Sunday, 12 August 2012

In the Interests of Research-2

Monday August 6th dawned bright and blue, predictably of course. The temperature was around 30ºC when we first took a couple of cautious steps out on to the terrace, a fact which prompted me to take my first outdoor shower of the day without delay.

This particular day we had a kind of plan, sketchy though it was, which involved visiting another place which we had been promising ourselves to go ever since arriving here in 2005 and staring up at it as we'd drive along what's usually called the "airport road", which is the road which connects the main Rodo-Lindos highway on the east of the island, just north of Faliraki, with the village of Kremasti, the Airport (rather predictably) and Paradeisi on the West. Paradeisi literally means "Paradise" and so I was always intrigued as to why it was given this name, since today it's a fairly non-descript village which is renowned mainly for the fact that the Rhodes Diagoras Airport is located here and the runway virtually shadows the length of the village.

It appears that, following the ousting of the Knights of St. John from the island in 1522 (which is nearly half-past three. Have I done that joke already?) by Soulemon the "Magnificent", the Ottoman (later Turkish) emperor, Arabs who settled here brought with them exotic flowers, which they subsequently planted, eventually giving the area the name which has stuck, Paradeisi. You'd be hard put to find evidence of this today though. Mind you, if you're a plane-spotter, perhaps "paradise" would still be an appropriate name during the summer season.

Anyway, the place to which I refer above, the one which we gaze up at from the airport road, is called Filerimos and is chiefly known for its huge cross, which stands above a high escarpment and affords anyone who makes the climb some breathtaking views, including, if you look North, a vista which shows you the entire Northern tip of the island, covered as it is today with the modern part of Rhodes Town. What is it with superstitious or religious people of bygone eras and mountaintops? I mean, every high place in Greece (and probably a good few other countries too) sports a religious site of some kind or other. Kind of spoils it for those of us who don't like that kind of thing. Then you get the rituals where people have to literally damage themselves physically to go up these places at certain times every year in their attempts to appease their god. Funny kind of god they worship I reckon. Still, there we are, no sense getting all controversial I suppose. At least with Tzambika and Filerimos they make for good photo-composition.

Depending on which website you consult, you get differing stories about the buildings which you find up there at Filerimos. A lot of info on offer is pretty religiously-subjective, which doesn't interest me apart from its historical perspective.  

Filerimos (different link this time) is worth a visit for the view alone. The passionate archeologist will be well satisfied with the fact that the ruins up there of ancient Ialyssos go back to around the fifth century before Christ, but, as you'd expect, there are more recent constructions which are only as young as the 6th century C.E. (A.D.) or even the 16th century, which of course still have wet cement by comparison. From the Monastery, which was built firstly by the Knights, then destroyed and subsequently re-constructed by the Italians as late as the 20th century, there is a straight tree-lined path leading a few hundred metres or so to the terrace on which stands the cross which can be seen from so far below. So, without further ado or waffle, here are a few shots which we took up there:

That's the base of the cross which my better half is holding up

Yes, that's Turkey and, probably, to the left a bit, Symi

Well, if I jumped, at least I'd land on something soft

The building in the trees is the Monastery, from which the cross is reached by a pleasant walk along a tree-lined path. This is taken from one of the arms of the cross.

This is also taken inside an arm of the cross. The arms are actually "troughs" from which you can take in the view

That's the Northern tip of the island in the background

What a good boy I am, leaving off the beer this time
Having had our fill of the superb views, we retreated to the shade of the very pleasant cafe under a huge plane tree for some liquid refreshment and were mildly amused for a while by the coach drivers drooling comments about a female Russian guide's "assets" and the customary few minutes people-watching. There were a few coaches up there and all seemed to be filled with Russians at the time. By the way, usually there is an entry fee for the Monastery, but here were were in peak season and the ticket booth was closed so, if you're going up there any time soon, you may be lucky!

After an exhausting half-hour or so of sightseeing and playing the tourist, we decided that a few hours on a beach were in order before making the trip up to Psinthos village for our evening repas. Since she'd never been there, I offered to take Y-Maria to Kolumbia beach, the one which you reach by taking the right-hand fork at the bottom end of Eucalyptus Avenue. It's from the tiny harbour beside this beach that we set sail each week on my "Lazy Day Cruise" excursion aboard the Magellanos and I admit to having been quite impressed by the small sandy bay at what I would in the past have called a "resort without a heart".

We arrived at around 4.00pm, the kind of time when many sunbed owners reduce their prices a little, but the bloke who approached us, despite being very smiley and chatty, refused to take less than the daily rate of €8 for two beds and an umbrella, despite our telling him that we were residents and that we knew that many reduced their prices after 4.00pm. We could have told him where to put his sunbeds, but ended up forking out purely because it is a rather lovely beach, with very calm waters, plus we needed a sleep and a swim really badly! My wife then declared that, come what may, we weren't going to budge from those beds until we'd got our money's worth. I had visions of standing by the water's edge just after midnight shouting "Are you out there sweety? Will you come in now,pleeeease!!"

What do you think of the place?...

Whilst we were doing a bit of 'Chilling" the Magellanos came in...

..did a bit of manouevering and reversed into her berth at the quayside. Soon thereafter Adonis was passing the beach in his car and spotted the missus and I. Shouting out that he'd be back in a mo, he insisted that we stroll round and go aboard for a drink with him and the crew, who were just securing the vessel for the night. Giannis was hosing down the soft couches on the foredeck as we arrived and we were greeted by Dino, Adonis' father-in-law and a really nice elderly guy. Savvas was in the cabin and so we were welcomed aboard by the full complement and I was told to take Y-Maria on a quick inspection tour, so I obediently complied. 

Once back in the cabin, Adonis, who'd since returned, made my my wife a G&T and I had a frappe. A fair bit of joshing ensued (as you do) with Adonis telling Maria that she ought to watch her hubby, spending the day as he does every week with a bunch of bikini-clad women. I added that most of them were bigger than me, both physically and age-wise and explained that I had to keep waving a towel in front of Adoni to keep his temperature down!! The fact is, he's an excellent host to his guests on board and his facebook page is fast filling up with photos of this year's excursions, usually taken by Savvas, who's getting more and more wily and candid with his photography. If you trawl through the albums you'll find yours truly popping up far too often for my liking!

After having made our excuses and returning to the beach, since we knew that the crew had things to be getting on with, we carried on getting our money's worth from the sunbeds for a while. 

Soon, though, it was time to head up into the hills for our evening meal. More about that in part 3. Bet you can't wait, eh? Oh, alright then, be like that!


  1. Another good read - bring on episode 3!! Is the Psinthos meal going to be Artemida I wonder??


    1. Umm, don't want to spoil it but, well, no actually!

  2. Looks like a nice peaceful spot John.

  3. I always say a peaceful spot's better than a noisy blemish...

  4. Yeah, joke already made but you're forgiven due to advancing years and accompanying memory lapses! Two more 'must-do's', the list is getting so long I fear we will never accomplish half of it. These little excursions/ reports make for a very good read John. Next please!

  5. I do like you research subjects!! That is one side of Rhodes that I have not visited, apart from the airport.

    Keep up the good work.