A June 2005 trip
to Rhodes by GB from Devizes
Quote: Rhodes had beckoned for far too long; Helios' Island has so much to offer for the visitor: the medieval splendour of Rhodes Old Town, Lindos Acropolis, Asklepeio, Kameiros, and Prasonissi. Pefkos, on the southeast coast, was chosen as our base from which to explore this wonderful island.
The beach gives way to a busy little town of narrow streets, full of decent restaurants, bars, and tavernas. You won’t be hustled in by a tout here; stroll by at your leisure, and the most to expect will be a polite "kalispera" if you stop to peruse a menu.
The warm waters of the shallow Aegean lap at the shore, where sun-worshippers gather to pay their respects to Helios, the Sun God who laid claim to this place back in the mythological tomes of Greek literature.
It is a relatively quiet, laid-back resort, frequented by the 35- to 60-year age group, who seek the peaceful holiday that could only be dreamt of in other resorts such as Faliraki and Lindos.
The limestone backbone of Rhodes climbs steeply away from the town, its scree-scattered slopes covered in pines, olives trees, and "maquis," the scrubby bushes that are to be found everywhere on this searingly hot island.
Bouzouki music wafts up the hillside from a local’s taverna to where we are staying, a lovely apartment with views to die for. The aroma of charcoal-grilled souvlaki also tempts the senses, as does the distant chinking of glasses and the thought of the ice-cold Mythos that will soon be coursing it’s way down our parched throats. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
We hired a car for 6 days; there are several outfits in the town, all with good, well-maintained vehicles. We can thoroughly recommend Marathon Car Hire along the main road to Lardos. Be prepared to barter on the price. We started at 75€ for 3 days hire of a four-door Hyundai Accent with air-conditioning and nailed the lovely sales girl down to 55€, including full insurance (about £39/). Bikes and mopeds can be hired locally, too.
As with everywhere in Greece, the locals are friendly, honest, and polite, and all have at least a smattering of English. A few words in their own language, however, is always appreciated and warmly applauded, so practise those basic phrases and don’t be afraid to look daft. It’s the accent syllable mark in Greek that is crucial to being understood. Miss that stress and you will leave Andreas scratching his head in bewilderment!
The cabs are huge Mercedes, and these guys don’t hang around. A trip to Lardos (about 5km) cost us 6€. Cabbies in Rhodes will often pull up if you are waiting at a bus stop and ask you if you want to share with the people already inside. You still pay the same fare, i.e. the fare isn’t halved, but it can save a wait.
Buses are reliable, air-conditioned, and comfortable. Fares are absurdly cheap, e.g. Pefkos to Rhodes Town (50km) for 4€. Services are less frequent in the evenings.
The roads are surfaced, and the drivers are in far less of a rush than those on Crete or Kos. There is an 80kph limit here, and it is mostly kept. The police are very alert to speeding and those not wearing seat belts. Most drivers have scant regard for road markings.
Hotel | "Dimitris Apartments"
Although we had booked a "studio", we were delighted to find we had a large bed area with doors onto the patio; a sofa and coffee table; a well-equipped galley-style kitchen with fridge, cooker, electric kettle, and lots of cupboards; and a lovely bathroom complete with shower and bath. All the floors were of a tiled, white marble, which certainly helped to keep the interior cool.
Last year saw the addition of a large swimming pool--very necessary as "Dimitris" is a good 15 minute walk from the beach. The pool is surrounded by a broad, paved area and is equipped with 50 or so comfortable sun-beds and parasols. Adjacent to the pool is a shaded, bar and snack area where soft drinks, beer and simple food such as "gyros", "souvlaki", and Greek salads are available at reasonable prices.
The entire complex has recently been landscaped with huge palms, exotic blooms and wicked-looking cacti, all beautifully cared for, as is the large area of lush, green grass between the pool and the apartments, which is lovingly watered each evening.
