A Travellerspoint blog

Thursday - Up for dawn and butterflies

Trying to capture a sunrise and visiting the Valley of the Butterflies

sunny 40 °C
View Rhodes on SirRogue58's travel map.

Six am the alarm went off and I was up and ready in a couple of minutes. Sue took a little longer as she’s not as fast at waking up as me. The reason we wanted to go to Lindos this early was because we had seen the sunrise there when we were on the way to our complex and the coach dropped off some people there. Also we had seen people parked up there admiring the view. When we arrived about 6:30 we had missed the sunrise I must have noted the wrong time when we first passed it as I was tired so maybe we’ll get up at 5 another time to see it. But as we were there we decided to wander around the village. Lindos has all white buildings, almost cube like, with narrow pedestrianised streets. The lighting was lovely for photos, which we took whilst we explored the empty streets. By 7:30 we’d seen enough and decided it was time to go back for breakfast. On the way a bakery had just opened where we got something which looked like a pasty but was made of pizza base and had bacon, cheese, tomato and peppers in and also a cheese and bacon twist thing, also made of pizza base. Once we had eaten and spruced up a bit we drove to the Valley of the Butterflies near the Village of Kalamonas. We had stopped on the way at a view point for a quick drink and had not realised how high we had climbed. The view would have been a lot better if the power station was not slap bang in the middle of it. But it was still good.

We finally go to the valley and the whole journey didn’t take us long and it was well signposted. We had heard it was best to get there early and when we got there, there were already quite a few people. We paid our €5 and started to make our way down the valley. The first part we saw was quite pretty but nothing like the pictures we had seen in the guide books. What we had seen were trunks of trees swarming with moths Oh well maybe the photographer was able to get of the path to take his photos. A little further on and we saw some moths then….. We saw what was in the guide books. Wow so many and it was not just the tree trunks that were covered but the rocks too. You could not help take loads of photos. Eventually, we made our way up through the valley after stopping loads of times to try to catch the perfect photo, and reached the Kalopetra Monastery. This was only a small place but had fantastic views and also refreshments. What I thought was strange that instead of monks there were a couple of ladies selling refreshments and in one of the side buildings were kids watching TV. After a short while we made our way back down through the valley still stopping from time to time to take photos and back to the car. Unfortunately during our time in the valley they had closed the road and with only 1 arrow showing diversion we were left to find our way back. With cars following us we found our way past a military base and back into a town we recognised. I know the cars were following us as we had made a wrong turning in the town and had to turn around (we were not alone)

After we got back to the complex we got ourselves ready for dinner and made our way to the Beach road. We decided after looking at a few of the menus to eat at Oasis. This was a place I imagine can get quite busy during the day as it had it’s own bar side pool and Sky sports. I had chosen sirloin steak and cheese this night Sue had chilli Even though it looked a cheap and cheerful place it was one of the most expensive meals we had. Maybe they pile on the price on the drinks. (Cokes).

Posted by SirRogue58 04:33 Archived in Greece Tagged rhodes lindos kalamonas kalopetra_monastery Comments (0)

Wednesday - Touring and "off roading"

Taking the car where we were told not to

sunny 40 °C
View Rhodes on SirRogue58's travel map.

When we woke the next morning we sat on our terrace for a couple of cups of tea and a read. I’m now on my 3rd book this one I obtained from the “library” here at the reception area. Maybe people were worried about their excess baggage and left their books behind like we did when we were on vacation in Italy. Anyway, after reading for a while we got our selves ready and we were off exploring in our new transportation.

As the car was only supplied ½ full of petrol (and we had to return it that way) our first mission was to go in search of a garage to fill up. We drove through Pefkos and up into Lardos to got to the main road. We found a garage right away and €20 later we were filled up and on our way again. But we saw signs for Lindos! It seemed we heading for Rhodes as we knew Lindos was the completely wrong direction. Next we were up in the hills and then we saw the sea. Hmmmm could this be the other side of the island? The sea was on our right and if we were going south it should be the other side but unless we were going at 100 miles an hour it could not be. We turned round and then managed to get on the right road heading the right direction.

