There really shouldn’t be a blog about Rhodes. After all, our plan was to book a beautiful seaside villa and do nothing for a week. If anyone reading this has known us for more than a year, you’ll know that sitting still is not our strong suit. In fact, being sick and on a remote island still didn’t stop us from exploring.
We arrived in Rhodes in the wee hours of the morning, before the birds were even awake. We also didn’t sleep the night before because of our “awesome” planning skills (the cheapest flight was at 4 AM…). Life decided us to teach us a lesson in logistics that morning. 1) The cheapest car to rent in Europe is probably a manual car. 2) 5 AM is not the time to re-learn, teach, or learn how to drive stick shift. Don’t ask us how we learned this, just trust that it’s a lesson that will stick with us throughout the rest of our European adventures.
6 AM decisions include pulling over and pretending to be mountain goats
In our sleepiness and efforts to save money, our hotel was about an hour away from the airport on the opposite side of the island. That morning, we also got our first lesson in “Greek time”. Now, in our family, we’ve come to understand Chinese time (mom will be ready when she is ready), and Texas time (always factor in 30 minutes to sit and talk), but neither of us were quite prepared for Greek time. We got to our hotel around 9 AM, right when the main office was supposed to be open (should’ve been our first red flag). However, there was no manager to be found. Thankfully the waitress at the hotel restaurant was kind enough to serve us even though we had not checked in yet. After about an hour and a half sitting and enjoying some of the most beautiful seaside views we’ve ever seen, the manager finally showed up, unapologetic as ever.
Seriously - the view kept us sane
As slaphappy as we were, all we wanted was sleep. I was about to settle for the corner room, but thankfully Matthew had the alertness to request a room with a private pool instead - and we got it. We realized later that the island was still fairly empty due to the recent wildfires that wiped out half of it. Seriously, 1/2 of the island was charred black with only stumps left. The hotel was barely occupied and the pool room we got upgraded to was semi under construction since the outdoor pagoda had been burned down in the fire. The upgrade was much appreciated, and the day-long nap we took after was necessary.
Despite recent fires, we found our slice of paradise
We woke up in time for dinner, where we learned exactly how fresh the food is in Rhodes. Not 10 minutes walk down the street to Stefano Fish Tavern, We asked for the daily fish special and were taken to the kitchen and shown a drawer of freshly caught fish. Ironically, neither of us ordered fish that night, although the catch of the day did look quite good. That night, we also stumbled into Pefkos, the neighboring town, that had a gelato shop we just HAD to check out. Ice cream of any type is our weakness, don’t you know that by now? Besides, it’s cheaper than whisky and has much less hangovers.
Matthew has a whole album titled "Shanon eating"
Our happy accident didn’t only lead us to dessert, but we also discovered a lively beach town full of vibrant restaurants, nightlife, and cats. The first two are fun for me, but seeing as cats are literally the death of me, it was a little unnerving to be surrounded by so many of them. Apparently cats are sacred in Greece, so people spay, neuter, and feed stray cats, causing an overpopulation of them in town. We then wandered further down the road to Lindos, where we were extremely grateful to have rented a small car.
The cutest murder scene ever
Lindos traffic at 10 pm on a weekday was pretty terrifying to navigate. Google maps is also a bit masochistic as it tried to direct us to drive down a couple of roads that only motorcycles and fit humans could fit down. Once we finally parked, we wandered into what can only be described as the Greek version of Jiufen. Lindos is a pedestrian only town full of tourist shops, tourist restaurants, and asses. I’m not just talking about the people - there’s a donkey pen offering donkey rides through the city. While I’m not a huge fan of being in close quarters with a bunch of strangers (there’s a reason I hated my time on a submarine), we did find a surprisingly satisfying new couples activity: dress shopping for Shanon. In Lindos, Matthew had the opportunity of buying a woman a dress for the first time ever, and absolutely loved the free fashion show he received. I also walked away with a flowy white number that I ended up wearing all week. It’s weird going from athleisure all the time to needing to wear looser fitting clothes because of an expanding abdomen (OK Matthew, you're hired on as my fashion consultant).
THE dress. Bless his heart, I wore it all week in 90 degree heat
It was during that trip that we decided that we wanted to go see the Acropolis/Athena’s Temple located in the middle of Lindos. Little did we know, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to visit until our very last day on the island, hours before we got on a plane. Pro tip: do not arrive later than 8:30 AM unless you want to be packed in like sardines in the middle of summer.
Several failed attempts later, we made it!
We did spend a couple of days at the resort resting - not necessarily by choice, but I was pretty much glued to the tissue box and completely void of energy. We took advantage of the opportunity and started booking the next leg of our trip, exercised, slept, and caught up on our reading. We finally finished “What the lady wants” - the first book Matthew started reading to Baby Poppyseed before bed. Now a historical romance based on the scandalous lives of Delia Spencer and Marshall Field might not be the best way to kick off your child’s reading journey, but it was sure entertaining for her parents.
When I had an appetite again, we discovered my favorite restaurant on the island - or perhaps, just my favorite restaurant ever… Hellas Taverna. Hellas is a cute outdoor restaurant in Pefkos that we stumbled into one night, and ended up visiting 3 times during our trip. We must have spent at least 9 hours there over the course of our 3 meals. By the end of the week, we knew all the waitstaff, and they knew us. Not sure if it was Matthew’s Mohawk, the fact that I wore the same thing every day, Matthew’s reflexes to help an overheated woman (not the same as a woman in heat), or our dazzling personalities. Regardless, we got 3 gourmet meals for basically the price of 1 anywhere else in the world. The food quality is on par or better than any Michelin rated restaurant I’ve ever eaten at, the staff was extremely friendly, and the experience cost as much as going out to Applebees on a date nite.
We tried about half the menu and all of the desserts - you simply can't go wrong
While Hellas was Rhodian cuisine with a modern flair, we also went to Taverna Paraga in the middle of the island that was everything Hellas wasn’t - and we (especially Matthew), also enjoyed the experience. I forgot to mention that Rhodes had as many wandering goats on the island as it did cats- except the goats belong to someone and all escaped during the fire. This being said, Matthew saw the goats on our first day and immediately wanted to eat one. Eventually, we went to the mountains and found a place that served goat and lamb. It should also be noted that the deer on the island are protected, so no venison this trip. Everything served at the restaurant was local - from the sheep cheese, to the goat meat, honey, and bread. It did not disappoint, although thankfully we had an hour of winding roads to navigate though to make it back to the villa, or we both would’ve been asleep almost instantly.
Goat, lamb, and a happy bellied devil dog
The exotic meat at the Taverna was not the only exotic meat we got to see on the island though. After realizing that we didn’t want to be around people during our trip, we thought it would be a good idea to check out the only nude beach on the island. After all, we watched Eurotrip and heard that Europe is full of nude beaches. We didn’t see any naked people in Denmark despite my dad’s warnings of public nudity, so when the opportunity was presented in Rhodes, we had to go check it out. Needless to say, it was reminiscent of Eurotrip. There was a lot of cooked meat in every shade between rare and well done. To spare my mother’s innocent mind, that’s all I will say about that.
Lol, we aren't about to post any exotic meat pictures on here, you gotta go see for yourself
For us, Rhodes was necessary. We were burning the candle at both ends, and a week on a beautiful island without a lot of people was exactly what we needed. By the time we were leaving, the crowds had come back, and we were feeling the effects of island fever - recharged and ready for the next adventure. Sometimes, even if we hop on and hold on, we still get bucked off. When that happens and hopping back on isn’t a possibility - we highly recommend escaping and enjoying a slow paced island life for a while before trying again.
Till the next sunset,