Sunday, 11 October 2009

Rhodes - Sunday 6 September

If it's Sunday, we're in Rhodes and today's the day! Our Ruby Wedding, we've been married for 40 years. Hard to believe some days, but we made it.

What a change to the day we got married. The weather was pretty similar, very clear and sunny, just not quite so hot that day. What we didn't have this time was all the hassle. It was such a lovely relaxing day, just the two of us.

It was a time to reflect too on how much has happened over those years. The sad things and the happy ones; the family members we've lost and our new family members.

In the morning we went up to church, the one we, well I, always go to when we're in Rhodes. I've been there a lot so it's feeling very familiar now. Here's a slightly better photo of the St Francis mural. Still not a really good photo.

Cruise 229

Then we did our usual wandering around the Old Town. People always wonder why we go back to the same place when there are so many different places in the world to to see. Well I used to think that too, however I have to say I always see something new when we go to Rhodes and I also get a feeling of coming to a very friendly place, one I love.

Here's the memorial to the Jewish martyrs of Rhodes and those murdered in the death camps by the Nazis. I've never seen this before and I know we've passed down this street almost every time we've been here at the same time on a Sunday morning. I think the reason why we saw it this time is that there were very few people about this time as we walked down the street. Normally it's packed. Sorry the picture's not too clear but you get the feeling of the place. In the middle of a hustling bustling town, here's a little oasis of peace and tranquility.

Cruise 220

Here's something else we saw for the first time, a lady making carpets in the front of a shop. A dying trade apparently if you pardon the pun.

Cruise 223

The street traders were out in force trying to persuade you to buy. Not harassing you, just telling you about the craft and the bargains.

I love taking pictures of works in progress!

Cruise 225

I've noticed that when I'm wandering about I love seeing pictures through doorways, archways and holes like this. Not sure why. Here's a view through a hole in the old city walls.

Cruise 233
Wonder if it was a place the Knights of St John kept watch from.

One of the good things about visiting Rhodes on a cruise we discovered is how close the ship docks to the town. It's just a few minutes walk to the Old and New Towns. Also it gives you a different perspective on the Town too.

Here are the walls of the Old Town from the sea, well some of them.

Cruise 209


This is a view of the New Town and harbour, the other side of the photograph I took in May.

Cruise 211
Here's the photo I took from the quayside in May.
Cruise 038

A view of the top of the harbour. I'm pretty sure that's Turkey you can see in the distance.

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While I remember, here's a photo of the ship we travelled on.

Cruise 234

It wasn't one of those mega ships, I would have hated that. Just a nice size only 580 passengers and it was full. It could get into the smaller docks that the big cruise ships can't.

They were always washing and painting it when the ship docked. I kept wondering if the Queen was due on board as you can always smell fresh paint when she's expected anywhere.

Santorini tomorrow!

Post 121

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Mykonos

After lunch the ship docked in Mykonos, just a few nautical miles from Delos.

I’d never been to Mykonos before, (we don’t get direct flights from our local airport) but I’ve seen all those lovely photos in the holiday brochures. It’s one of the smallest islands in the Cyclades, 16km (10 miles) by 11 km (7 miles) but one of the most popular holiday resorts in Greece.

We didn't venture any further than Mykonos Town where there was plenty to see. There are gleaming white washed houses and shops in a maze of narrow haphazard alleyways, well preserved windmills and lots of tiny churches. Designer shops and the usual tourist tat. It’s exactly like the postcards.

The bay is really a pretty sight with the Venetian style balconies overhanging the restaurants and cafes. In earlier days these were the distinguished houses of ship captains. I love this photo, the water was crystal clear.

Little Venice

The famous windmills of Mykonos are reminders of an earlier time when wind power was used to grind the island's grain. It's not easy to get a decent picture of them, they must specially organise the post card photo shoots. To the rear is a car park and I couldn't resist taking this photo of a car that's much dirtier than mine has ever been and it does get quite mucky. Shows how hot and dusty it is there.

Mucky car

Clean Me!

In front of the windmills was a huge skip. I managed to get a photo to the side of it and cropped most of it off and also someone's motor scooters.

Windmills


There are apparently 365 churches and chapels on Mykonos but I only took this one photo of a little chapel sandwiched between shops, houses and restaurants.

Little chapel

In the fifties, a group of migrating pelicans passed over Mykonos and apparently left behind a single exhausted bird, Petros. Vassilis the fisherman, nursed it back to health and locals say the pelican in the harbour is the original Petros. It's doubtful after all this time and there are several lurking around. This one seemed to be performing its ablutions in an appropriate place, the local loos!

Pelican

Petros?

There were numerous alleyways with tiny shops and houses. It was great to find some shade there. You couldn't really get lost though, it wasn't that big.

Alleyway

There were lots of lovely little shingley coves and sandy beaches where you could swim. Oh the heat! Wish I had taken my swimming costume.

Small cove

Just in case you're wondering, no that isn't our ship in the background. It was in Delos when we were there too.

Next stop Rhodes!

Post 120

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Cruise!

Our Ruby wedding anniversary was coming up in September so I decided that this time around I wasn’t conforming and having the party everyone expected. I’d done that first time around with the wedding. I’m not one for fuss so a wedding was quite stressful for me especially as my Mam was seriously ill at the time.

I decided that this time we were going away, just the two of us and doing something extravagant. So I booked a Mediterranean cruise, I’d always fancied a cruise but had never been able to justify the spending. Eric almost had a heart attack when I told him but he soon came around to the idea.

At the beginning of September we flew to Athens via Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and contrary to all the publicity it’s absolutely brilliant. We spent the night in Piraeus and then on Friday 4 September we boarded the ship. Wow I was amazed at how fantastic the ship was and they showed us to a lovely open air restaurant on the terrace at the back of the ship for lunch. Note I don't use the correct nautical terms! I have to say I was surprised at how fantastic the food was for the whole of the cruise, needless to say I didn’t skimp for the whole time.

I was looking forward to taking some really great photographs on this trip but when we got back I was disappointed at the quality of a lot of the photographs and I have no idea why. You’d imagine that given the wonderful Mediterranean light the pictures would be better than ones taken at home. Some were excellent but others weren’t and I haven’t a clue why. Maybe I need to take some photography classes!

The first morning, Saturday 5 September, the ship was at Delos.

Delos

The light was wonderful and the sky was a fantastic shade of blue. It was a great view to look out on and eat breakfast. Come to think of it we ate lunch looking out there too

Delos is an uninhabited island in the roughly circular ring of Greek islands called the Cyclades.

It had a position as a holy as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. In 1990, UNESCO inscribed Delos on the World Heritage List, citing it as the "exceptionally extensive and rich" archaeological site which "conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port".

However I’m a bit of a Philistine, not desperately keen on ancient history so I decided to give it a miss. In addition it was scorching hot and there was no shelter at all on the island. I saved my strength for Mykonos later that afternoon!

So I've cheated and borrowed some photos from Wiki Commons to see what I missed.

Ancient Delos, Greece

House of Dionysus, Delos

Delos lions

Yes, I know, I really should have gone on that visit!

Post 119

What's a Gansey?

                                                Photograph courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums It's a seaman's kni...