The Rambling Writer Returns to Greece, Part 12: Villages of Rhodes

Wander with Thor and me through the cobbled lanes of Greek villages on the sunny island of Rhodos.

NOTE: Since my 4-month backpacking trip around Greece too many years ago, I had been longing to return to this magical land of myth, history, and dramatic landscapes. I recently made a fabulous 3-week return trip there, to research additional settings for my novel-in-progress, THE ARIADNE DISCONNECT. My first post in the new series, on September 30, gives an overview of my rambles with my husband Thor from Athens to the islands of Rhodes, Santorini, and Naxos, and finally a pilgrimage to the ancient center of the world at Delphi.

After the awe-inspiring Classic edifice of Lindos on its soaring acropolis above the sea, and the grandiose Medieval palace and walls of Rhodos Old City, Thor and I found more intimate charms in the winding cobbled lanes of island villages. Just minutes from the decadent luxury of the spa at Kallithea beach (last week in #11), the traditional village of Koskinou perches on a steep hillside. On a Sunday morning with most residents observing the day in the gleaming, whitewashed church with its tiered bell tower, the village was a quiet escape from tourist crowds.

Near the modern church we came across this 4th-century Christian Basilica:

The village is home to only about 3200 people, and is a protected settlement, so the historic section retains homes with traditional neoclassic styles and brilliant colors. It’s one of the oldest villages on the island, with remains of ancient Greek and Byzantine eras.

Bougainvilleas and blooming vines cascade over walls and gateways to house courtyards paved with the island’s traditional black-and-white pebble mosaics, choklakia. Some of the narrow lanes are also paved with the pebble inlays and shaded with more lovely vines.

Thor and I fell under the spell of the village enchantment as we wandered in the morning hush.

The village is known for its strikingly painted and decorated doorways and gates:

Some of the older houses still display the carved stone “ship’s chains” that decorated the home of a ship’s captain, the number of chains supposedly indicating the number of ships owned.

And balconies:

One of the house walls sported a mosaic of the Colossus of Rhodes:

We emerged from the labyrinth of lanes into a square with a typical open-air kafeneio/taverna:

Still, the only residents we encountered were a couple of the ubiquitous Greek cats:

This one was taking a well-earned catnap beside the evidence of her hard work:

Still under the silent spell of Koskinou, we dropped down to the east-coast highway and headed south to the ancient acropolis of Lindos (see Part #9), with its own village clustered at the base of the cliffs. The architecture here is more classic Aegean, with the cubic whitewashed houses like a labyrinth blazing in the sun:

I’ll repeat a fragment of Lawrence Durrell’s description from his post-World War II memoir Reflections on a Marine Venus:

“Its beauty is of a scrupulous Aegean order, and perfect in its kind. The narrow streets which rise and fall like music are paved with clean sea-pebbles, and criss-crossed with little inter-communicating alleys. Their width is enough to accommodate two mules abreast, but no car can enter them. Everything is painted white, a dazzling glitter of plaster and white-wash, so that if you half closed your eyes you might imagine that Lindos reflected back the snowy reflections of a passing cloud.”

All that blazing white reflected the midday heat as we wandered the winding lanes after our climb to the acropolis, searching for shade and a long, cool drink. We found more of the captain doorways with their stone-carved ship’s chains:

We finally found a shaded deli for lunch–and of course, those cold beers!

After another wonderful swim in those magical blue seas (still hoping to dive with the dolphins again), we packed our bags for our next island destination. Next week: Santorini!

*****

You will now find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Cafe is available in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection.  It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction. Sara has recently returned from a research trip in Greece and is back at work on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect. Sign up for her quarterly email newsletter at www.sarastamey.com

 

 

 

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About Sara Stamey

Sara Stamey’s journeys include treasure hunting and teaching scuba in the Caribbean and Honduras; backpacking around Greece and New Zealand; operating a nuclear reactor; and owning a farm in Southern Chile. Now resettled in her native Northwest Washington, she teaches creative writing at Western Washington University. She shares her Squalicum Creek backyard with wild critters and her cats, dog, and husband Thor. Visit her BVC Ebookstore bookshelf.

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4 Responses to The Rambling Writer Returns to Greece, Part 12: Villages of Rhodes

  1. Thor Hansen says:

    Loved those narrow alleys; part of one was nearly always in shade.

  2. Sherwood Smith says:

    Oh, what a magical village! I am so glad that places like that still exist.

    Santorini! I did a project using it, years ago, back when it wasn’t so easy to do research. I look forward to your report.

    • Sara Stamey says:

      Yes, it felt like a “sleeping beauty” spell enfolded us as we wandered. Hope to meet the village folk next time! (We vow to return.)
      Santorini is indeed dramatic….

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