Saturday, July 16, 2011


To leave Turkey I caught a bus from Selçuk to Marmaris and a ferry to the Greek island of Rhodes, arriving in Rhodes Town on a Friday night with no hotel booking. This was a risky business—Rhodes is a very popular destination, especially on a weekend—but I was lucky and found a room for four days until I could catch the next ferry to Crete.

Rhodes is a walled medieval town, apparently the largest inhabited in Europe, and its business is commercial tourism. The main drag goes on forever with souvenirs, jewellery, up-market fashion, down-market trinkets and carpets, and is punctuated by squares filled with restaurants, cafes and bars with families and couples and groups of holidaying students. Local children zip between them all on mopeds.

But there are also quiet lanes. On the Saturday, a hot, clear, bright blue summer day (as they all bloody are!),  I sat at a foldaway table and drank bottled beer from a glass beneath an umbrella in a weed-strewn, pebble-stone lane of stone buildings rendered in a crumbling pale yellow mortar with terracotta tiled awnings and weathered wooden doors. The tourist crowds jostled just two lanes away but here the only impetus was a light breeze pushing the crumpled paper wrapper from my gyros around on my plate.

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