Rhodes is very close to Turkey, so close we actually saw it when we looked out across the sea. This island is part of a chain of islands known as the Dodecanese, which is Greek for twelve. Rhodes is much larger than any of the other islands we have been to. It is one of the bigger of all the Greek islands and is known as the sunniest spot in all of Europe. I should mention that we haven't had a cloud in the sky our entire trip! The city of Rodos, where we stayed, is very touristy and a common beach vacation spot for Europeans. The beaches are by far the best we've been to yet. The sand is actually sandy, not rocky, and stretches for miles.
That's Turkey in the background and you can see how gorgeous the water is! It's also SO clear, even 20-35 feet you can see the bottom!
Rhodes is a very important historical island. There are many ancient ruins and well preserved sites that have lasted centuries. Rodos is famous for it's "Old Town", a walled city built to keep the Turks out. After lunch, Melanie and I decided to explore a bit.
Entrance to the harbor
Between the inner and outer walls of the city, where the moat used to be
Inside Old Town, which is quite large
Mosque built by the Turks during their rule
St. John's Gate
After our expedition, we went back to the beach and swam again. You really can't get enough of that water!
View from our room
We had arranged a boat tour around the island to the city of Lindos. Lindos is famous for it's natural harbor with calm and crystal waters, as well as it's ruins. Rodos is at the north tip of Rhodes and Lindos is in the middle, on the east coast.
On our way to Lindos
Lindos harbor and ruins
This is also a very touristy spot and they were offering donkey rides up to the top. Neither Melanie or I had ever ridden a donkey so obviously we had to.
Our donkey wrangler, Costos
View from the top
On top of the hill was a fortress they built around a temple to Athena. Once again they built the walls to protect themselves from the Turks.
Temple to Athena
On our way back to Lindos, we stopped to swim. Everywhere we went the water was warm, but this spot in particular was probably the warmest. I could also keep my eyes open while swimming!
For dinner we went to a Southeast Asian restaurant that was part of the Rodos casino. While the food has been excellent our entire trip, it was nice to have something other than Greek or Turkish.
Melanie's sassy drink
The next morning we took a plane to Athens, here are some pictures of the islands we passed over.
Conveniently, our hotel in Athens was across the street from the airport. The next morning we flew home via a connection back through Istanbul.
This trip has been a truly incredible experience. I have seen some of the most beautiful and important sites in human history, swam in some of the most gorgeous waters in the world, and was so lucky to share it with one of my closest friends... A great travel partner as well! I would recommend Greece and Istanbul to anyone. I always felt safe, the cities were clean, and the people friendly and gracious. I really hope to return one day. While we are excited to go home and see our family and friends, we will miss the unique and special nature of this place. However we have many great memories to keep with us.