At the end of September I spent a week in Rhodes with my family. When my brother and I were in primary school we visited Rhodes for our holiday nearly every year. I have a lot of childhood memories from this beautiful rocky island, and it was lovely to be back. Since it was nearly October I was expecting the weather to be a little chilly but it was really, really warm. I recommend visiting Greece in September – it’s slightly cheaper and the heat is slightly more bearable. I’m so glad that I managed to catch some sun this year!
Not everyone in my family loves the beach so we did a lot of sightseeing. We visited the archaeological museum in Rhodes town and admired the tiny statue of Aphrodite. I’m not a big fan of ancient museums (I think I was overexposed to ancient Greek history by my parents who love it *almost* too much) but the Knights Hospital and the Turkish House in the museum were really cool. It was fun being able to imagine people sitting down for tea and sweeties in the house or picture the knights recovering in their private rooms at the hospital. In general, Rhodes is a pretty medieval looking town, which can seem strange when you’re used to associating Greece with columns and ancient temples.
Monolithos Castle is set on top of this luscious green mountain and the views are spectacular. I’ve always preferred exploring ruined monuments to preserved ones – there’s something about climbing over crumbling walls that’s more exciting. On our way to the castle we stopped at a stall by the side of the road to buy some olive oil, honey and other treats. The lady running the stall showed us the olive trees above us and the hives in the orchard that the oil and honey came from. I think shopping at the roadside was one of my favourite parts of the holiday! It’s so rare that you interact with the places and people who produce your food and it was exciting to meet the olive trees! I wish shopping for food was always like that.
On a different day we explored Petaloudes, the valley of the butterflies. You can walk down the valley through the forest and spot “butterflies” – actually Jersey Tiger Months – resting on the trees. We didn’t visit at the right time of year so I only spotted a few, but I saw a lot of crabs in the river which were super cute and I enjoyed being amongst the trees in the cool of the valley. Of course, much time was also spent on the beach, sunbathing on the rocks and watching the fish through my goggles. Swimming in the sea is so therapeutic, I really miss it when I haven’t swum for a while.
It’s worth mentioning that it was difficult to be vegan in Rhodes. Because each Greek island has its own specialities, I probably would have been fine elsewhere like Corfu, where plant based starters like gigantese and fried mushrooms are more common. I spent most of my time eating salad, bread and hummus which is not a balanced enough diet. A couple of restaurants made me a rice and grilled vegetable dish, but most found the idea of vegan confusing. If it had only been James and I travelling we would have cooked for ourselves at home and gone out for dessert (Greek doughnuts and sorbet are vegan!) or drinks, but it’s more difficult when you’re the only vegan in a group of people who want to eat out.
Regardless, my trip to Rhodes was blissful! I hope to return again