The island of Rhodes, Greece sits off the coast of neighboring Turkey and is a 90 minute ferry ride from nearby Fethiye. Well, at least under ideal conditions – those that don’t involve late departures due to Turkish captains who haven’t finished their morning tea or mysterious mechanical problems that tend to slow the ferry to (surprisingly) fuel efficient speeds. A day trip from Fethiye is about 60 Euro (or 100 for longer the round-trips) to the concrete coast that reflects off the bright blue waters of the southern Aegean Sea.
Rhodes looks deceptively calm and quiet from its harbor. A walk beyond immediate vicinity of the docks reveals what I can describe as a Norwegian resort on crack, or some other radically mind-altering drug. (There are so many Scandinavians on the island I couldn’t help but think the Vikings didn’t vanish over a thousands years ago but found Rhodes and decided to stay instead.) Rhodes is an efficient tourism machine with the streets designed to move you from tourist site to shopping center while expanding your waistline with moussaka and thinning your wallet rapidly at the same time.
This 1,400 square kilometer island was an important key to the shipping lanes in the Aegean, heavily fortified to protect itself against invading army after army. In honor of an important victory against a failed siege in 305 BC, the Greeks erected the Colossus of Rhodes – one the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – though you won’t be able to see it. All that marks the remains of the 30 meter tall statue of Greek god Helios are two pillars, one visible in the photo above or both seen to the right below.
The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed 56 years after it was completed by an earthquake, the remains buried, then looted from the sea in years since. The Colossus remains taken most likely by – not Vikings – but Arab conquerors around 650 BC. The Vikings did actually make it to Rhodes from Sweden, though not until the early 11 century.
You can see more of Rhodes in my gallery here.