Going along the coast there did not seem to be many beaches that could be accessed easily also there were hardly any towns or villages. Though there were a number of resort complexes we passed. Gennadi was the only town we came close to for quite a while. We headed down the coast to the most Southerly tip of Rhodes island after stopping again to decide which fork to take we guessed the right way and a couple of miles on we were greeted by the sight of an island (Prassonissi) joined only to the mainland by a causeway of sand. What makes it more spectacular was that to the right was the Mediterranean to the left the Aegean Sea. Even thought the seas were only separated by 100 yards there where “white horses” on the Mediterranean side and the Aegean was quite still. We drove down to the beach and thought it was time for a spot of lunch as it was now 12ish.

We had parked on the beach by a taverna (and some octopus drying in the sun) and was greeted by one of the waiters who liked my T-shirt which had on it “Just out of rehab – let’s party!!!” We plumbed for a Greek salad again but with only one bowl of chips to share. This place was so relaxing: sand, palm trees, people kite surfing, and the sound of canaries in cages under the sun umbrellas. Whilst eating we could watch the cars make their way up the steep dirt track of Prassonissi, leaving dust clouds behind tem.

After our lunch we decided we would have a go. Even though we were told not to go off tarmaced roads in the hire car. (they will never find out unless we break down there). Driving across the sand to the island, the route was only one cars width which had been hardened by the traffic. Not a problem unless you have a car coming the opposite direction. I think I did the right thing by keeping ½ the wheels on the track and hoping the on-coming driver would do the same. Phew we made it across to the other side. Now we had to wait for a couple of cars to come down the dirt track. After a bit of slipping and sliding we managed to get off the soft sand and on the track. Keeping an open eye for big dips and boulders we made our way to the top. I think the ride up was just as fun as the view and I do mean it was fun. After admiring the view and taking loads of photos it was time to come back down the track, which was a lot easier, than the upward journey. We parked the car as soon as we got to the bottom and decided to take photos of the kite surfers. Amazing stuff. On the Aegean side, which was smoother, as well as kite surfers there were also wind surfers. The kite surfers got so close to the shore and took off a number of times. After spending quite a while taking photos and experimenting with our cameras settings it was time to let Valentino out of the car. Yea he has joined us on this trip too. We got some good shots of him on the beach with the sea behind. And then it was time to make a move.

We got back to the car and started to put things in the boot. We were going to stop on the other side of the sand causeway for a drink but before that we wanted to take some photos of the car with a good back ground, also, Sue wanted to drive. I went to my pocket to give her the key and all I pulled out was the key fob. Panic!!!! We must have dropped the key on the sand!!! Where could it be??? My first thought was when I was lying on the sand to get a good photo of Valentino. Then it dawned on me. The boot was open. To open the boot we needed a key if we opened the boot the key was here. Yes it was in the lock of the open boot. Panic over.

Sue got in the car and drove forward so I could take the photos then I got in and we made our way to the Taverna for a drink. Ooooops we got stuck in the soft sand. But after a little reversing we were out of where we were dug in and back onto the hard sand. The taverna we stopped in was like many seaside places. Functional but when you’re thirsty and the temperature is up in the 40s you don’t care.

We then thought, because we’re down as far south as we can go, we could go up the west coast and then cut across to the east near where we were staying. Both Sue and I would rather go back a new route rather than retrace an old one.

With me driving again, we headed up to Monolithos castle as we were told that the sunsets were best there. We actually got to the viewpoint about 4pm, 4 ½ hours before sunset but the view was still breath taking as we were high up looking down on the castle perched on a large rocky mound. At the viewpoint there two stalls selling honey from the region but we were not the only visitors as there was a coach stopped here also. We sat on one of the benches admiring the view of a castle and eventually the coach drove off with its German tourists and the smell (of the exhaust not the Germans) we were now alone (except the honey sellers) and able to enjoy the view in silence.

