Visiting the home of the Knights

Trip Start Apr 03, 2007
Trip End Jun 16, 2007

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today we stopped off at Rhodes, a Greek island with a whole lot of history (over 2500 years' worth).  Most visible today is the fortress and walled city created by the Knights of St John, who took over the island and ruled it for centuries.
With no organized tour to catch, we took it more leisurely this morning, going to the dining room for sit-down breakfast.  Omelettes, Eggs Benedict, bacon, toast, and a variety of pastries were included fare.  Around 10:00 AM, we went ashore.  It was about a 20 minute walk from the pier to the walled old town, with a great view of the beach and the city walls.
The best shops were inside the walls of the old town, selling all kinds of things, like many varieties of sponges, clothes, jewelry, and the usual tourist knick-knacks.  We headed up the Knight's Road, a very well-preserved cobblestone lane, to the castle on top of the hill, the Palace of the Knights of St John.  It's an impressive castle with towers, a moat, drawbridges, and over 300 rooms inside.  Then we walked over to the Mosque  of Suleyman, originally built in 1522 after Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent captured Rhodes.  We walked through the narrow maze-like streets, off the beaten path from where most of the tourists go.  Trying to head west, the wall blocked us as there were no gates, so we headed to the south gate and walked around the walls from outside.  Then we headed west up the hill to a great viewpoint at the top where the radio towers are located.  There was a fine panorama with the brilliant blue ocean, and out beyond the coast of Turkey was visible.  We headed back down to the old town, this time going through the north gate, and back through the shops and eateries.  There were many places selling gyros and other Greek food.  Some places even had rooftop gardens.  We strolled back to the ship in time for a late lunch.
After lunch, we spent some time soaking up the sun and lounging poolside, before a visit to the sauna and steam room.  Refreshed, we went to dinner, and then the evening show (featuring a magic act).  We found a Trivial Pursuit game in the library, and gave it a try, but realized that it was a British edition and most of the questions were things only Brits would know.  The British group sitting next to us knew way more of the answers than we did, and eventually we gave up and went back to the normal version.
It was a fun day, with great weather and an amazing city.  Tomorrow we stop at the very much Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
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