There is a maid service each day other than Sunday, and towels are changed every second day. Air-conditioning is available at a rather hefty 7 euros per day, this would be essential in July/August as the temperatures climb. We hired a fan for 10 euros a week (which we sneaked into the room!) from a local shop, and this was sufficient to keep us cool at night. Safety deposit boxes are also available for your passports and money and will cost you 10 euros for the two weeks.
All in all, we couldn’t fault Dimitris and would not hesitate to stay there again if we ever return to Rhodes.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2005
Restaurant | "The Blue Bay Restaurant"
As we were shown to our selected table, a waiter quickly replaced the top tablecloth with a fresh, white starched one and presented us with two menus.
We ordered wine whilst we were making our minds up, and a very quaffable house dry red turned up in a litre jug at a very reasonable 8€. We weren’t overly hungry this evening, so we skipped starters and went straight into the main course.
Caroline opted for a chicken souvlaki, whilst I chose the chicken breast stuffed with cheese and ham. The food arrived quickly and was piping hot, something you can’t always rely on in Greece. Caroline’s souvlaki was enormous, and she was glad that she hadn’t been tempted by a starter. A skewer around a foot long was laden with huge chunks of charcoal-cooked chicken, red and green peppers, onions, and garlic. This was served with the ubiquitous French fries, salad, and bread.
My chicken was also very nicely presented and cooked along with salad, potatoes, vegetables, and tzatziki, a yogurt, cucumber, and garlic dip.
We ate slowly so as not to fill up too quickly, as the portions were very large, but we ploughed on through, aided and abetted by the cool wine, an excellent digestive.
We both cleared our plates, belched, and swore we would never eat again. But we didn’t escape so easily. Baclavas were brought out free of charge, along with an ouzo each, which Caroline detests, so I happily polished her’s off, too.
We were never rushed or asked to vacate our seats, even though the evening had wore on and several people were waiting to sit. The bill, or logarismo, was just 25€ (£18/$34), which, considering the size of the plates and quality of food, was very reasonable. We ate here twice more during our stay and were never disappointed.
Blue Bay Restaurant
This brought us out onto the main road that leads to the town, but about 1km from the centre. The evening was warm, so we walked arm-in-arm along the road in almost complete darkness until, as we turned a corner, an oasis of light appeared about 100 yards in front of us.
We were both ready for dinner, so we decided to climb the 25 or so stone steps up from the road into the Inixis and were glad we did so.
We were greeted warmly, as if we were old customers, by a young waiter who showed us to a table on the balcony with a stunning sea view had it been daytime. Menus appeared, and we were staggered by the low prices. But did this reflect the standard of the food, we wondered?
We ordered a litre of house red at an unbelievable 4,50€, and it was superb, dry and crisp and just the right temperature. We were rather hungry, so starters and mains were ordered, both of us plumping for the taramasolata served with garlic pita bread. Enormous portions duly arrived, and, to be honest, one between us would’ve been ample.
It was delicious and very, very fresh, so we managed to mop it all up between us. The main courses arrived within 3 minutes of finishing the starters. I had the chicken souvlaki and Caroline the stifado, a beef stew with onions and vinegar. Again, portions were huge, and we summoned every ounce of resolve not to leave anything on the plates. The chicken was tender and cooked just right, and Caz’s stifado was the "best she’d ever tasted."
After cramming all of this veritable feast down our throats, we finished the wine and sat back with distended stomachs threatening to snap our belts. The bill arrived – we couldn’t believe it! Two starters, two huge mains, and a litre of wine came to 19€(£13/$24). Like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, we waddled back to the apartment convinced that this had to be the best value in the universe.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2005
Artemis, like most of the restaurants in Pefkos, is situated on the main road through to Lardos, about halfway between the crossroads and the Eclipse Bar. Again, it is alfresco and lavishly decorated with bougainvilleas, hibiscus, and geraniums, all winding their ways around a large gazebo that covers part of the dining area.
The waiters were quick and courteous, and menus were forthcomimg when we’d hardly taken our seats. We decided to share a starter consisting of a Greek salad and local green olives. Both were delicious, but we elected to leave the remainder in the centre of the table to pick at rather than fill up prior to the main courses.