After a while we drove further on round and parked at the base of the castle mound and all three of us (Valentino our mascot too) climbed the steps to the castle and the chapel that was also built there. Sue liked the chapel as she cold pretend she was a catholic and light a candle but I being the real catholic realised you had to pay for it, which I did. We took more photos in precarious places making sure Valentino would not be blown away off the battlements. And then it was a walk back down to the cantina for a welcome drink. Oh just to put things straight these drinks are non-alcoholic as I’m driving. Ok?

As there was still plenty of time before sunset we got back in the car and drove on to Stelies which we were told was well known for its rugs and honey. This was quite a nice village with a few Tavernas and a few tourist shops and an interesting church. Interesting, as the clocks on it were not real it had its clock faces and hands were only painted on. We first thought they were telling the wrong time or it was something to do with daylight saving and stuff as they were exactly 1 hour ahead but then we spotted they were fake. I mentioned to Sue that only 3 of the 4 clocks were completed as only 3 could be seen easily. Still with plenty of time to spare we headed back to the village of Monolithos where we had spotted the Panorama Taverna, and wow, what a panoramic view it had too. We could even see hawks flying below us, but strangely enough, it was so quiet.

There were only 2 locals sat at a table when we arrived and then another 4 people turned up. Whilst we waited we tried to figure out what it was with this 4. There were 2 older men, one with long hair and missing front teeth that both spoke Greek and English. Then there was another young couple that spoke English. Listening we could tell they were Australian and the older chap with the long hair also had an Australian accent when speaking English to them. Hmmmm maybe he was a grand father who had moved back to Rhodes and these were family visiting. Oh well that’s the conclusion we came up with. Then our meal arrived, I had chosen gyros & chips and Sue had a Greek selection of gyros, stifado, meatballs & chips. By the time we had finished the meal it was almost 7:30 so we decided to go back to the viewpoint for the sunset. One of the honey sellers had already closed shop and the other was almost done. We sat and read for a while keeping an eye on the sun and whilst we were waiting 2 men came to secure the pay to view binoculars that were there. Then about 8:30 the sunset arrived. It wasn’t as spectacular as we thought it might have been. But we still took plenty of photos and had some good ones too. Then it was time to make our way home. It was only about 30km but with roads with no streetlights and funny place names in Greek we didn’t want to go too fast. If we had we may have hit the hare that ran out. Looking in the rear view mirror I noticed the sky had become red. Bugger!!! If we had waited another 15 mins then it would have been a spectacular sunset. Oh well maybe we’ll visit that place again now we know the cross-country route. On the cross country road we saw a few tavernas which seemed odd as they were in the middle of nowhere. We had almost reached the East coast when passing a taverna a shadow went in front of the car. It was a man in dark clothes running across the road. A road with no street lights. It was a wonder how we missed him. Now we know why there are so many little chapel things on the sides of the roads for the people that were killed on them.

We eventually got back to the complex about 9:30. I was gasping for a Mythos by now and after downing one by the pool we headed back to our apartment. After a much-travelled day we opened up the baccardi and coke and relaxed and played cards.

Posted by SirRogue58 04:04 Archived in Greece Tagged rhodes pefkos gennadi prassonissi monolithos_castle stelies mythos_beer off_roading Comments (0)

Tuesday - Getting the hire car

Our pet Panda

sunny 40 °C
View Rhodes on SirRogue58's travel map.

Eventually we woke about 9:30 and decided that today we would sort out the hire car. After a couple of cups of tea and some reading we got ready and walked into Pefkos again. The wind was still blowing which cooled us down well and the walk was not as bad this time. We made our way directly to Georges and after some haggling we booked the car for later that evening for 9 days (until Thursday before we go back). As we could pick up the car about 9:30 we decided to have a look at what restaurants were in the area so we could have dinner then pick the car up. After walking down to the beach we decided it was time for a light lunch of a salad as we had not had breakfast. I had tuna salad and Sue had a Greek one, both with a bowl of chips. Oh and a large Mythos and a large diet coke. Light lunch hmm, we were quite full after that. But we knew we had a walk back to do. We decide to have a look along the beach and came across some steps up the “cliff” to another taverna. Maybe this was a short cut. Well it was bit shorter and after popping into another supermarket to cool down we then completed our journey to where we were staying. But before we turned into our resort we decided to explore a little further as to the beach that was only 5 mins away….

