Yep. Its holiday time again.
This time our destination is Greece; Beginning with the historic and recently popular island of Rhodes (Or Rodos to the locals). Also worth noting before the tale begins in earnest is that the woman and I were not alone this time. The woman's mother, sister in law and her 2 young children were coming along. Of course, I wanted nothing to do with them whatsoever and they were left mostly to their own devices, while I marched on in my typically adventurous and devilishly handsome way, towards more interesting things.
They seemed content to wallow like slowly cooking whale steaks on the beach off by the pool. I never understood the appeal of taking a holiday to a foreign country simply to sit your ass down in a deck chair or whatever and do NOTHING the entire time. You can be a lazy fat ass on your own time in your own country...
But I digress; We jumped on a painfully early and uncomfortable plane flight, serenaded the entire way by a howling banshee disguised as a screaming child 2 seats down from us. I was privately amused when we touched down in Rhodes that the plane taxied off the runway and then all the way up to the front door of the small airport, parking itself outside so we could walk down the stairs and right into the foyer. Also it seems that at some stage during, or just after, some kind of drunken loon had gone ahead and shit himself. He was standing at the baggage claim conveyor belt with shit stained pants like it “aint no thang”, paying no mind to his unfortunate situation or the giant ring of people that formed around him as he moved through the crowds as though there was an invisible barrier shoving everyone aside.
I think next time I have to navigated a crowded space in the heat of summer im going to save myself the stress and simply shit my pants.
After that, we made our way into the capital of Rhodes island, the aptly named “Rhodes town”. Rhodes is an amazing island that has been inhabited since fuck knows when, by all manner of people from Greeks to Turks to Venetians to templar knights and all of them have built onto of and around one another throughout history. Rhodes town itself sports allegedly the largest and best preserved, walled medieval city in the world. After setting my eyes on the gigantic stone fortress that comprises the “old town”, I cant disagree.
The place is imposing, old and mighty. The entire old town is ringed by a towering, gargantuan stone military double wall. Over 4 kilometres long and easily 5 stories high, the huge walls are 12 meters thick and are replete with every manner of medieval siege defence you could imagine including, but not limited to a massive (now dry) moat that rings the place in-between the outer and inner defence walls that is 21 meters across and deep as shit.
Back in the day - nobody was getting into this town uninvited.
But again, I ramble. We arrived at our hotel, just near the beach and about 500 meters away from the outer walls of old town. It was picked partly for location, partly for cost..... But mostly for its name...
There was a pretty cool view over the newer part of Rhodes town from our room on the top floor, also.
Our bathroom was also far from clean. The shower head was broken and the walls were all covered with a mysterious white stain. It was awesome.
You also aren’t allowed to flush your toilet paper in Greece. The old pipes simply cant handle the paper – So you have to jam your shit covered papers into a little bin next to your toilet to sit there in the 30C heat and ferment for the rest of the day and night. YEAH!
We spent only a small time marvelling at the modern bathroom features before we got our shit together and headed out to explore. It was just about midday and fucking scorching hot. Coming from Finland, where it had been between 4 and 15C for the last month or 2, to here where it is fucking 37C is one hell of a change. We meandered out in the direction of the old town, but found ourselves distracted by quite a few things on the way. The problem with Greece is that you literally trip over the fucking history. You turn a corner and there is yet another unknown pile of ancient rubble that they haven’t gotten around to categorising yet. Yet another half ruined Greek monument or medieval building in horrific disrepair.
We passed by a really cool Arabic cemetery from a very long time ago and at this point im going to talk about the one thing Greece has in spaces. Kittys!
Fluffy, cute, mangy, thin, fat, loveable kittys everywhere. Here they simply live on the streets and are allowed to roam free in large, murderous packs. They congregate in the more quiet and shaded places, such as cemeterys and fenced off ruins. Spreading their fat asses across ancient treasures because, fuck you. I took hundreds of pictures of the kittys, which I will omit most of and instead post them in their own thread.
That being said – Lets take a walk towards old town.
We soon arrived at one of the many gates into the old town. This was one of the least interesting gates, but at least it got us inside.
We poked our heads around in the part of town we found ourselves in for a bit and wound up outside the main HQ of the order of the Knights Hospitaller (or evil, evil templars if you prefer). The whole place had been essentially left as is, with a few choice things removed and a few other new things added – essentially using virtually no effort whatsoever, they managed to convert the entire place into a giant museum. There was apparently an entrance fee, but by some stroke of retarded luck we had arrived on some kind of “European international culture day” or something to that effect – and entrance to this and every other archaeological site in Europe was promised free for today! Awesome. In we went.
As you can see. It was full of old stuff which I poked and stepped on where possible. You can see in the last 2 images that we walked into a room full of some old Greek marble sculptures. Let me tell you – 3000 years of lying in the dirt does not do wonders for the facial details. In fact, some of these faces were outright horrifying....
