Sydney-Tianjin-Bangkok-Turkey-Greek Islands-Norway by cruiseship, flights and ferries.

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woodyren

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We had a 9 hour layover at Istanbul airport before our flight to Dalaman which allowed us to have a quick trip into the city by metro and tram. Quite a large transport system but easy enough to navigate with the provided maps.


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The tram delivered us directly to a station right beside Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

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woodyren

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A quick walk to the Grand Bazar. Stopped on the way for a Pide which from memory was 6 Turkish Lira or about $2 AUD. Spent an our or so inside and Mrs woodyren purchased some knock off junk and then we returned on the Metro/tram to the airport.


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Our Turkish Airlines Y revenue flight left on time for the short 1 hour flight to Dalaman. Surprisingly they had time to serve us a light meal of what was a reasonably tasty cheese and tomato toasted roll and drinks. Flight went well until we wee almost ready to touch down when the pilot for a still unknown reason powered up and took off again. Climbed for about 5-10 minutes and then landed safely but in the opposite direction to our first attempt. No announcement made but plenty of pax looking around with slightly worried looks.

I used a transfer booking website Hoppa.com for our approx. 1 hour transfer from the airport to our Hotel in Calis Beach near Fethiye. First time I have used them and they were FAR less expensive than other prices I checked. It was booked as a shared van with up to 4 stops allowed. Worked out to be less than $25 AUD for both of us. Easy instructions on where to meet the driver etc. Driver was waiting as scheduled and we ended up with a shared car with 1 other person. I have booked another transfer in Santorini with them.

TBC
 
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woodyren

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Arrived at our Turkish hotel. Jiva Beach hotel Calis Beach which is near Fethiye. Booked the hotel with Booking.com. It offers an all inclusive rate and food and drinks are available in some form or other 24/7 from what we observed. Cost for 5 nights was 614 Euros which was sensational value. After we booked I found a cheaper price on an obscure Hong Kong travel site. I called Booking.com for a price match and they promptly replied with a claim number and a promise to reimburse 218 Euros to me when I send them a copy of my hotel bill after our stay.

We had booked a pool view room but were upgraded to a swim up room two bedroom family room at the rear of the hotel.

The hotel is built around a large pond. It is full of fish, ducks and there are plenty of frogs croaking at dusk each night. Quite a picturesque setting.
Surprisingly there were no mozzies at night.
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The resort buffet restaurant.
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Swim up pool rooms.
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Our swim up section at the rear.
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Main pool area.


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The is a beach sectioned off for the resort guests directly across a rarely used road in front of the resort with a bar and chairs/umbrellas. Black sand and pebbles but the water is very clear and was reasonably warm.

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snabbu

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Super interesting trip report with great pictures and excellent concise writing, keep it up woodyren.
 

craven morehead

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Arrived at our Turkish hotel. Jiva Beach hotel Calis Beach which is near Fethiye. Booked the hotel with Booking.com. It offers an all inclusive rate and food and drinks are available in some form or other 24/7 from what we observed. Cost for 5 nights was 614 Euros which was sensational value. After we booked I found a cheaper price on an obscure Hong Kong travel site. I called Booking.com for a price match and they promptly replied with a claim number and a promise to reimburse 218 Euros to me when I send them a copy of my hotel bill after our stay.

We had booked a pool view room but were upgraded to a swim up room two bedroom family room at the rear of the hotel.

The hotel is built around a large pond. It is full of fish, ducks and there are plenty of frogs croaking at dusk each night. Quite a picturesque setting.
Surprisingly there were no mozzies at night.
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The resort buffet restaurant.
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Swim up pool rooms.
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Our swim up section at the rear.
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Main pool area.


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The is a beach sectioned off for the resort guests directly across a rarely used road in front of the resort with a bar and chairs/umbrellas. Black sand and pebbles but the water is very clear and was reasonably warm.

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Accommodation looks very good for the price.
 

woodyren

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Received an email from Booking.com yesterday. It was in response to my price match enquiry with the Jiva Beach Hotel I booked through Booking.com

As a couple who's travel is limited by budget not available time, but who also really enjoy our little bit of luxury (well what we deem luxury) we really try to scrape very little saving we can within reason for our travel $$.

"
The refund of AUD 322.61 / EUR 208.12 for your reservation 1777888500 at Jiva Beach Resort - All Inclusive is confirmed.

Within 3 days you'll receive a separate email from [email protected] with a secure link. This link will take you to a Booking.com page, where you can enter your Visa or MasterCard details directly into our secure system. After entering your credit card details, the refund will be credited to your account within 5 business days. "

This brought the total cost of our 5 nights at the hotel down to just over EUR 400 which for a great hotel with 24 hour food and drinks is up there with our best holiday value ever.

OK on with the report.

Jiva Beach hotel is situated in Calis Beach. It is surrounded by other apartment type hotels but also with a lot of smaller hotels, beach bars and restaurants etc than line the beach front and the surrounding streets for a few klms towards the main area of Calis Town. Most over the area is still quite underdeveloped and has a very relaxed atmosphere along with value pricing of food and drinks etc.