Well it was 5 mins away but it was only a small beach no umbrellas so no shade. The track down was like as some one described in a review like going into a quarry. Maybe one day will go there for a swim. We did walk a little further around the coast and could see the acropolis at Lindos through the trees and between two hills but too far to walk to.

We came back to the room to freshen up before our evening meal. For this we went to Taverna Nikolas just up the road from us and on the main road. We had a really nice pork loin in blue cheese sauce, with potatoes in cream and grilled/roasted courgettes. So far we have not had a bad meal anywhere. After the meal it was about 9pm so we made our way into Pefkos to get our hire car. The Beach road was really busy by this time. Pefkos seems so quiet during the day but at this time of night Sue compared them to cockroaches. I think that she meant that they come out at night and that there are so many of them not that they carry all sorts of nasty things (maybe some do).

After filling in all the necessary paperwork and inspecting our Fiat Panda (sue loved the colour), we were mobile. We managed to avoid all the human cockroaches but not sure if we got any of the bug kind. Then we got to the main road.

One thing about driving abroad is the driving on the wrong side of the road. As us Brits and Japanese know, we drive on the right side and the rest of the world drives on the wrong side. The journey from Georges to our complex meant I did not have to make any left turns, which is good when getting used to driving the “WRONG” SIDE”. But we then decided we needed some “provisions”. Just past our turning was a supermarket, which we would call a mini market but it seems that all owners of mini markets here and other Mediterranean countries feel that theirs is super. This “Super” market was on the other side of the road, so that put paid to my not having to cross over. I’m only kidding as I have lived in Belgium and Holland and I am used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road.

Provisions bought we returned to the complex and settled down to watch another DVD during which we fell asleep.

Posted by SirRogue58 03:58 Archived in Greece Tagged rhodes car_hire Comments (0)

Monday - Setting off the Alarm

Sue's cooking

sunny 40 °C
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Next morning the wind had picked up which was quite refreshing. Whilst Sue was making egg on toast for breakfast I decided a call of nature was called for just as I heard Sue scraping the toast the phone in the bathroom rang and as I was the closest to a phone I answered. “Is everything ok a voice asked” “confused I replied “yes?” I “Are you cooking?” the voice next asked. Ohhhhh The burnt toast had set the smoke detector off but instead of an alarm going off in the room the reception area was notified. I expect they’ve had a lot of false alarms in the past like this one and thought it better to have a phone and check system rather than evacuate the apartments in the block.

After this excitement we had our burnt toast and eggs on the balcony and after then went directly to the pool. to get some more rays. We had nothing planned for today except relaxing. After a couple of hours we were cooked again and came back to the room for a 2nd helping of our “traditional Greek lunch”. After a siesta we watched a little of the satellite TV and got ready for our dinner The satellite TV consisted of 6 channels 2 News BBC World News & Euro News, 2 Luxury shopping channels (no prices if you have to ask you cant afford) and 2 Polish music channels.

Tonight was close up magician night. We got there about 8:30 for our meal which I chose stifado stew and Sue had feta pasta. But by 9:30 we realised the magician had disappeared. Oh well we were feeling tired again and went back to our room to watch the rest of the DVD and another and then dropped off to sleep about midnight. We didn’t sleep that well as Sue had a slightly upset stomach and as we had the patio doors open again, we could hear the people laughing across the pool in the bar, to at least 3:30am.

Posted by SirRogue58 03:55 Archived in Greece Tagged rhodes Comments (0)

Sunday - Pretending to be Newly Weds

Arriving at our apartment

sunny 40 °C
View Rhodes on SirRogue58's travel map.

Ater dozing a little we arrived at Rhodes airport at 3:20 am local time and were relieved as always that the luggage we paid an extra £120 for (still seething) arrived there too. Though we did say if they hadn’t arrived we would have had a field day claiming compensation.