After the horror faces we moved out into the large gardened area.
Security ranged (as I would later discover, the same everywhere in Greece) on a scale from unbelievably lax to totally non existent. Obvious seats and booths for security personnel having been long left abandoned. The person who was supposed to fill them.... Fuck knows where. Greeks, I would soon learn, are very apathetic people. Friendly, loud and lively. They will burst into song and dance without a moments notice – But when it came to things like work, rules and regulations – They ran out of fucks to give about 2000 years ago. This allowed me to perform wondrous acts of trespass and mischief everywhere. Such as sneaking into that forbidden mini-mosque in the last photo.
After that place was absorbed, we wandered out another giant gate, along the harbour and back into an even larger one. I stopped outside to climb on the crumbling battlements and then we went in search of food....
Boy that was a lot of pictures wasn’t it? As you can see I was very easily distracted by a seemingly never-ending supply of archaeological interests, ruins and easily accessed forbidden places to spelunk. I raided more than a few empty, crumbling and condemned buildings and other protected archaeological sites simply because there was nobody in sight to guard them. Nothing was locked and anyone who DID see me hop a fence didn’t bother with so much as a second glance. I was beginning to love Greece.
The markets of the old town of Rhodes were very cool. Full of all manner of stores, from touristy bullshit to whole stores dedicated to selling products made of the wonderful olives of Greece. Restaurants too. Everywhere was restaurants, complete with old Greek men who stood watch outside their respective establishments who would approach you and try to force you (often physically with a forceful hand on your back) into their eatery. More than a few times over my holiday I actually managed to manipulate these hawkers who’s restaurants faced one another from opposite sides of the street into loud, verbal arguments over who's food was better, who’s prices were more honest and who got their produce imported and who didn’t and while playing puppet master to the old men of Greece was something I could have easily dedicated an entire holiday to – I actually WAS hungry.
But not for their food, delicious as it may have been. No there was one specific thing I needed.
For the uninitiated; Gyros is the best thing ever. Its not pronounced Jye-roe-s, like the gyros inside machinery. Its more like “yee-ros” or even “chi-ros” The Greek pronunciation of Gyr is a little impossible to replicate in any meaningful fashion in English, but I should get back to the point. Gyros is something like a rolled kebab, made with soft, warm pita bread. A slap of Greek yoghurt (or even Tzatziki in the more enterprising stores), tomato, red onion, fatty, greasy and oily chicken or pork from a spit and motherfucking french fries on top, all rolled in the pita and seasoned with a complete lack of hygiene practices and the salty sweat of the stall worker.
The grease literally drips out the bottom of the fucker as you eat it. You can feel the fat slithering down your throat and directly into your arteries and you simply don’t give a fuck, because this shit tastes fucking good. Greeks don’t go out for pizza. They don’t grab a burger or fish n chips.... Hell, Not even McDonalds in Greece can turn a profit. Nope – The Greeks eat this stuff.
Look at that beautiful bitch. I’ve had Gyros in Australia and in Italy and both of them are utter and complete shit. Nothing can compare to Greek Gyros in Greece.
I also chose this particular Gyros corner stall because of the oddly familiar logo.... Now where have I seen this charming face before?....
After my innards were sufficiently greased and oiled for the journey to continue, we moved out and I spelunked my way through a few ruins in various states of repair until I came out facing the Palace of the Grand master Hospitaller.
I’m not really sure the pictures truly capture the gravitas of this palace. Generally the keep of a castle like Rhodes is meant to be large and impressive but this thing was military designed. Fuck aesthetics – The only thing the outside of this fort said was “fuck off and don’t come back”.
Here is me standing a good distance away from it like a teapot, just so you can get some sense of the scale.
Entrance was free because of stupid luck history day, so we poked our head inside the gigantic wooden gate and looked around inside.
The inside was designed not to look pretty. Just like the outside, it was designed to be both functional, impregnable and most of all imposing. The walls and ceilings soared needlessly high above you and each door had a double frame so that the entire compound could be locked down, room by room. We also walked by a guided tour and I listened in on what she had to say for a moment and had to leave because I couldn’t contain my laughter. She was a Greek woman and was talking about the things in the palace, but everything was spoken of with an outrageous Greek bias. Everything Greek was emphasized. Sure, it was designed by French templar knights – but did you know that there was a Greek architect on the team. He was obviously very important. Probably he gave the French all the orders. In fact, im sure he taught the French everything they knew.
Did you know Napoleon was secretly Greek? I’m sure of it. Leonardo Da Vinci was probably inspired by a Greek. The Wright brothers? American sure, but one of them possibly knew a Greek at one point.
