Rhodes town

Now dear readers, you all know that we don’t usually do package holidays and yet that is what we found ourselves on in Rhodes.

However, never fear, we still managed to break away and do our own thing for a few days. Although we were based in Pefkos we decided to spend a few days in Rhodes town itself.

So we booked into the lovely little October Down Town Rooms just a few minutes walks from the harbour and beach and about ten minutes from the fantastic old town.

The old town is surrounded by impressive battlements and that just adds to the Disneyesque feel to the whole place.

425913_10151067206352353_1732343798_nThe Old Town of Rhodes is the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. Inside it feels like a stage set, complete with cobbled streets, detailed tiling and FANTASTIC pom pom slippers!!

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Here’s a few more of the stalls tempting tourists with a variety of religious artifacts, replica Greecian temples and other wooden do dars.

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One of my favourite ever things is these super cute ice cream animals!!!

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Lemon ducks, chocolate orange mice and strawberry fishes!!

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Once inside the walls you are met with a bewildering array of possible wandering options. There are roughly 200 streets or lanes that simply have no name and you WILL get lost!

Here’s a view of the fantastic  Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. It is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece. The site was previously a citadel of the Knights Hospitaller that functioned as a palace, headquarters and fortress.

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The palace was built in the early 14th century by the Knights of Rhodes, who controlled Rhodes and some other Greek islands from 1309 to 1522, to house the Grand Master of the Order.

And here’s the rosy exterior of the Suleiman Mosque.

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Here’s a few more colourful sights from the maze of back streets in the old town. I am loving the yellow and blue combo.Wonder if I can persuade the other half to have it at home . . .

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So many delightful peely paint photo opps here! So I’ll dedicate a few obsessive posts purely to paint piccies later on . . . (I do spoil you all!)

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One of the other main sights of the old town is the Street of the Knights – one of the best preserved medieval relics in the world.

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The 600m  long, cobble – paved street was constructed over an ancient pathway that led in a straight line from the Acropolis of Rhodes to the port.

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All in all Rhodes Old Town is a fantabulous place to while away a few hours just getting lost in back allies, sampling icecreams and enjoying a chilled beer!!!

Lindos

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Next up on the Greecian odyssey is the adorable little sugar cube village of Lindos.

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The village is a sprawl of traditional white houses, many of which have rooftop terraces complete with bars and restaurants. Here’s the man pausing as we head up to the Acropolis.

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The acropolis is a  natural citadel which was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans and the Byzantines.

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The imposing facade of the structure seems carved almost from the rock itself. Some scenes from the famous film The Guns of Navarone, were filmed here.

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Below is the Doric temple of Athena Lindia. Before it’s off for a trawl of some of the narrow back streets and the colourful stalls. A particular favourite is the local olive oil soap in pretty packaging.

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Piles of artwork and teeny tiny kitchen scenes and front doors attract my gaze.

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Not to mention the multitude of magnets, swathes of scarfs and more miniature views.

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Then it’s off for a well earned dip in the very pretty St Paul’s Bay.

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It is reported that the apostle landed here during a storm.

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The turquoise water offers a well needed refresh from the steamingly hot day.

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We have to tear ourselves away from the tempting scene for a little more exploration.

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As we potter around Lindos I can’t help noticing all the ornate door knockers. A particular favourite seems to be hands!

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Enjoy this little selection of the knobs and knockers that adorn the village doors.

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All the small stuff . .

In amongst all the huge, world changing headlines, the Daily Express carried some small stories, which while not as earth shattering as the main articles, give tiny flavours of daily life in amongst epic change.

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Fashion conscious ladies accessorised their gas masks with lace veils and matched the cases to their clothes while everyday events such as births and marriages carried on apace.

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Life goes on, albeit with minor alterations for the plucky citizens of Britain! Whether it’s wryly poking fun at the German war monger or observations on the “best blackout”.

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However, in amongst the levity, even the smallest stories show how life is changing, including this piece about the future of zoo animals following the announcement of war. Each piece evokes little moments and decisions that you would never even think about.

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There’s still time to be educational, including this brief lesson on how to pronounce the names of the, up until then, unfamiliar Polish towns that would soon come to dominate the news.

