Monday, 12 May 2014

As Frank Sinatra Said...

Way back when I was just a twinkle in my mother's eye, or at least so I like to think, Ole Blue Eyes sang about how nice it was to go travellin', and in part the song went...

It's very nice to be footloose
With just a toothbrush and comb
It's oh so nice to be footloose
But your heart starts singin' when your homeward wingin' 'cross the foam

I think the song was called It's Nice to Go Travellin' but, since it was recorded in America, that would be travelin' I suppose, eh? Anyway, the point is, I found myself making a poor attempt at singing this (under my breath, of course) as the fab Blue Star 2 ferry made its approach into Rhodes on the morning of May 1st, at about 10.15am. Through the window in the plush bar at the front end, the sharp end that is, or I ought to say "the bow" to be nautically accurate, I gazed at the familiar landmarks of Rhodes Town and felt a definite twinge of "home sweet home" coming on. I did, really!

My  better half was reading her book on a comfy sofa nearby, but I was drawn to the floor-to-ceiling windows on the starboard side as if by a magnet to gaze at the elegant Casino building, the Aquarium at the Island's northern-most tip, the old windmills and fortress that stand on the harbour mole of Mandraki, the majestic Old Town wall and above it the Palace of the Grand Master and thought: "I'm coming home. This is where I live and you know what? I'm rather happy about it."

By the way, you'll have noticed my dead impressive use of the term "starboard" eh? If, like me, you're never really sure which is Port and which is Starboard on a sea vessel, a Greek bloke I worked with on a Lazy Day Cruise excursion a year or two back told me the secret. 

"Yianni," he said, "imagine a nice bottle of Port wine." I admit, I didn't find that difficult. He went on, "Well, now imagine that it's empty." Ahem, well, yes, having emptied a few through the years this also wasn't hard. And before you start, I don't mean that I've emptied entire bottles of port on my own all right? I've had company on at least some of these occasions. My tutor continued, "Now you have the secret. Just say to yourself, 'There's no Port left!!' and you have it. Port equals left and by process of elimination, Starboard has to be on the right. Easy eh?"

You know. I've always been able to remember that one; which is more than can be said for a welter of Greek verb endings. So, returning to my quiet on-board musings and vain attempts to emulate Ole Blue Eyes, I whipped out the iPad and snapped these...

Sorry I couldn't get a better zoom on those, but the iPad's not as good as the digital camera, which was tucked way down deep in my rucksack at the time. But if you do the usual with them (ie: click on an image, then, when it's opened, right click on it and select 'View Image', which, once that one's opened on most browsers your mouse will turn into a magnifying glass that, if clicked, will give you a really big view which you can drag your way around) you'll get a better look at those famous Rhodes landmarks.

Perhaps you also picked up on my use of the word "Mole" back up there somewhere too? Y'know, I only remember that word in this context because I seem to recall it getting a lot of use in the book "The French Lieutenant's Woman" by John Fowles. If you're in any doubt, check out this website, where you'll see this:

See, told you. You wouldn't believe me would you, huh?

Anyway, there we were steaming into Rhodes after a very comfy night in a first class cabin (beats flying folks) where we'd had the luxury of crisp, clean sheets on very nice beds, an ensuite with an inexhaustible supply of piping hot water in the shower, wardrobes and a TV, and I was thinking (apart from the words of the old Sinatra song that is) about the fact that our meal for the coming evening was already sorted, courtesy of the To Petrino taverna, on the island of Syros. That link, by the way, takes you to the TripAdvisor reviews about this taverna. When I posted mine I was rather surprized to see that I was the first to review it. But in the last couple of days another person has added a shorter, but no less enthusiastic one, I'm pleased to see. You may notice that the taverna is listed as being located in Ermoupoli. This is simply because that's the name of the main town and harbour on Syros island.

As I said, our evening meal for the day of our return home was going to consist of some Fava, some oven-baked aubergine with Pilaf rice stuffing, tomatokeftedes and a green lettuce and carrot salad. They brought us complimentary tzatziki too, but we didn't need that packed up for the trip, we'd eaten it all by the time we were so stuffed that we had to ask if we could take the rest with us!

The taverna's location was really lovely and very atmospheric. In fact Ermoupoli as a whole was wonderful, and more Parisienne that Greek in some parts. 

So, after stumbling on a really good taverna for our last meal in the Cyclades for a while, we were well pleased, well sated and well supplied for our first meal back home. Our neighbors were on the quayside to welcome us back and drive us home. 

On the road home, driving back down the island, no one asked me, "What's that tune you're humming?" But if they had I'd have told them, "As Frank Sinatra said: It's oh so nice to go travellin', but it's so much nicer to come home." The both of us are only too aware that we're very privileged to be able to spend three and a half weeks away on a Greek island, only to be able to return home to another one at the end of it.

Life is good. There will be a post with a complete summary of the whole Naxos visit when I can get it finished. It's taking me a long time to prepare it though. Since it's now approaching 2.00am, I'm off to my bed 'cos I have to be up by 7.00am to do my second excursion of this season, which my employers cannily call "Cosmopolitan Capital". Hats off to them, it sure beats "Rhodes Shopping!" as an excursion title, yea?


  1. Well John. I totally agree with travelin.It certainly broadens the mind. After a mammoth road trip yesterday, I'm in love. We went to Kritinia castle via monolithos and Sianna. Then to Kameros and took the breath taking lanes across the island through Askipilos and back to our tempory home in Kiotari. What a fab day. Eek,! Only 2 days left. We shall have to return. Di and Dave.

    1. Glad you're enjoying yourselves Di. Sorry we haven't been able to drop by yet. Hope to just on the off chance of catching you before you go. What number are you staying in?

    2. Don't worry John. We have been busy too. Off to Rhodes town again today. Tomorrow we will be at apartment or below on the beach. Room 5. First floor. Middle apartment. Di

  2. Sorry we missed you. Filipos told us you had called. Went to see Laurence Durrells former home in Rhodes town. Good to get an idea after reading Reflections of a Marine Venus. Back home this morning taking with us delightful memories of out trip. It won't be our last. Di and Dave.