Rhodes has beautiful beaches; we visited three during our stay: Tsampikas, Traganou and Anthony Quinn. Quinn filmed “Guns of Navaronne” in Rhodes and loved Greece very much. (“Zorba the Greek” was filmed on the island of Crete). He wanted to buy three parcels of land right above the cove of the beach that now bears his name; the middle one was owned by the state and they promised to sell it to him. They reneged, despite the fact that Quinn had already paid for significant water and power infrastructure to the area. The beach is gorgeous; easy to see why he chose here. Tsampikas and Traganou were large, organized beaches (chairs, umbrellas, snack bar) and both had nifty rocks for jumping and caves for exploring. We had the SUPs with us and we took turns paddling around.
With six mild sunburns (everyone except Michael), we spent a day out of the sun to explore. We started our day at the Butterfly (petaloudes) Valley, a preserve for tiger moths. It was a pretty, shaded hike along a river with millions of orange and black tiger moths camouflaging themselves on rocks and tree trunks. The forest is full of oriental sweet gum trees (Demetri’s landscape & hort degree is so handy) which the butterflies (moths) love.
From there we drove to Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elijah), a mountain with sea views about 26 km from Rhodes town. There is a beautiful chalet at the top surrounded by forest that is home to the rare “dama dama” deer. The chalet building was constructed in 1929 by Italian colonists, commandeered by the Nazis during WWII and used as a hospital for German soldiers, and now it’s a hotel. There’s also a villa onsite that was the summer residence of the Italian Governor of Rhodes from 1936-40. This was intended as a retirement home for Benito Mussolini; the photo of us on this page is just below the villa. Obviously Mussolini never retired here. We had a lovely lunch in the hotel (which had a huge bookshelf full of kids’ toys, bless them) and headed to Lindos.
Lindos was founded by the Dorians in the 10th century B.C. It’s a pretty little village with a large acropolis at the top. We arrived at 6:45 and had an hour to see it – we literally jogged through the alleys and up the hill to get in before closing time and sunset. It was hot and very humid; we were grateful for breezes at the top. There was considerable ancient wealth here – the archaeological museum has some wonderful pieces found in and around the Lindos acropolis. The Dorians built a temple to Athena Lindia in the 4th century on top of another destroyed temple, a Hellenistic Wall surrounds the Acropolis, and there is a Roman temple dedicated to Emperor Diocletian. All of these are protected by a castle built by the Knights of St. John in the 1300s. Outside the walls are the remains of an ancient theater.
Side note: we logged some 16,000 steps (6.5 miles) on this exploration day — and this included a few hours of driving.
On our last night in Rhodes, we visited a very traditional taverna in Psinthos — most of the dishes (goat in tomato sauce with chickpeas, lamb with lemon, oven cooked pork) had been cooking for hours. We decided to go early, arriving around 8 pm which turned out to be a smart move as by 845 the restaurant was completely full. We ended the evening as we have most of the summer — kids asleep at horrible angles in the backseat, carrying them into bed at midnight (or later).