Day 13, afternoon
Early this morning, I think, we arrived in Rhodes (aka Rodos), home of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the original seven wonders of the world. I can’t remember the others, though…there were the Pyramids at Giza, which are the only wonder that still exists, the hanging gardens of Babylon, a library and a lighthouse, one of which was at Alexandria, and…two more. Oh well, not important. I can look it up later.
The Colossus deserves looking up anyway, because nothing about it is very clear. I think the traditional legend is that it was about 95 meters high and stood astride the entrance to the harbour, but since the entrance is, by my estimate, about 100 meters wide, that would be a very, very weird pose. There seems to be some debate about the whole thing, including at least one source I’ve seen that implies the authour harbours (ha!) doubt as to whether it existed at all.
We slept in late (9:00; breakfast ends at 9:30) and finally got off the ship at around 10:30 or 11:00. I didn’t do much in Rhodes. There’s supposed to be a good beach, but I wasn’t interested; there’s also an old palace, but it costs €6 to enter and no one I was with (Cheryl and Dave and his wife) was particularly enthusiastic about that. Later on, we ran into another group (Tim and Dave and the South Africans) and they said it was definitely worth the visit, but oh well. Can’t see it all.
I can tell that things have changed since the beginning of the trip. I’m no longer eager to see and do everything. I’m getting a bit exhausted. Rhodes is actually an interesting city, but I was quite happy to just wander around and not try hard to see anything in particular. The only thing I really wanted to do was walk out to the end of the peninsula that is believed to have supported one leg of the Colossus (there’s a lighthouse there now).
The history of the island, as far as I recall from my brief reading of the notes provided by the cruise ship: In the last 2300 years or so, Rhodes has been independent, under the rule of Athens, under the rule of Alexander the Great, a semi-independent part of the Roman empire, part of the Byzantine empire, allied with Rome against Athens, under the control of the crusaders, part of Turkey, and part of Greece. Though not necessarily in that order, and I may have missed something or gotten something wrong. Point is, over the years it’s changed hands and alliances a lot. It’s gone from being a centre of commerce to a centre of academics to whatever it is now (a centre of not very much at all, I think).
The weird history is visible in the city. The “old city” part of the city of Rhodes is a medieval castle, which I think was built by a bunch of knights. It’s very different than anything else we’ve seen on the trip. The info sheet we got says that Rhodes has more different types of architecture than any other city in Europe, and I’d believe it. There are Roman, Greek, Turkish, and medieval influences.
Tim and Paul just showed up, and I think we’re about to leave port. More later…maybe. Probably not, though; I’m posting these last few posts from a wireless hotspot in Athens, and we’re on our way home. I had all the posts written, but no way to post them. It’s actually Friday afternoon now (4:30 AM, Winnipeg time). We fly to London tonight and to Canada tomorrow. Home again, home again…