Sep 22, 2014

A Visit to the Dodecanese, part one: Rhodes

Time for another let’s-pretend-this-is-a-travel-blog post (sorry!): last week I was on holiday in the Greek islands of Rhodes and Symi, where I had the most wonderful time. The only literary connection I can make here is that I was raised on a heavy diet of Greek mythology, and the Ancient World looms very large on my imagination — I always like to see where stories I care about come from, and it’s more exciting than I can say to visit places whose names I’ve known for so long. However, I know next to nothing about contemporary Greek literature, and the trip sprung up on me before I had the chance to investigate. Suggestions, anyone?

Rhodes was an excellent match for my interests: it combines beautiful beaches with lots of opportunities for historical sightseeing. As much as I love the sea, my ideal holiday is one where I get to spend half my time lounging and reading on the beach and the other half exploring — and here I had the chance to do just that. The Old Town of Rhodes is a World Heritage Site and the oldest continually inhabited medieval town in Europe; plus the island is full of monuments from different historical periods: Ancient, Byzantine, Knights of Saint John, and Ottoman.

Also, there were a lot of cats — so many that I went from delighted to see them to worried about them (well, I never stopped being delighted, but you know). Some obviously belonged to the houses on those doorsteps they were sleeping; others not so. I wanted to bring half of them home.
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The Roloi Clock Tower.

The view was worth the terrifying climb. Here’s the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes.

...and the Suleymaniye Mosque.



I seriously spent like a third of my time befriending and/or photographing random cats. I regret nothing.

The Street of the Knights

The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes

Inside the Palace of the Grand Master

The Hafiz Ahmed Agha Library, which houses a collecting of old Islamic manuscripts.

The Suleymaniye Mosque again

It wasn’t unusual to be walking around the Old Town and just hearing meowing coming from above.

Of course I had to go into the Rhodes public library, which is in an amazing building.

See what I mean?

Inside an Orthodox Church by the waterside.

The site where the Colossus once was.

Sunset on the windier west side of the island.

Loukoumades with honey and cinnamon.

This was one of my two favourite meals: baked feta.

The other was this: honey glazed grilled halloumi and gigandes plaki (giant beans with tomato sauce).

(I also loved something served in my hotel’s breakfast buffet whose name I don’t know: these cake-type things filled with feta and topped with lots of cinnamon. I tried them dubiously because I didn’t think the two would go together, but they were delicious.)


Ladiko Bay

The sea was perfect.

Lindos seen from the harbour.

The Acropolis of Lindos

This relief of a Rhodian warship dates from about 180 BC (!).

View of St Paul’s Bay from the Acropolis.

The Temple of Athena Lindia. You’ll be unsurprised to hear this was one of the most impressive places I’ve ever been to.

I was not exaggerating about the cats.

I’ll be back tomorrow with part two: photos from my visit to the gorgeous island of Symi.


  1. You're so not fooling me--you didn't want to bring home half the cats, you wanted to bring them all home! ;)
    Oh my gosh, Ana--I seriously can't imagine how awesome this trip must have been. I'm literally awe-struck by your photos, so what must it have been like to see all this in person!!! I'm so very, very happy you two had such a wonderful time!!!

  2. what a wonderful trip! thanks for sharing.

  3. Gorgeous photos - what a wonderful vacation. I know that feeling about the cats: but often one also finds a pack of organized crazy cat ladies feeding them. I noticed this in both the Roman Forum (hmmm - animals and heritage sites...) and also on Malta. I think I could quite easily slip into a Mediterranean crazy cat lady lifestyle!

  4. Looks like a fabulous trip! I love the cats everywhere. I hope they treat them well. :)

  5. Looks like you had a wonderful holiday. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. Brings back memories I went to Rhodes a couple of years ago. I look forward to seeing more.

  6. What a trip! You weren't kidding about the cats.

  7. Wow! Gorgeous place, delicious-looking food, and cats. I'd have tried to cuddle every last one.

  8. What beautiful photos - looks like an amazing holiday so far! So many gorgeous cats. As mentioned in one of the comments above, it's the same in the ruins in Rome, cats everywhere. Definitely incentive to visit. :)

  9. God I'm jealous. I'd love love love to go to Greece and the Greek Isles sometime -- my mother's been raving about how beautiful it is there since I can remember. Can't wait to see your second round of pictures!

  10. Gorgeous. The blue water is stunning. The cats! And Greece. A place that holds the beginnings of our civilization. and a beach! Lovely, lovely photos, and glimpses of historical places that I'd like to see one day. Plus cats :-) Thank you for sharing, Ana.


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