This morning (Friday December 9th) I took a walk along the lower coast road from just below where we live to the house of a couple of friends who wanted a bit of help with their PC and for some reason thought I'd be able to provide it. Amazingly, I was!! Mind you I had to go and lie down in a darkened room afterwards. After all, as you'll no doubt know if you read my ramblings regularly, I'm a Mac man. That's Apple-Mac of course. I'm not in the habit of wearing gaberdine and hanging around public toilets or anything like that. Well, not too often (I'm assuming you're bright enough to understand that the last comment there was a joke, by the way). They needed help with their Windows machine and, with a bit of brow-furrowing, we got there in the end. It was worth it, since I was plied with home-made shortbread and fruitcake, washed down with a couple of mugs of freshly made filter coffee for my trouble.
The walk along to the house took around forty five minutes and all the while I was seething. I'll explain.
As no doubt you'll have deduced, I've read a lot of web pages and travel guides about this island, and not a few of them talk quite disparagingly about the area of Rhodes in which my wife and I live, Kiotari. Often I read things like, "there are a couple of large hotels and little else", or "not much to see there" and such like. I confess to being non-plussed. I mean, what exactly is it that these people, these "experts", are seeking?
Yes, alright, admittedly there are a few hotels at the northern end of Kiotari, but these are all low-rise, a fact which makes a huge difference. One only has to drive North out of Faliraki (and there are those who'd say "drive any direction out of Faliraki, it's bound to be an improvement", but - each to his own, I say) through the area known as Kallithea to see the difference it makes. There you will pass huge sky-reaching hotels one after the other in a setting completely devoid of anything to remind you that you're even in Greece.
Here in Kiotari, however, the hotels are modern, agreed, but they occupy not even 10% of the area which is officially known as Kiotari, the rest of which is entirely different. There are admittedly new villas springing up along the coastal strip, but these all have decent sized gardens, most of which are well kept, often by our friend Julia who runs a personal gardening service for those who only use their villa occasionally. The overwhelming impression one gets here though is of tranquillity, the thought that one is far away from the bustle and pace of modern living.
As I walked I ruminated on all the mis-information which I've read and looked around me at the evidence to the contrary. I had my trusty digital camera in my pocket and so snapped the photos you see in this post. What do you think?
Above: Looking South along the coast to the village of Gennadi
Above: The area I like to call the "real" Kiotari. In summer the wall to the left, which overlooks the beach, is lined with the tables and chairs from the "La Strada" taverna across the road. You can just discern the white walls of the "Paralia" Taverna, which is right on the beach, just a little further away.
Aove: Agave Americana growing wild on the low dunes behind the beach at Kabanari Beach
Above: Looking North across the bay toward Pefkos
So then, what's your verdict? ...And these photographs were taken on the 9th of December, the depths of winter. The light was superb and it was a"good to be alive" day.
I think, with all modesty, that from my experience of Greece, since marrying a half-Greek girl many years ago and having visited virtually every corner of this country, I know the real Greece when I see it. I was looking at it this morning.