Outside the keep was a Venetian (Greek inspired) clock tower which I required to climb, due to my hardon for high places. I got half way and found a panicking young German woman who was frozen on the rickety old wooden stairs. She apparently had a fear of heights and for some utterly mindfuckingly retarded reason she thought that climbing to the top of a poorly maintained 1700s clock tower was just what her phobia could do with today.
When it became evident she was unable to move and that I couldn’t squeeze past to simply leave her there to suffer alone, I picked the silly bitch up by wrapping one hand under her armpit, across her breast and the other right in between her legs and roughly carried her stiff form down to the next solid piece of floor like you would a warehouse mannequin, where I dumped her and advised her to crawl down with her eyes closed. She obliged, crawling backwards, mewing like a confused sheep.
It was kinda high..... I guess...
At least the drop was unprotected...
Also while up from the vantage point, I spotted some other badass looking ruins of another keep. It was our next destination.
We wandered through some chapels, Arab style gardens and into the gigantic keep itself, which appeared to be a mostly military instillation. With rooms for barracks and weapons and whatnot. The place was in almost total ruins above ground but we were able to explore down below in the dark, damp tunnels that ran underneath the place and it was really fun. Not quite as awesome as the catacombs of Paris, but still badass. There was also a stunning view that plummeted directly down into the deep, dried up moat, encircling the old town.
Whats this? A barrier tape and guards preventing Cyan from looking over the edge of a perilous drop?
Ok boss, sure. No problem. Ill stay behind the safety line.....
We eventually left the castle and poked around in the general direction of our hotel, intending to go home and freshen up a little before dinner time was upon us.
While my girlfriend was in the shower, I resolved to watch the sun go down from my balcony. It was then that I made the fateful decision to cast my gaze downwards, over the edge of the railing in the direction of the hotel pool....
When I saw it.....
Needless to say, I rushed into the shower in and attempted to clean my eyes with bleach. After a good bleaching, I returned to find my girlfriend looking over the balcony. I presumed she to be gazing into the horror of lord Shub-Niggurath, but no. She was watching intently a little black and white kitty who was standing outside the door of a hotel across the road.
This ass kicking little kitty is the most badass cat ive seen in a long time. He waited outside for a while, before deciding to sneak inside. He made it through the lobby and sniffed around a bit. Its clear his feline nose detected the smell of food from the restaurant upstairs, and he made for the steps, however before he could get there – An angry, overweight, female hotel employee caught him and attempted to shoo him out the door.
He was having none of that, and did not comply to her gesturing and shouting which I could hear faintly from outside, across the street and 6 floors up. Instead, the little bastard just sat the fuck down and was like “what now bitch?”.
It was very difficult to get a picture of the shit that went down because it was so far away and my zoom can only do so much... Not to mention I was laughing to hard to control my hands. The woman began jumping up and down while making wild gestures with her hands, to which the cat paid no heed. Simply flopping down lazily onto his belly in the middle of the foyer in defiance of her.
She clearly did not want to touch the cat, and resorted to clapping her hands aggressively over the cat, which the cat replied to by simply giving her clapping hands a playful bat with his paws. She then attempted to remove the cat (still not wanting to lift it) with her feet. She nudged it a few times with the tip of her shoe and got nowhere, so then she reserved to push the cat violently towards the door with her boot. The cat simply went limp, ignoring her. All she succeed in doing was spinning the flexible kitty around on the spot. Enraged, she prepared for a kick and the cat took notice, deftly rolling out of the way, causing her to slip. The old woman was pure fury at this point and she came at the cat again, the cat made for the door, but then juked hard to the side, skipped under her feet and made for the stairs, pausing to look back at her triumphantly before shooting upstairs. She did not bother to give chase. Then, a few moments later in one of the restaurant windows...
Well played, cat. You magnificent bastard.
After this we headed out for the night, walked around and browsed stores, tried on hats and whathaveyou. Once the time had been passed sufficiently (Greeks eat very late. Never before 9 or 10pm) We wandered into a quaint looking restaurant off to the side of nowhere and ordered dinner. This would turn out to be simply a “good” place to eat.... Average in comparison to future meals, honestly. But at this time, it was the best Greek food I had ever eaten.
In yes another bizzaro stroke of luck, the waiter heard us chatting away in Finnish and summoned his wife who was also a Fin and she talked us through a few of the more interesting sounding dishes. I went full Greek We had the most glorious Tzatziki I had ever encountered. A perfect Greek salad (curiously, Greek salad in Greece is simply tomato, olive, onion and feta. No lettuce, no dressing) with glorious tomatoes that somehow managed to supersede the ones I ate in Italy and unbelievable Greek red onions that are so sweet and glorious that you could bite into one like a fucking apple.
We also ate Saganaki and Mousakka and Baklava and then rolled our now fat asses all the way back to the hotel to collapse into bed. That was one hell of a full day, and it was only the first of 7....