I had stayed in Ixia before in 1997 and on the next morning I assured Kim that it was just a short walk to Rhodes town so we skipped breakfast and set off along the coastal walk.
Now, I know that I am getting older and this might start affecting my memory but this little walk turned out to be much further that I ever remembered. For a start it took quite a while to get to the hotel where I stayed previously at the Rodos Palace and then the little bar that we used to use, the Surf Bar, which I remembered being right next door but was in fact about five hundred metres further on. I really did genuinely believe that it was just a five minute stroll and the odd thing is that I don’t remember my teenage children complaining once but after half an hour Kim was in full whinging mode. I had allocated her a maximum five whinges a day for the holiday but by mid morning she had used up almost all of the first week’s allowance.
As it turned out it was a five kilometre walk from the Caravel apartments to the town of Rhodes and the day was getting hotter and hotter and hotter. Through the haze of heat we could just about make out the coast of Turkey and the island of Symi, where we would be going tomorrow, as we walked past old fishermen’s houses now long converted into holiday homes at the side of a rather untidy black gravel beach. Every few metres Kim would enquire how much further I thought it was and as the walk continued the truth began to dawn on me that it was an awful long way. ‘Not far now’ and ‘just around the next corner’ were the sort of encouraging words that used to work well with my children but Kim wasn’t fooled by my false optimism and I began to sense that I wasn’t too popular this morning.
Eventually we reached the beaches of Rhodes with their rows of umbrellas flapping limply in what little breeze there was and people laid out in search of the all over tan and then we were in the shady streets of the new town and were heading for the harbour.
Not only had I forgotten how far it was to walk from Ixia but I was also surprised by the size of the city which turned out to be much bigger than I ever remembered. We were on the western side and we reached the part where the new town gives way to the old where we stopped for a drink and purchased a map to help us with our navigation.
One reason for bothering to walk to Rhodes today was to collect the tickets for tomorrow’s early morning ferry to Symi and as I looked at the map there was a terrible realisation that there was still a long way to walk and this was likely not to be well received by Kim so for now I just kept this bit of bad news to myself and enjoyed a glass of beer.
After this short break we carried on and walked around the walls of the old fortress competing all the time with impatient traffic and reckless drivers who made no allowance for pedestrians. On the busy main road there were occasional zebra crossings but these were only there for highway decoration and certainly not to provide any sort of priority to people on foot. If you used one of these things carelessly there was a very high chance of being knocked over and the only compensation, as you lay in a hospital bed in great pain, would be to know that the man (or woman) who put you there would probably, technically be in the wrong!
Inside the city walls the main squares and shopping streets were really busy, In Ippokratous Square noisy waiters were pestering people to go inside the high level balconied tavernas and it was impossible to look at a menu without a high pressure sales pitch and an unnecessary run through the picture menu which was always exactly the same as all of the others. Off the square was the main shopping street of Socrates stretching away to Sulliman’s Mosque at the top of a gradual climb and in the other direction was a maze of narrow lanes snaking away and crammed on either side with shops and bars.
I was anxious to get the ferry tickets so I left Kim to poke about the shops and I followed the map to where I thought the ticket office was. I walked quite a way and then stopped to enquire and was directed all the way back to a harbour side kiosk close to the Marine Gate and actually only fifty metres from Ippokratous square so I was back a lot earlier than the thirty minutes rendezvous time that we had agreed which gave me time to look for a suitable place for lunch and I found a nice taverna with blue check table cloths in a shady street behind the main square with better prices and a much less frenzied atmosphere.
After lunch we walked through the old town and past the Palace of the Grand Masters but we didn’t want to stop and see anything today because we were due back in Rhodes in a week’s time for a three night stay so now that we had the ferry tickets we walked through one of the city gates and back to the new town where being completely lost we asked directions back to the seafront where Kim was determined to find a bus stop for the journey back to Ixia. We found one and only had to wait a few minutes for a green and cream bus to arrive and take us the short ten-minute drive back to our hotel.
Back at the Caravel Kim had a sleep to get over the rigours of the walk while I read on the balcony and then in the late afternoon sunshine went to the small hotel swimming pool which we had completely to ourselves for an hour or so. Later we walked to the beach for the sunset which didn’t let us down and then took advantage of the 15% discount offer in the hotel restaurant again. After dinner we sat on the balcony of the room and even though this wasn’t the greatest hotel bedroom view in the world by any stretch of the imagination we agreed that we liked it anyway.