Four Hours in Rhodes
I know, it doesn’t seem like a long time but if you know what you’re doing and where you’re going, four hours in Rhodes is just enough. At least, it was for me on Monday. The Blue Star currently runs on a Monday at 10.45 from Symi, arriving in Rhodes at 12.00, and then leaving again at 16:00 and reaching Symi at 17.15, giving me four hours to do what I went to do.
Petalo, towards the new landing stage.
A walk down to the harbour with the boat rounding the headland as I reached the bottom of the zigzag, and a stroll to the new jetty where there were loads of people and cars waiting to leave. The end of August usually means the end of summer Διακοπές for Greek and southern-European visitors. Everyone, it seemed, was heading back to Rhodes for flights, and later heading up to Athens by boat. But the Blue Star is a large ferry, and there was plenty of room. It has a decent amount of things to do as well. There’s a self-service restaurant, an a la carte, several cafes and bars, upstairs seating in the covered deck area and some space out in the sun, plus aeroplane style seats, a large shop, a reception desk, internet and cabins which I’ve not explored yet. Perhaps I will in the winter if we pop up to Athens for a mooch around.
Arriving at a port is a noisy affair. Passengers gather on the car desk ready for the stern ramps to drop down while alarms sound and lights flash. It reminds me of the Lloyd Webber musical, Starlight Express. If you ever saw it in its original form, you might remember the things that happened before each race: flashing lights, barriers rising from the stage, the hiss of pneumatic pumps as the bridge moved and the alarms sounding, plus that awful screeching voice of the ‘child’ off stage who was setting his/her trains up for the contest.
That over with, I walked from the commercial harbour around to Mandraki and the Wind shop 1.5 miles away. I carried my hat at the windier times, not wanting to lose another to the wind and sea. Wind is the name of my mobile provider. It was Telestet once upon a time and later changed its name to Tim. That was rather alarming as, at the time, I was crossing on a ferry from Southampton to France. Halfway across my phone buzzed, and I received a message. ‘Tim welcomes you to France.’ Who on earth is Tim?’ I thought. ‘And how does he know where I am? Bit scary.’ Later still, they changed their name to Wind. ‘Wind welcomes you to France,’ it might be, or perhaps, ‘France welcomes you to wind, depending on what you eat.’
I walked into the Wind shop and was seen straight away, conversed in English (after checking in Greek that it was okay to do so) because my level of Greek hasn’t reached overly-technical yet, and I arranged a contract for my new Smartphone. I was doing this because my pay as you go top up credit was being used up rather voraciously by the data roaming connect to internet function, and I didn’t know how to stop it. I only found out as I waited to get off the boat in Rhodes, making my trip mildly redundant, but as I was there… I set up a contract to cover 1,600 minutes of talk time (I don’t even speak to the husband for that many minutes per month) and 100 messages (ditto) plus a small amount of data. When that runs out, I have the option to top up, but I will not be charged for any further use, as you are with some contracts. And this worked out cheaper than what I usually put on the phone each month, so everyone was happy.
Happier still after lunch by the pool at the Plaza where Agapitos and Costas greeted me in their usual cheery/matey ways which always make me feel like a local. A Caesar salad (€7.00) and a beer (€3.50) later and I was off back to the boat. I arrived there just after three to find it already packed with people. You can board the ferry two hours before sailing, but I reckon some of these people had stayed on since Symi, crossing to Rhodes for the fun of it before heading up north. The journey back went smoothly and quickly, I disembarked amid some of Lloyd Webber’s most elegant music (well, the wail of sirens, so as good as) and walked up the steps to the village and home. All in all, a successful and healthy four hours in Rhodes (and one beer).
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