Malona village has, of course always been there. We're now half-way through our 11th year here and have always been aware of it. When you're travelling south from Arhangelos toward Lindos, you climb a very long hill, the road levels out near the Arhangelos football pitch (on your RHS), then begins a couple of difficult bends as its descent toward Haraki begins. There, though, to your right is a breathtaking view of the Rhodes hinterland, before you also take in your first tantalising glimpse of Lindos and its acropolis across the bay of Kalathos. Way down below you to your right as the vista expands with your descent is the village of Malona. You can see the entire village, straddling as it does a wide shallow river bed, which is usually completely dry during the tourist season. About 20% of the village is on the south side of the river, hugging the road that leads to the further village of Massari, which you can also see in the panorama below you. Both sides of the village are connected by a long, low bridge over the river.
I don't really know why, but we've never had cause to go there. Once or twice a year we maybe pass through, taking the scenic route through the orange groves around the back of the mountain from the Arhangelos cross-roads (now a roundabout) to Malona and then Massari on our way home to Kiotari. In winter the orange groves are spectacular, with thousands of orange bauble bedecked trees lining the road on both sides for several kilometers. Plus, of course, if you can reach the fruit without trespassing or damaging someone's fence, you are quite welcome to supplement the fruit bowl on your coffee table at home as you pass.
A couple of days ago, though, we had to go to Malona as a destination. Apart from visiting a workshop on the periphery of the village (where they'll give your chainsaw an annual service for pennies) we've never done that. My wife has her hair trimmed by an Englishwoman who lives in the heart of the village, but normally she'll come to us. For reasons that there's no need to expand on here though, she's been stranded without a car for several weeks and since Mohammed... no, wait, the mountain won't come, ..oh, whatever. You know what I mean.
So, our coiffeur told us to enter the village, stop at Stefano's Taverna, then call her and she'd come out to greet us. No sooner had we drawn up outside the said taverna, which instantly drew my attention since it was well patronised with quite a lot of clientele all sitting at blue-and-white check table-clothed tables (always scores points with me, that), but she emerged from her gate a few metres along a very narrow street and came to greet us. The taverna owner was graciousness itself and came out to help us shoehorn the car into a space where we could leave it for an hour or two, which we greatly appreciated because trying to park a car in such villages is often a major logistic challenge.
We were soon drinking tea and admiring the traditional features of our friend's well-maintained but very old dwelling, when the time came for my wife and her friend to go out into the avli and begin the task at hand, ie: a hair-trim.
Now, I don't know about you fellas, but sitting to one side while two women natter on over the sound of scissors snipping for half an hour or so isn't top of my list of great ways to pass a Thursday afternoon. So I left them to it and decided to go out through the gate and wander the backstreets for a while. After all, this was my first ever opportunity to really see whether I'd find the village attractive or not. Thus it was that I went off along lanes in an attempt to get immersed, to soak up the villages ambience, as it were.
I didn't have either my iPad or my camera with me, but I did have my phone, so whipping it out I snapped the following piccies. Now, before you go thinking that Malona is all ruins and abandonment, it is nothing of the sort. I sought out buildings with a bit of character, including some empty ones, since I love the traditional features you see on them. Hope you like the gallery:
|Some folk make the best of a bad job when they need to sit outside for a little air.|
|I liked this house, but how incongruous that tubular rail and steps, which were obviously added much later.|
|You wouldn't want to sleep up there if you were a habitual sleepwalker who opened doors and wandered at will while comatose, would you.|
|Two ubiquitous features of an old Greek village, the restored old cottage and the pickup truck!|
|Nice traditional oven with nice traditional air-con unit!|
|No idea why the camera on my phone distorted this shot. Maybe I touched something I shouldn't have. Didn't have my glasses on after all.|
|Yet another offender washing her yard down I shouldn't wonder.|
|Ideal location for local shops, needs some modernisation...|
|What is it about these flakey walls? I just love them.|
My verdict on the village? I really like it and was surprised at the fact that it boasts several bars and kafeneions, all of which I could happily have spent an hour or two patronising. I think we'll make a point of eating or at least taking a frappé there some time soon.
That'll be after we return from our second visit to Naxos of course, where we're off to next Monday. A return visit after almost exactly two years.