The Calis Beach promenade. About a 30 minute stroll into the centre of Calis town.

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Beach is lined with small hotels, bars and places to eat. All reasonably priced.
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Local hotel in Calis.

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Calis markets. Mostly knock off stuff with a good collection of food and vegies/fruit/nuts etc.

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From Calis you can catch a water taxi into the larger town of Fethiye. Water taxi is 7 Turkish Lira which is about $2. There are also the local Dolmus (small mini buses) that run every 5 to 10 minutes and cost 2 Lira. Great way to get around and met quite a few British people who stay regularly or even live in the area on the Dolmus who gave us some great advice on what to see and do.

We specifically went to Fethiye on our first day at Jiva Beach as we needed to organise our ferry to Rhodes for the next leg of our trip.

Calis to Fethiye water taxi rank.
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Fethiye is built around the harbour. A lot of sailing and motor yachts mostly involved in the tourist industry with day trips to the surrounding area.

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Streets of Fethiye which we walked also have a lot of hotels, bars, restaurants along with plenty of shopping (Mrs woodyren said it was OK) while I had a few local ales.

Fethiye area close to the port/marina area.
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Walked around Fethiye for a few hours and then caught the Dolmus back to our hotel.

TBC
 

woodyren

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Jiva Beach Hotel.

As stated it is all inclusive. Most of those staying at the Hotel are British, German or Russian. Many seem intent on lying in the sun and burning themselves to a crisp LOL. Generally all those we had a chance to chat to were friendly and all spoke highly of the hotel.

Main eating area is the buffet which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Great selection of Middle Eastern as well as European food.

Always a great cheese selection along with olives, dried tomatoes, stuffed peppers etc which went down with the unlimited local wine.
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Large variety of fruit and every evening huge bowls of some of the sweetest strawberries I have eaten. Great watermelon as well.
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Pasta section.
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Deserts selection was huge and very well prepared.
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There was also grill section which offered a whole grilled fish, grilled meats etc of a different variety every night.

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As an aside no pork was served in Jiva Beach hotel but many of the local beachfront restaurants served bacon at breakfast and pork chops etc were on the menu. Seems to be it is just up to the business owner.

TBC
 

woodyren

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Drinks are also part of the all inclusive at the Jiva Beach Hotel. There are 5 or 6 bars open (well they were open whenever we were awake) most of the time. You receive a wrist band if you have the all inclusive package and this allows you unlimited alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, tea, coffee etc.

The alcoholic drinks available are Efes beer, a house red, white and rose, most popular spirits as long as it is the well brands and a choice of coughtails from a reasonable list of about 12 choices. There are also about 8 mocktails on offer. The bar staff will also attempt to make other drinks as long as their ingredients are on the AI list.

We found that the drinks on offer more than met our needs. The coughtails while not top notch were adequate, Efes beer was fine and the house wines were the same.

One small gripe was the coffees were only made with an auto machine and they were not very good. Sort of like the machines you get in cheaper USA hotels with the free breakfasts.

Mrs woodyren with a house Rose and eating one of the whole fresh grilled fish that were available everyday in the buffet.

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Local Efes beer.

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Mrs woodyren with a Blue Lagoon. She isn't much of a drinker but enjoyed trying out a few of the coughtails.

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My usual Efes with another fresh grilled fish.

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Local tea.

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They had a Raki night on one of the nights of our stay. Our waiter in the area of the buffet where we usually sat kept bringing them to my table for me. Despite the unlimited booze this was the only night I certainly over indulged.
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More Raki. Sat there for quite a while just nibbling on cheese and other goodies while washing it down with Raki shots.

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Grilled meats and house red.

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Overall as I have said before and excellent value package, particularly for those who are not too picky with their spirits and wine selections.

TBC
 

woodyren

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First few days of our five night stay in the Jiva Beach Hotel were spent relaxing and taking in the local area. We booked a day trip to Pamukkele with one of the local tour vendors along the beach strip. Cost was EUR 25 which included entrance fee (but this was over a week ago and I am bot sure if this was the caost. Picked up at 6.30 am at our hotel I a small van and transferred to Fethiye where we joined a bus for the three and a half hour drive to Pamukkele.

Included in the tour was a simple Turkish breakfast about an hour into the bus trip at this local restaurant.

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Food consisted of cheeses, tomato, olives, bread, jams, cucumber etc. Basic but it was fine for us.

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An elderly Turkish woman was making what looked like Gozleme. Not available on our budget breakfast. She had the production line down pat. Cooking one while rolling another.

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The site at Pamukkele really consists of three major points of interest. The name Pamukkele translates into Cotton Castle and is most famous for it's white cliffs and pools formed by carbonite mineral in the water flowing from the springs. Because of the beauty of the site the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white "castle". There are many ruins of what would have been quite a large city still in place including a large theatre.

The third attraction is a large spring fed pool which legend (or a story made up by tourist operators) says was visited by Cleopatra which for obvious reasons is know as the "Cleopatra Pool.

The area is quite large but also reasonably crowded.

We decided to check out the ruins first while most of the other busloads of tourist headed for the cliffs and pools.

