We decided to brave the heat on a trip to Lindos, a place we had heard much about, opting to take the bus in as being higher up you can see much more. This was quite an experience, zig-zagging up narrow mountain roads with hairpin bends where it often seemed certain the bus would hit a wall or outcrop of rock. But the driver had driven this route many times and knew how to navigate obstacles.
We were dropped at the bus terminus above Lindos, and as we hadn’t heard of the shuttle bus (50 cents to take you up or down the hill), we wandered down the uneven surface into the town. Somewhat hair-raising as the road is narrow and twisty with no pavement and traffic zooms past at a rate of knots making us cower into the side, almost choking us with fumes hovering in the hot, still air.
We noted the taxi rank about half way down for future use, only to discover there were also taxis available in the main square that heaved with traffic. The heat was intense. We were later told that Lindos, set in a bowl in the landscape, is the warmest place in Rhodes, often up to eight degrees hotter than nearby Pefkos which is more open.
The buildings of the old town cling like white limpets to the ecru rock. Narrow paved streets, often shaded by bird’s wing canopies, are lined with shops selling colourful items of clothing and jewellery, although many seemed to sell the same goods.
Here, out of the glare of the sun, it was slightly cooler, but the respite was brief and soon we were out in the open again on a path headed down towards the beach. The sun beat down, reflecting off the pristine white walls of houses, sapping energy.
For an old town that we understood allowed no traffic within its confines, we soon learned to jump into doorways and flatten ourselves against walls to allow small four wheeled trucks to hurtle by, or motor scooters with large trailers, or Lindos taxis – donkeys taking self-conscious looking visitors up to the acropolis.
No way anyone would get me on one of these, and far too hot to make the climb, so we settled for viewing the ruins from afar. But we watched where we placed our feet as donkeys leave calling cards though a guy does wander around with a broom and deep scoop-like shovel.
Despite being a conservation area, wires for electricity and telephone, often bandaged with ragged tape, twist and weave around buildings and across streets at not much above head height, adding unnecessary clutter to photographs. I gave up eventually, accepting this as part of the Greek landscape, just like the heap of earth and rubble beneath the pine trees onto which our hotel balcony looked. Or the untidy derelict sites, overgrown with weeds cheek-by-jowl with upmarket mansions boasting pristine white walls and immaculate gardens, protected by security gates.
A seat in the shade of a tree overlooking the bay provided a welcome stopping place while we swigged water, took photographs and watched the antics of those swimming and playing games in the shallow enamelled blue waters of this natural harbour.
For those who like beach experiences, the golden sand looked clean, though the cheek-by-jowl umbrellas testified to the number of visitors making the long, hot trek from hotels at the top of the hill, or driving to an adjacent car parking area (more fumes).
The heat didn’t lessen, nor did the strong smell of something very like sewage that bedevilled the area of our seat, so we made our way back through the streets of shops and rooftop restaurants, gearing up for the evening’s action (dinner whilst watching the sun go down is high on most visitors’ lists of attractions), to the square where we sat and ate an ice cream.
We watched a trader weigh melons and watermelons with a Heath Robinson set of scales hanging from a long metal pole protruding from the back of his pickup, and debated whether to take the shuttle bus back up the hill to catch our bus to Pefkos. The heat won and we staggered a few metres to a nearby taxi, to slump into its sleek black air-conditioned interior while (for nine euros) it whisked us back to our hotel and a long cool drink.