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But war is never far from even the smallest news item, whether its petrol rationing, nationalising of rail waggons or the monitoring of the enemy within – the registration of any Germans who choose to stay resident in the UK.

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No nonsense in the shelters!

Today my treasured new purchase is officially 75 years old!! Having broken the news of the second Great War to an expectant public it was also a wealth of useful information into everyday situations in wartime.

The 1939 Daily Express offers hints and tips into what to do when the air raid sirens sounded. Whether you were driving a car, at home or just walking in the street.

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From shelter etiquette through to how not to annoy your fellow shelterees, there are civilised, oh so British, instructions for all situations.

P1180858Here the paper suggests that one of the most undesirable companions in an air raid shelter is the man who continually beseeches people to “keep calm”. Apparently he is himself probably in a state of suppressed hysteria!

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This initial robust optimism and no nonsense approach to the idea of war is what would help a nation pull together, survive the blitz and manage, somehow, to endure watching an almost endless stream of boys depart who would never come home.

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75 years on – a warning from history

One of the best purchases I made during my London trip was an original Daily Express newspaper dated 4th September 1939.

The paper was printed the day after war was officially declared against Germany and the Second World War began in earnest.

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Given the combustible state of the world at present, the paper offers insights into a civilisation on the brink of unimaginable horror.

As it is exactly 75 years since this particular declaration of war, it is ironic and frightening that we, once again, appear to find ourselves balanced on the same uncertain violent precipice.

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The declaration of war came two days after Hitler invaded Poland.

At 11am, 3rd September 1939, the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced that the British deadline for the withdrawal of German troops from Poland had expired.

The British ambassador to Berlin had handed a final note to the German government that morning saying that unless it announced plans to withdraw from Poland by 11am, a state of war would exist between the two countries.

Mr Chamberlain continued: “I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and consequently this country is at war with Germany.”

“You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed.”

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Here we read that France, Australia and New Zealand also declared war shortly after Britain.

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When war is declared, King George calls upon “my people at home and my peoples across the seas”.

“I ask them to stand calm, firm and united in this time of trial. The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield. But we can only do the right as we see the right and reverently commit our cause to God.”

Meanwhile President Roosevelt declares America’s intention to remain neutral while Czechoslovakia pledged allegiance to the Allied cause despite being unable to provide its own army.

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From the hostile, yet still civil, demands, rejection and ultimate declaration of war via notes and memorandums to the stiff upper lip of the opinion column – it is a glimpse of a lost world, of manners, restraint and a no nonsense acceptance of a new way of life.

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Very at odds with our current society’s preoccupation with selfies and melodramatic, self absorbed outpourings.

With the benefit of hindsight, this small snap shot of history is incredibly poignant, To think that as the paper was printed and read, our country, and indeed the whole world had no idea of the horrors that would unfold with the coming of the second Great War.

However it was not just about huge, world changing events, The paper also covers the ongoing preoccupations of daily life with advertisements, advice, weddings and sports. I’ll show some more in the next post.

 

 

Rome November 2007

Our first ever trip to Italy was way back in 2007 when we headed to the Eternal City – Rome.

Catching the bus to the city from the airport I did wonder what we were going to, so much graffiti covering shop blinds and walls, it seemed more like a ghetto than a historic, beautiful city.

It was a theme that would reoccur every time we visited Italy, spraypainted scrawl across shops, businesses, railway sidings and disused factories.

Strange that so much wanton vandalism sits cheek by jowl with such wonderful ancient architecture and history.

We stayed at the Antica Locanda, a cute little B and B just around the corner from the Colosseum. Our room had a gorgeous tiled and vaulted ceiling and antique furniture.

Check it out here: http://www.antica-locanda.com/

First stop, obviously the Colosseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre – it’s the largest ever built in the Roman Empire.

Close by is the Roman Forum – a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of important ancient government buildings at the centre of the city.

It was the centre of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections, venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiator matches, and nucleus of commercial affairs.

Here it is in all its glory as the sun starts to set over the ruins of the stately buildings.

That’s enough history for now. Next up the Vatican Museum and the beautiful Sistine Chapel.