Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Old and The New

The castle of the Knight's of St. John.
The castle of the Knights of St. John.
We decided to walk from Ixia to Rodhos, Old Town, and save the eight Euros for the round trip. We found that the sidewalk lasted about two and a half miles and the last half mile or so was an interesting exercise in keeping out of the way of traffic while navigating the drainage ditch! I thought we were the only ones doing something so adventurous, until we saw another couple coming down the hill towards us!
One the of the eleven entrance arches into "Old Town", Rhodes, Greece © 2008 Tina M. Welter
One of the entrance arches into the "Old Town".

We entered Rhodos town in the section where the regular people live and not where the tour buses go. The homes and businesses were not big or fancy, but we smelled some wonderful food cooking. After studying several maps, Jeff had a basic idea of where we were headed, but there were not regular street signs to give us much direction. (The locals know where they are going.) We did come across unexpectedly some ancient Greek ruins, we think they are tombs. They were located right at a busy intersection, with just a small sign to note they were even there. The old was right in the middle of the new.

Bell tower close up, Rhodes-Greece © 2008 Tina M. Welter
Bell tower close up.
Another accidental find was a beautiful church that was still in use. It had paintings on the outside illustrating the life of John the Baptist in the old Byzantine style. It also had a lovely bell tower. There were notes to the congregation for recent memorials posted outside the doors.
Turkish catapult stone embedded in the wall, "Old Town", Rhodes-Greece.  © 2008 Tina M. Welter
Turkish catapult stone embedded in the wall.
Imagine "storming" this castle! Walking in the moat, "Old Town" Rhodes, Greece  ©2008 Tina M. Welter
Imagine "storming" this castle!

Eventually we found an entrance to the medieval city built by the Knights of St. John. It was stunning walking through the huge gateway in the outside wall, over the the moat and through the outer and inner doors of the city wall. We were admiring the stonework when we were startled by a car coming up behind us and then several people on their moped bikes. We couldn't imagine anyone being allowed to drive modern vehicles in the old city! When we walked into the city itself, it looked just like some ancient fairytale. Narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful doors opening to shops on every side, and people milling around everywhere. It was like an ancient stone labyrinth. After several twists and turns, I had a moment of claustrophobia thinking I was like a mouse that didn't know where the exit was, let alone the cheese!
Nice parking space for your moped, Old Town, Rhodes, Greece © 2008 Tina M Welter
Nice garage.

Jeff reassured me by showing me the map with the eleven city gates that surround the city and I relaxed. We went down some side streets and realized that there were people still living here, with their cars and moped bikes parked just outside their doors. We realized that we were thinking this was a National Park, but it wasn't, it was a living city. We could see Real Estate signs for homes to buy. Some entrances had fallen into neglect and we could look through and see an old courtyard and rooms crumbling away, yet next door could be a beautifully painted and restored home. The old and new together.
Living in one of the old churches today, a new home in an old church. Old Town, Rhodes- Greece © 2008 Tina M. Welter
New home, old church.

Beautiful red and white detail work, Turkish Mosque  Old Town, Greece © 2008 Tina M. Welter
I love the detail work.

It took us two days to see the whole city. There were two Mosques from when the Turkish ruled the city, a Jewish synagogue, several Greek Orthodox churches, many Knights' residences, and an amazing castle that was the headquarters for the Knights of St. John. Of course there were plenty of shops geared towards the tourist trade. Especially inside the gate that faces the harbour where the cruise ships dock. But even this new type of market had it's place. It gave the city a feeling of life and energy. Looking at it from a distance, we could imagine it was any era with people going about their business.
All the crowds are at this end of town.  Cruise ship outside the walls of Old Town, Rhodes-Greece © 2008 Tina M Welter
Here come the people!

I saw a sticker on one of the mailboxes at one of the residences. It said "I Love Old Town". It was strange at first to consider living with all those tourists everyday, but I could see loving something that had so many layers, like a great cake. This latest was just one of the many, and also to be enjoyed.

Jeff's Corner: I particularly liked the people driving their hybrid cars through the medieval gate to get the ATM located in the 600 year old building. (Too bad it didn't dispense drachmas...)

1 comment:

JackieG said...

It's great reading and seeing pics of your trip. I think of you each day, wondering what you'll see and do. Thanks for taking the time to blog on your trip. This faithful reader appreciates it!