It’s no secret that a well traveled road bears a multitude of compelling stories. It is a traveler’s narrative that transports tales ranging from the daily and often hurried commute of locals to the carefree tempo of retirees gathering for a ritual of morning coffee or an afternoon beer. It carries people from far-away lands who are passing through on a journey of adventure, enlightenment, or perhaps a relaxing holiday escape. Rhodes, as with many other destinations, embodies all of the above. But having immersed myself for several days in the island’s ancient history, its mouthwatering cuisine, and its profoundly rich culture, I am deeply grateful that I experienced this Rhodes well-traveled …
-Martin Luther King
Rhodes is the kind of place where the town center IS the same town center that existed thousands of years ago when St. John and the Knights of the Crusades built an imposing fortress to protect and defend the tiny, windswept island. Where empires ruled. Where empires were destroyed. Where sometime before the last Aquarian age began 2,000+ years ago, Rhodians gathered at the Olympic Stadium in Rhodes for extravagant social events centered around wildly competitive and sometimes savage games and contests that established or destroyed acclamation and status. It’s the kind of place where architectural remnants carved from stone back in that Aquarian age are now strewn outside the stadium in such a peculiar way that I imagined them as gravemarkers to commemorate those first Olympic athletes.
Rhodes is the kind of place where the evening meal becomes an endurance sport. Where friends, old and new, gather for hours and dine on freshly harvested greens with crisp cucumbers and peppers topped with the creamiest and most flavorful feta known to man. Where the catch of the day isn’t limited to one item. It’s succulent, grilled octopus drizzled with aromatic olive oil and fresh herbs … delicate seabass that has been seasoned to a level of nirvana, then poached and served whole … Where deep discussions about politics, the country’s youth, and economic strategies somehow flow seamlessly into lighthearted banter, then jokes, stories and raucous laughter over candlelight, more cocktails, and warm nighttime breezes.
– Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi
Rhodes is the kind of place where the folklore and customs of the past have permeated every inch of the island. Where generations of fishermen dry their colorful nets on the docks while cleaning remnants of their day’s work from tried and true skiffs that have been burnished in countless layers of lacquer which is chipping away, as if to share stories of time on the water. Where privacy is revered, and quickly found on secluded beaches and tiny, discreet atolls dotting the shores of the island. Rhodes is a place where, along the undulating cobbled streets, smiling shopkeepers sell custom-made jewelry, soft leather sandals and luggage. Where restaurants beckon hungry guests with decadent aromas, chilled wine, and cheerful hosts.
And Rhodes is the kind of place, where if you’re fortunate enough to stay in a hotel where your room comes with its own private pool, (many thanks to the beautiful and stylish Rodos Palace), you can dive in and reminisce the adventures of your day whilst sipping a glass of cool, crisp wine and taking in a spectacular Grecian sunset.
A number of the photos in this article and many of the incredible memories were made at:
Black Sea Restaurant, Halki Island, Greece
Dinoras Fish Restaurant, Old Town of Rhodes, Greece
Rodos Palace, Rhodes, Greece
Ronda Beach Bar & Restaurant, Rhodes, Greece