Technically, I had no intention of spending much, if any, time here, but as it happens on a trip like this you find new places and explore a bit (which is sort of what this whole trip is about?) From Crete, I had to take a ferry here to get to Patmos which meant also coming back here, unless I found a new place to go. My original plan also included Cyprus and this was the most likely place to find a ferry to get there, that however, would prove…..let’s just say complicated. As it turns out, my layover of sorts while waiting for the Patmos ferry would prove to be a blessing in disguise which turned Rhodes into an island that I wanted to come back and explore.
A Preview
I arrived from Crete early in the morning, like 3:30 A.M. I had not booked a place to stay because I was catching the evening ferry to Patmos. Because so many of the islands are full of people making short trips, there are many places that offer to store luggage while you explore. I figured I could catch a nap in the reception area (assuming there was one) then find one of these places when sites started to open. Remarkably, I was pretty close to being right. There was a coffee shop near the docks. I and several others set up camp there. Although there were chairs and tables, I propped along the wall near a charger plug and got a decent nap while I waited for daylight. When I awoke with everything charged, I ordered a double espresso, ate some cookies that I had in my bag, plugged the nearest beach into google and set out to explore. I quickly found a travel office that offered luggage storage (for only 2 euro). My trek took me through the Old City and I got some pretty cool pictures. Even before I got to the beach, I began to realize that I had underestimated the island of Rhodes and needed to come back for a longer stay. The beach was not terribly crowded. It was 5 euro for a chair. I did the usual, read and dozed off between dips in the water. It was a great way to pass the time. Most everyone on the beach was fully clothed, there were however, a handful of women who had chosen to remove their tops. I’m not saying that this was a deciding factor, but for the second time that day, I thought that Rhodes deserved a longer visit. I was just thinking that I should eat before heading back to the port when I had a thought, shisha. I entered this into google and sure enough, there was a place, J&J Shisha and Cocktail Bar. I made the trek there and had the best shisha that I had in Greece to that point. I also had a pepperoni pizza that was the best pizza I had since the last time I was in the U.S. (well, except for Pizza Express in Dubai). At some point while I was here, I decided that I would definitely be coming back for a stay in Rhodes. I walked back to the port, picked up my bag along the way, and stopped again at the coffee shop. Soon enough, it was time to board and off to Patmos.
The Return
I returned to Rhodes, after my stay in Patmos, a few days later. It was late afternoon. There was a taxi stand, not far from where the boat dropped us (a different part of the port.) The driver had no trouble finding my hotel, Vivian Studios. It was more of a guesthouse, I guess. It was farther out than I expected, but other than that, a great place. The manager (and her family, I think) who ran the place were extremely helpful and very friendly. There was an area outside where people hung out, very hostel-like. I had very long days, each night I was there, so never made it outside to find out exactly. The first night, I made my way to the beach. Google Maps got “confused” several times and did not function much better than HERE…. ummmm…. here. I decided on the rather long walk to the beach, that I would rent a car, this proved to be a good decision and I found a place that let me take one that night.
St. Paul’s Bay
The next day, I set out, not too early of course, for this small cove. This is yet another biblical site. Paul stopped here on his third missionary journey. I always wonder about these places when I go. Did Paul really come here or did somebody centuries later just decide to build a church there and then say, “hey you know that one piece of a verse in the Bible that mentions Rhodes? It was totally this place.” Right spot or not, the Bible definitely says they put in at Rhodes for a night. It makes sense that this place would have been the spot. Paul was keeping a low profile at that point. He would have wanted to avoid the main harbor (In Rodos, the main city on the island). It was out of the way, but a good access point. It’s a logical place for them to have stopped. I waded out in the water and floated a bit. I had this sudden feeling of, “Paul could have waded here” I walked a couple of paths beside the small chapel. If Paul came on land, he would have walked in those spots. I don’t know, it “felt” right. Of course, my feeling proves absolutely nothing. I spent the first half of the day here, then I made my way back to Rodos, stopping at a couple of other random beaches along the way. In one of the towns, I even managed to find shisha. So yeah, we will call this another great day.
Old City
I could only get two nights at Vivian Studios so I booked a room at Rhodes Backpackers Hostel which was near the main part of Rodos. I dropped my bags off, then drove to the Old City. The Old City is similar to Athens in the sense that sometimes you can just walk up on some piece of ancient wall or street in the middle of the modern city. The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World was here. (That makes three of the Seven Wonders- or at least where they used to be- that I have seen. The Great Pyramid in Giza is the only one of the Seven still standing. If you want to know the rest….. google it.) I also visited the acropolis which is not far from the Old City. It has a pretty impressive chariot racing arena still standing. After a little site seeing, I dropped the car off and found a different beach. On the way to this beach, I walked right into a shisha place. On this island, it keeps getting better and better. I spent a few hours on the beach to reflect on what a great visit it had been, then back to the hostel for a change of clothes. I walked back to J&J’s (the first shisha place)- shisha was even better, pizza not as good. The next morning, I slept in a bit, then was back off to the port for an overnight ferry back to Piraeus.
Got Shisha?
Rhodes is only 5 miles or so from the coast of Turkey, which I guess explains why the shisha is so great here. This was by far the best place for it. J&J’s was the closest for most of my stay and the first and last that I visited. I do not remember the names of the other two places. The place on the way back from St. Paul’s Bay was in a town near one of the beaches that I explored. The third was near the beach a way out from Rodos. I really wish I could remember the name of it. It was the best and had a good atmosphere. I literally walked right into it. Maybe it was heaven sent.
Rhodes does not have the reputation like Santorini or Mykonos or some of the other islands, but it should. There seem to be more Greek tourists than foreign, although there were a few. It is not nearly as crowded or as hard to navigate while driving as some of the cities in Crete. Although, navigating was at times a problem. Google Maps is almost as unreliable as HERE…..ummmm….. here. Like Patmos, part of what makes it great is that it is overlooked. There is plenty to do, but you won’t fight the crowds like other places. But like I’ve said, I’m not writing this to be a travel guide. I only know that I loved it and am glad to have discovered it for myself.


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