Did you ever wonder why sailing is so appealing? It is attractive even for people who cannot travel by yacht a few minutes without Dramamine. It is attractive even for people who cannot swim, and who are afraid of the sea. But most of all, sailing, yachts, and the sea are attractive for people who have never seen them except on pictures or in the movies.
What can be more beautiful than a snow-white sailboat, full sail entering the blue bay? Looking at such a beautiful view, almost every one of us thinks about what we have not done in our life, or “What am I doing here?” “Why am I not on this sailboat?” or at least we recall our childhood dreams.
Did you ever dream of traveling around the world by car, by foot, or by train? Hell, no! Almost every boy dreams of distant islands and countries, adventures and pioneers, difficulties and victories, and about a girl who will admire his courage and strength. All these dreams were always connected with the sea and sails. Every girl is waiting for her beautiful prince who will arrive under scarlet sails as in the novel by Alexander Green. Note: not on the train, bus, plane, horse, or burro. Remember? Am I right? Somewhere deep in his soul, every man is a sailor, discoverer, Indiana Jones, or at least he was in childhood. Why so?
Maybe it is because all the living things on earth came from the sea? Taste your tears—they are salty like the sea, taste your blood—it is salty like the sea, lick your skin—it is salty like the sea. The sea is inside us, and it reaches for its counterpart outside us.
One more thing is claustrophobia, the fear of being in closed or small spaces. Have you ever heard of a fear of open spaces? No! People don’t fear them. They like them, especially if they live in a big city where privacy is almost impossible. Wherever you are, there is another human being, at least within 20 meters. Quite another thing is the sea. When you go under sail, it seems like you are the only one in the whole universe, and if it is precisely what you need in this moment, you are happy. In this sense, only mountains can compare with the sea.
But what is the point of jumping into a yacht and just going somewhere without a goal? To feel happiness? Yes, but what’s next? Maybe it will be exciting only in the first stage of sailing when you are learning, but very soon, you will recall that Christopher Columbus went to the West not without a goal, and Amerigo Vespucci sailed not for fun. These respected men had a big goal, not always understandable to others, but very clear for them. OK, their goals were not always understandable for them either, but they always had them, period.
Today we also have the goal to open a new land, at least, for us. We are sailing to the islands of Rhodes and Symi (or Simi), Greece. Sailing around the island of Rhodes is an adventure itself, because it is very windy in some places, but when you drop the anchor in one of the marinas of Rhodes, the question arises: what to do here? There are many attractions on the island, but I do not want to expound on the Rhodes Travel Guide. As usual, I’ll just share my strongest impressions and disappointments.
If you like history
The most amazing historic attraction of Rhodes is the fortified city of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John—Old City of Rhodes. This is the real and very well-preserved Middle Ages. This is not a fairytale castle like Neuschwanstein in Bavaria or Pena Palace in Portugal. It is a real veteran whose walls have seen an enormous number of cannonballs. Some of them still lie there. The Grand Master’s Palace, knights inns, the beautiful hospital of the Knights of Rhodes, palaces, churches, mosques, tiny medieval streets—all these will be interesting to anyone who is an archeologist or historian at heart.
The acropolis in Lindos was not as lucky as the Old City of Rhodes (but much more lucky than one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Colossus Of Rhodes, remains of which no one can even find), and it is not well preserved. However, if you like ruins, you will get some pleasure from it. The weather in Rhodes is good for 300 days of the year, but summers are very hot, and nature has not endowed the island with trees, so be careful.
If you are a gourmet
In this case, you came to the right place. Numerous cafes and restaurants of the city of Rhodes will be glad to welcome you, but I will venture to recommend one of them.
My wife, Irina, has a test for sea cuisine. In fish restaurants of every coastal country, she orders octopus. Correctly cooked octopus must be tender. Until recently, only one country passed this test: Portugal. We have been in the city of Sintra where Irina ate octopus at every dinner. According to her, it always was perfect in any restaurant. This spring, she has found a second country: Greece, more precisely one restaurant in the Old City of Rhodes.
One day, while strolling along narrow streets of the Old City of Rhodes, we entered a tiny restaurant, and Irina saw octopus on their menu. Of course, the test was conducted immediately, and, oh miracle, the octopus was beautiful. Later, we found out that the owner of the restaurant is a fisherman. He goes out to sea every morning, and his guests eat only fresh products prepared by his wife. His young relatives work as waiters. It turns out that you have lunch and even dinner in a hospitable family. From this moment on, we ate there every day. By the way, it is cheaper than other places in the Old City.
To say I don’t like seafood is putting it mildly (to be honest, I hate it), therefore I can’t take part in Irina’s tests, but you can do it yourself.
Symposium Restaurant Garden, 1-21, Ippodamou Street, the Old City of Rhodes, Greece.
GPS: 36,4431163, 28,2242675.
Their Facebook page.
Turn left from the Sokratous Street to Ippodamou Street, go 100 meters to the first crossroads, turn left, take five steps, and you are at the place. Good appetite.
If you like active holidays
On the southern tip of the island of Rhodes, you will find anchorages of the Prassonissi peninsula, where fans of windsurfing, sailing, and kiting use the best wind in Rhodes. The second surfing region of Rhodes is located on the north near the popular tourist resorts of Ialyssos and Kremasti, another kite center—in the tourist area of Kremasti.
If you are a landscape photographer
This is a severe case. In fact, the island of Rhodes is a bare rock in the sea with some vegetation here and there. To find worthy perspectives you should climb to the top of one of the hills which the locals call the mountains. There you can find beautiful panoramas. It is not like in the Alps, but sometimes interesting, thanks, of course, to the surrounding sea.
The second choice is a trip to the neighboring Greek isles each of which is also a bare rock in the sea with picturesque villages or towns on the hillside. Sometimes the views from the water can be interesting. In our case it was the island of Symi (or Simi). It is four hours from Rhodes by yacht or ferry. One “tourist feature” of Symi is the sponge. For many years, islanders extracted a sea sponge. Now, they don’t harvest it anymore, but somehow sell it in huge quantities.
If you a sybarite
The atmosphere of the island of Rhodes is a subject of special discussion. It is relaxed and unhurried, southern and spicy, filled with melodic Greek music and aromas of good food and brandy. Needless to say, being in Rhodes, you should drink only one sort of brandy–Metaxa. Any kind of Metaxa, mixed with local atmosphere, can have a strange “side effect”: the rest of your life, you will prefer Metaxa to other types of brandy only because it will remind you how comfortable you felt on Rhodes.