We boarded the coach with the rest of the weary tourists who where then dropped off at various resorts and hotels on Rhodes. One place Sue and I were glad not to be dropped off at was Faliraki especially after seeing the clubbers who were making their way back to their rooms at 5:30 in the morning and those still in the bars and restaurants. Seeing the sun rise as we were transported to various locations was really nice even though tired. I was trying to see what this island was like through the darkness. It was eventually light enough to get a good view as we came to Lindos the resort just before ours in Pefkos. It looked so nice I mentioned to Sue that I would like to go there again at the same time in the morning with my camera. We’ll see if that happen. We arrived at Pefkos village resort about 6:30 and were the penultimate couple to leave the coach. After checking in we were shown to out rooms by an English person who told us the temperature was up in the upper 40s (deg C) when we got to the room we had a ½ bottle of wine waiting for us with a note wishing us a happy honeymoon. Ooooops! We had said to the girl at the travel agents what the honeymoon “tick box” was for she said she didn’t know and just ticked it, as it was no extra charge. After saying to the receptionist It wasn’t our honey moon we thought Oooops maybe we should have kept quite. (And get more freebies hahaha). When the chap from reception left, we unpacking the £120 extra costing cases and we were sat on our balcony having a couple of tea (with the milk we saved from the aircraft) by 7am. After a short while we went to bed to catch up on some well missed Zs. About 10 am we went to the pool area and had a breakfast of eggs, beans and bacon on toast. I know not your usual Greek breakfast but we did just want to have something we knew, to start our 1st day with. That with 2 iced coffees was enough. We popped into the complex supermarket (small shop) for rolls & butter, salami, cheese slices and olives for “our” traditional Greek lunch and some bottled water. We then went to the pool to get the rays and a tan to start the holiday proper.

After a couple of hours we had roasted enough and dipped in the pool enough. Even the Mythos (beer) didn’t cool us down. We then went back to our room and balcony for our “Greek lunch” and yummy it was too. (We tried to recreate it back at home when we got back from Crete but it’s not the same).

Now it was time to explore. After we cleared up, we went up the road to Pefkos, noticing on the way some of the Tavernas we had seen mentioned in the tourist reviews we had read. You know the saying, “mad dogs and Englishmen…”? well it was sooo hot and it was 3 hours past mid day too!! We were glad we had some bottled water with us whilst walking into Pefkos. Eventually we came to the Beach Road and saw Georges (The car hire place I had emailed). They, at this time, were shut as they closed between 12:30 & 6:30. We popped in next door for some cold cokes and a breather. Already we noticed that there seemed to be a lot of English people working in the bars and restaurants here, but then if you enjoy the sun and life here why not. Later we walked down to the beach not a great expanse of sand but quite nice with its sun umbrellas and gently shelving sand to the waters edge.

The rep was having a meet and greet at 5:30 so we thought it was about time to make our way back. Back up the hill back along the hot road back in the blistering heat. Did I say it was hot? We took refuge in a few supermarkets on the way back and had a couple of water stops too but eventually we realised we were slightly lost. We had missed the turning back to where we were staying. After calling into a taverna to give us directions we managed to get to see the rep 15 mins late.

When she mentioned about us being our honeymoon we said we had told the receptionist that we were keeping it quiet. We didn’t want to hurt her feelings as it was her that had done the welcome message and the wine Ooooops do we feel guilty? (not really hahaha)

We got back to our room and had a clean up and got ready for dinner. Tonight was Greek menu night and yummy it was too. Vine leaves stuffed with rice and a yoghurt dip. Pita bread, gyros, stifado, moussaka, rice, salad and pork skewer. Oh and a Mythos beer too.

We then went back to our room after completing our first day in Pefkos and only a couple of hours sleep in the previous 36 hours. As we already found out that the air conditioning was so expensive we had declined it so with patio doors opened and curtains drawn, we settled down to watch a DVD but did not see much as we were so tired and fell asleep quickly.

Posted by SirRogue58 03:47 Archived in Greece Tagged rhodes faleraki Comments (0)

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