dip in the sea overlooking the Old City. Unfortunately so hot was the weather that after just a little bit of time I was absolutely exhausted and needed to go back for an afternoon nap.

Dubrovnik Beach

Dubrovnik Beach


Old City from Mt. Srđ

Old City from Mt. Srđ

After recovering we ventured down to the aquarium before eating and then going up Mt. Srđ for sunset, to witness the great views of the city in both day and night.

Old City by night

Old City by night

Coming back down and taking a walk around the city lit up at night, we headed back to the apartment for the night, and the following morning we took a walk around the city walls.

Rector's Palace

Rector's Palace

After an ice cream to cool off, we went for a walk around the Lovrijenac fortress before coming back to the harbour to take a boat tour around Lokrum island.

Lovrijenac from the boat

Lovrijenac from the boat

After an evening enjoying the sunset with a few drinks on the rocks outside the city walls, our short busy-yet-restful stop was over and the next morning we were headed just down the coast to Kotor in Montenegro for more stunning views.

Dubrovnik was very pretty however it was a bit tainted by the huge masses of tourists that meant the views were not as enjoyable as they could be. This was as near as I had come to a holiday resort in a long time and hopefully it will be the last for a while too.....

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Croatia Tagged beach history mountain city tourists balkanbants Comments (0)

"Can I take a picture with you?"

RTW - Macau

all seasons in one day 27 °C
View Round The World Trip on kmmk17's travel map.


On my first full day the weather in Hong Kong was torrential...getting absolutely drenched after a few minutes, despite all my waterproofs on, but this didn't matter so much as I walked a short distance to the ferry terminal, where I would take a ferry over to the Portuguese version of Hong Kong - Macau.

The territory was handed back over to China in 1999 and unlike Hong Kong is very very small (around half the size of San Marino, compared to HK's half the size of Luxembourg), and actually makes more money in gambling than Las Vegas.

Senado Square

Senado Square

Luckily the weather in Macau was much nicer, although it did make the first half of the hour long ferry journey pretty bumpy. I then spent about 5 hours walking around the territory, starting with the newer developed areas where some of the casinos are, before walking around some of the more Chinese areas and seeing Senado Square.

Ruins of St. Paul's

Ruins of St. Paul's

I then finished my tour of the city with it's landmark - the ruins of St. Paul's - a former cathedral that was mostly destroyed by a fire after a typhoon in 1835, with only the front façade remaining. It was here that the bizarre moment of my trip occurred, when after being asked by a group of what looked like Chinese to take a group photo for them, I was asked if they could take a photo with me...

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Macau Tagged history tourists rtw colony Comments (0)

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