All roads lead to Rhodes…Hiring a car on the island.

For our island-hopping escapade this summer, we decided to make the most of cheap Ryanair flights, and use Rhodes as a base for exploring the Dodecanese islands. Unfortunately for us however, that’s about as far as our trip planning went. With everyone being too busy with work/exams/life we just assumed everything would all fall into place, and ended up being thwarted big time by Greek ferry timetables…

Still, there are worse places to be stranded, right?

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Ok, not exactly paradise…

 

After walking around the crowded city for a whole afternoon, becoming borderline offensive with pushy restaurant touts, and  finally conceding windswept defeat and leaving the underwhelming beach, we agreed that we could not stay put in Rhodes for another three days. Feeling the drop in morale and sensing the inevitable tensions that it would bring, I quickly suggested that we hire a car to explore the island.Being twenty-five didn’t seem so bad any more once I realised I could now  hire a car for 30€ a the day…And  after spending a few days blindly following people around Athens, I relished the freedom of literally being in the driver’s seat.

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The perks of making it to  25!

Making our way down the east coast we began to ask ourselves whether we had gone from the firepan into the fire, as the ugly towering blocks and seedy looking clubs of Faliraki prompted choruses and variations of ‘who on earth would come here on purpose?? Instead of the beautiful, winding sea road that Corfu has taught me to expect, we were on a highway to a very specific kind of hell, where a full English comes with a free shot of Sambuca and  a side of chlamydia. (unfortunately for this post I wasn’t inspired to get my camera out) 

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The Acropolis of Lindos…Parts of it date back to 300 b.c.

Having persevered for about 50km, we were soon rewarded with the unique view of Lindos, a pretty impressive town/archaological site towering over a cluster of African looking white houses against a backdrop of blue sea. While it wasn’t exactly the island paradise we were searching for, it was certainly worth a frappé stop.

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Not a bad spot to have breakfast either…

After heading a bit further down the coast, we decided to take a mountain road over to the other side of the island, which we were promised was undeveloped and a tourist free zone. We finally started to see the Rhodes that we had craved, the wild craggy mountains, olive groves, and the thick island air that you can almost taste. The landscape is semi African, with barren rivers and dusty rolling hill-sides, none of the verdure of the Ionian islands.

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Bit of a shock for a Corfiot girl like me!

After dropping over to the west coast I took the first little dirt track down to the beach, a fairly anti-climactic stretch of greyish littered sand, but one of the most beautiful seas I’ve  ever seen. I stripped off, not even waiting to change, and ran straight into the waves. I didn’t have time to feel the cold as I was thrown around, jumping in elation. The others waited on the beach, probably wondering what the hell I was doing, but I can’t describe how happy a rough sea makes me. It’s almost as if the energy of the waves recharges me. sea.JPG

It wasn’t really a place to hang out though, not without a bit of planning (which we’ve already established, is not our forté) so we decided to head to the most southernly part of the island, a little peninsla called Prasonisi. Here we finally found our paradise. A massive expanse of two bays, one for windsurfers and a rougher one for kite-boarders, linked by a little hill for hiking. While it was too windy to sit comfortably on the beach and perve, the hike to the top of the hill was well worth the view, and after scrambling back down the other side for about twenty minutes we were finally rewarded with the secluded beach paradise we’d been dreaming of…

prasonisi

That’s more like it!

 

Unfortunately for us, having spent most of the day trying to find our island paradise, we now had to head back to civilisation, and more worryingly, I had a Skype interview. I’ve always been inclined to consider no WiFi a plus when it comes to island paradises, but when it came to dragging everyone away from the beach I wasn’t so sure any more…

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Where have you been all my life?

 

Anyway, the moral of this story (actually, this whole trip) is plan,plan,plan,plan,plan!  I know it sucks the joy out of exploring, but with an island as big (and as charmless) as Rhodes, it definitely helps to do your research and to head straight for where you want to be, especially if you have a time limit. In this case I would have loved to have spent more time on Prasonisi, which also had a campsite and a few bars, and just a generally nice atmosphere. It all turned out well in the end though, I got the job in Colombia, and we ended the day with a terribly british night out in Rhodes…

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