Caz plumped for the black sea bream, which was served whole and cooked just enough to make the fish light and easy to remove from the bone. A dish was provided for the inedible parts, as was a finger bowl and lemon. This was, of course, soon brought to the attention of the house cats, who formed a rather disorderly queue in eager anticipation of any bits of fish that might inadvertently fall to the ground.
I opted for the pork souvlaki, having had fish the previous evening, and it was well cooked enough to literally fall off the skewer with minimum of effort. All this was washed down with a litre of their house dry red.
Caz enjoyed every mouthful of her bream, much to the chagrin of the assembled cats, who were expecting a hearty feast. We relaxed and finished our wine, after which two ouzos appeared without charge as a final digestive.
The bill at Artemis came to a very reasonable 29 euros (£20/$38), and we knew we would be back before the fortnight was up.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 30, 2005
Artemis Garden Restaurant
Main Road to Lardos
Pefkos, Rhodes, Greece
We elected to sit at the bar and ordered two of the local Mythos lager beers, which were served in ice-cold glasses from the freezer. The price was 3€ per beer, a bit pricey compared to most of the other bars, but the music and ambience of the place made up for the expense.
We struck up a conversation with our barman, Olly, a young guy from the UK who failed as a holiday rep but decided to stay on and take life as it came. He was the only Brit here although there was a young lady from San Fransisco who was serving too, apparently she was on a round-the-world tour, got to Rhodes, and decided to stay. Everyone else was local, a collection of decent guys who had time to make us feel welcome and were eager to practise their English.
The bar was certainly busy, with the early evening cocktail crowd who gradually sauntered away after a couple to leave the beer heads at the bar. The "background" music was courtesy of an incredible computerised system with no decks or CD players and was geared towards the adult rock scene with Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger, Richard Marx, Ry Cooder, and Guns ‘n Roses assaulting us aurally at a decibel level that was, in all honesty, a bit too loud to enjoy the drinks and conversation.
The puppies kept us amused, particularly when one young fellow decided to pee all over my camera bag, much to the amusement of all, including myself, who, by now, was on my third beer and feeling no pain at all.
As the evening wore on, the decibel level increased until we reached the point of saying enough was enough. We paid the bill and wandered out into the square, wondering if we would ever regain our sense of hearing.
The Eclipse is a great bar with an entertaining staff and superb music, but unless you have what we call in the UK "cloth ears," don’t stay later than 10pm.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2005
The Eclipse Bar
On Pefkos Main Road
Rhodes, Greece 85107
The bar is aimed very much at the 30-plus age group, with background music that is exactly that; adult-oriented rock of the Steely Dan/Toto/Santana genre that is great to listen to but doesn’t preclude conversation.
The double-width easy chairs were extremely comfortable, and having made ourselves at home, were waited upon by a local girl who took our order of "two large beers" that arrived promptly in frozen glasses so cold that ice was drifting off the bottom of the glasses and floating to the top of the beer. A bowl of assorted nuts was provided free of charge, and we sat and enjoyed the freezing beer as the heat of the day slowly dissipated.
The bill for the two large beers was 5 euros, which we thought was very reasonable.
Jimmy’s also serves a huge range of cocktails with all the trimmings: flags, sparklers, mini-umbrellas, and fruit adorning the concoctions. Nothing is sold by the measure here; they just tip up the bottle and stop pouring when they think there’s enough in the glass, so be prepared for a thick head the following morning. Several beers are on tap, including Heineken, Amstel, and the ubiquitous Mythos, all very acceptable on a hot day.
We stopped by at Jimmy’s most evenings as a first port of call and always found them polite, efficient, and friendly. "Jimmy" made himself known to us during our third or fourth visit, and surprise, surprise--he was actually named Andreas. The lovely waitress that looked after us so well turned out to be his wife, Maria.
Stop by at Jimmy’s for a relaxing drink or two; it’s easygoing and doesn’t get too busy before 10:30pm.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 30, 2005
GB from Devizes
Devizes, United Kingdom