The penultimate day of the stay on Rhodes turned out to be a bit of a groundhog day played out pretty much to a previous routine. After breakfast on the balcony we went out into the main street in Ixia but with nothing very much to attract our attention found ourselves walking rather aimlessly along the beach in the general direction of Rhodes town.
We didn’t set out with any deliberate intention or repeating the marathon walk of the first day of the holiday but after half an hour or so we discovered that we had walked further than we had probably intended and being about half way to the town decided to just carry on.
It was a pleasant walk because there was a stiff breeze coming in from the west that made the sea rougher than usual and was keeping us cool. Following the coast all the way to Rhodes we passed the beaches that hadn’t fully filled up for the day just yet and then to the most northerly tip of the island where the Italians had bequeathed an aquarium to the island during their period of rule.
As we rounded the headland into the shelter from the breeze and past the casino the temperature rose and we began to get hotter and it wasn’t long after that that the whinging started again. Kim was too hot and wanted to look for a bar and I wasn’t going to argue with her about that.
We were at Mandraki now which is the original town harbour and we were looking for the famous deer statues that sit on two columns at the entrance. For some reason we expected them to be much bigger than they actually are so we shared a sense of disappointment when we finally came across them. How much more impressive it would have been of course to have been able to say that we had seen the Colossus of Rhodes that is thought to have once stood at this very spot.
The city of Rhodes was formed in 408 BC and flourished for three centuries during its Golden Age, when sea trade, skilled shipbuilders, and a progressive politician regime kept it prosperous right up until Roman times. The bronze statue of the Colossus of Rhodes was built to commemorate the successful defence of the city for over a year against a Macedonian assault and was one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and although no one can be exactly sure it supposedly took twelve years to build before it was completed in 282 BC.
The statue represented the sun god Helios and stood at the harbour entrance but a strong earthquake about 226 BC, badly damaged the city and toppled the Colossus. Legend has it that Helios himself was displeased by the statue and forbade the Rhodians from making any attempt to rebuild it so for the next eight centuries, give or take a few years, it lay in ruins until it was sold to a Jewish merchant who was reputed to require nine hundred camels to haul it all away.
A fully laden camel can carry four hundred and fifty kilograms so that would be roughly about four hundred tonnes of bronze, by comparison the Statue of Liberty weighs two hundred and twenty-five tonnes and is forty-six metres high so using this dubious logic the Colossus of Rhodes would have been ninety metres high and huge.
The first bar we came across we rejected on the grounds of price and so made our way back to the place that we had stopped for a drink on the first day in Rhodes. The friendly waiter remembered us and showed us the front page of today’s paper that had an account of a bank robbery that had taken place in the town yesterday where thieves had stolen nearly half a million Euros in a raid lasting less than a minute.
Whilst finishing the drink I gave my word to Kim that this would be the last time in Rhodes town and after we said goodbye and promised to return another year we walked back in the direction of the coast taking a wrong turning or two along the way until we eventually came across somewhere familiar. As we approached the bus stop a bus drove past and we had missed it so I did my dad’s old trick and rather than sit around waiting for the next one I persuaded Kim to walk to the next stop. Then we missed the next one because we didn’t quite get to the next stop ahead of it and fairly soon we were half way back to Ixia and even Kim had to concede that we may as well just walk all of the way back to the Caravel.
The afternoon just slipped away as we sat on the balcony reading and playing cards. Kim’s spectacular loosing streak continued even with the new pack of cards that she had bought to see if this would change her luck. We spent some time around the deserted swimming pool area and tried to accelerate our sun tans in that end of holiday sort of way that people do. In the evening before the final meal we walked through the lido opposite to the beach for the sunset and wandered through the grounds of an expensive hotel complex trying as best we could to make it look as though we belonged there and not in the budget hotel across the road.