Saturday, August 15, 2009

By Rhodes less traveled

When I think back to my own childhood it's the holidays that remain most vivid in my memory.

That's how I think of the last 14 summers - as creating memories for my children.

This year, we decided to take a break from soggy campsites and headed off to Rhodes for 2 weeks of guaranteed sunshine and pampering.

We stayed at the Lisa Hotel, near Ixia on the northwest coast, deliberately choosing somewhere off the beaten track and away from the major tourist centres. With just 35 b&b rooms, the family run hotel is intimate and friendly. Our spotlessly clean rooms overlooked the pool, where the boys spent up to 8 hours a day when we weren't out exploring the island.

I wrote a chapter a day and luxuriated in the opportunity to enter worlds created by other writers.
(Massive respect to Nicola Monaghan for The Killing Jar - by far the best book I've read in a very long time.)

We also hired a car for a couple of days, traveling the length and breadth of the island.

Petaloudes - Valley of the Butterflies

Away from the commercial centres, Rhodes is rugged, exquisite and largely unspoiled.

Spot the building, vehicle or person

Prasonisi - the southernmost tip where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean

Ancient ruins at Kamiros - don't even think about it ...

We spent a lot of time in Rhodes Old Town ...

... where we followed this sign ...
... to the last remaining synagogue in Rhodes ...

... all that's left of the once thriving community comprising 5 synagogues, schools, rabbinical training colleges ...

In 1944, the 1600+ Jews of Rhodes and Kos were deported to Auschwitz. 150 survived. The community is now too small to hold regular services but the synagogue and museum are lovingly cared for by those remaining. We met an elderly man who showed us the tattooed number on his forearm - he was 13 in 1944 but was big for his age and strong, so was put to work, avoiding the gas chambers. He gazed at our own 2 boys and asked their names. Little Guy's name is the same as the man's father. He laid his hands on their heads and blessed them.

The next generation.
During those days when we went out exploring, we entered the past. But in the evenings, we engaged with the here and now, gathering with a phenomenal bunch of new friends at the hotel bar...

... run by Michael and his son George.

George boasts that he makes the best cocktails on the island - and he could be right.

I had sex on the beach - I even had sex on the moon. Best of all, I had not one but two screaming orgasms.

They have the power to bring out the extrovert from the driest of stones and I even found myself discovering the attraction of karaoke.

We're home now and attempting to adjust. But if you like what you've seen here, I thoroughly recommend the Lisa. If we go again we'd go self-catering and book direct, which you can do here.

Or just phone 0030 22410 93557 (from the UK) and tell Michael that Debi sent you!


Niki M said...

Sounds like you had the best time and looks totally idyllic. Thanks for the mention and so glad you liked the book. :D xxx

SueG said...

What a wonderful holiday. I've always wanted to go there. And to think that you even wrote that much, too...

Liane Spicer said...

Lovely! And you wrote too? I'm truly inspired. Will add Rhodes to my wish list.

The boys and the pool? That was my son years ago. Took him to Tobago and all he could think of as we drove from Speyside to Charlotte Bay was: Can we go back to the pool now? He even passed on Buccoo Reef.

Glad you had such a good time, Debi. I've steered clear of those drinks in the past. Will be more adventurous in the future!

Queenie said...

Agree completely about Rhodes - my Paramour and I have holidayed in Lindos, which is more touristy than places we usually choose but still so delightful that we went back a second time. Also agree about The Killing Jar, and I very much enjoyed her second novel, Starfishing. Really glad you all had such a good time.

BarbaraS said...

How you cover so much in one holiday and one blogpost, Debi, is amazing.

I'm really touched by the story of the gentleman you met with the number tattooed... that is chilling.

But I did laugh at the cocktail names and it sounds like you all had a really lovely break in the sun away from the smokey city. We'd love to go somewhere warm and sunny next year - maybe we'll try there!

Debi said...

Niki - I was gobsmacked by The Killing Jar. Literally word perfect.

Sue - start packing.

Liane - in spite of my reputation, I don't actually do alcohol much - but I made the exception here.

Queenie - we slipped past Lindos, but I might have seen your footsteps.

Babs - now there's an idea ... next year we ALL go!

Minx said...

I'm coming too - still pining for me own Greek island and yours looks fab.
Sex on the Beach - Debi!!!!

Debi said...

Oh do come, Minx. We could all enjoy screaming orgasms together.

We've missed our Minxy fix this summer.

Marie said...

Welcome back, Debi. Glad you had a lovely time.