Entrance to the old city.

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Theatre in the back ground.

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Information about the theatre.

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Spent about an hour walking the full site.
 

woodyren

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The second point of interest at the Pamukkele site is the Cleopatra Pool. There is an additional EUR 8 entry fee to swim in the pool. We didn't take a swim. Made for some nice photos though.

There are collapsed columns from the original building that housed the pool that have fallen into the pool. The building collapsed during an earthquake.
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woodyren

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Obviously the main attraction at Pamukkele are the stunning white cliff faces and the mineral pools. Most of the area is now cordoned off from walking and swimming to preserve the rocks and pools. There is access to 4-5 pools for swimming. You need to remove your footwear and walk on the white rock in bare feet.

The white rock is not at all slippery but the bottom of pools are coated in a greenish slimy substance which also covers some of the rocks nearby. This is extremely slippery and I observed a number of people slipping and falling.

Although crowded the place was still stunning.

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I took a dip in one of the pools.

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An excellent day out all in all despite the over 7 hours of bus travel it took to get there and back.
 

woodyren

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The next day while Mrs woodyren relaxed at the hotel I took the local dolmus to the town of Oludeniz to check out what are reported to be the best beaches in the region. Nice town with a lot of beachside accommodation, bars and restaurants. Long stretch of pebbly/sandy beach and a sheltered lagoon known as the Blue Lagoon which sits inside a national park area. Admission to the park was 5 TRY from memory.

Water was crystal clear and dep blue. As usual for the area the best locations were taken up by deck chairs and umbrellas which either have to be rented. Growing up on the beaches of Wollongong gives me a natural aversion to paying to sit on a beach so as usual I declined a chair and found a quiet location for a quick dip.

Main beachfront at Oludeniz. Fence is the start of the national park where there is an admission fee. Large numbers of para gliders take off from the nearby mount and glide above the beach.

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Once inside the park this is the main beachfront heading toward the Blue Lagoon. Plenty of room to just sit on the beach and take a swim.

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Toward the entrance to the Blue Lagoon inside the park.

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Entrance to the Blue Lagoon.

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Inside the Blue Lagoon.

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Beachfront walk at Oludeniz.

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Local dolmus (mini van bus) stop.

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woodyren

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The all inclusive package at the Jiva Beach Hotel includes on meal at a choice of one of the hotel's three specialty restaurants. We chose the Bubon which sits in the middle of the resort lagoon and features an Asian inspired menu. I believe you can pay an upcharge of EUR 10 per person to dine at these.

The other two options were Turkish/Middle Eastern or Mediterranean fare.

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Menu. Apparently the " claifornia" roll must be a local version.

You could request as much of the menu as you wished.

We chose the Sushi (quite good). The Ebi and Kani salads (very good). I had the Crabmeat Samosa(Quite good) and Mrs woodyren had the dumplings (She requested seconds). I had the Teriyaki Beef (excellent) Mrs woodyren had the duck (Disappointing so she went for a third helping of dumplings). I also polished off two deserts. The Tempura Banana and the Fried Ice Cream.

All in all a very nice meal in a lovely setting watching the sunset.


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Sushi

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Salads. The all inclusive house wine was perfectly acceptable.

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Dumpling X 3 and Samosas.
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Duck and beef. Duck dry. Beef great.


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Deserts. One each but I was forced to eat both...well not really forced. Couldn't let them go to waste could I.

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An excellent night in a lovely setting.

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woodyren

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Turned out to be fantastic 5 days at Jiva Beach Hotel. The all inclusive worked fine and as long as you are happy with the well spirits, house wine and Efes draft beer it really works out to be a great value option as well (and believe me the woodyren's are value travellers). I cant recommend the place highly enough and we WILL return.

Apart from the food and drinks there was also a nightly show in the amphitheatre or poolside.

Day 1 was an very good Turkish rock band. I had my first beer in the resort as I listened to them playing a great cover of the Doors "Riders on the Storm".

Other acts included a Turkish dance troupe.

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Cuban acrobats.

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I could identify well with the strong man in the Cuban troupe who's body shape resembled mine after 31 days on a cruise ship and 5 days in an all inclusive resort.
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Turkey, or at least the part we visited, was a safe and moderate place to travel to.

Something I forget to mention was that on the day I visited the Blue Lagoon our Dolmus was pulled over for a security check. All the locals were getting out their identity cards and I had NO ID on me at all, just some Lira and so I was in a slight panic as they headed towards my seat. I asked one of the locals what to do. He spoke very good English and he said "dont worry. It's what needs to be done to make sure things are safe". I told him that I understood the need for security and again asked him what I would do with no ID. He again just told me not to worry, spoke to the security police in Turkish and they just ignored me. Strange.

Time to move on to Rhodes. It is only a short 90 minute trip across from Fethiye but the only easy option is to catch the one boat that operates daily. It's mostly used by day trippers going over for the day. Leaves early in the morning returning that afternoon. Cost was 45 Euro one way 50 Euro return.

Ferry is a 60 year old Russian built hydrofoil. Had to go through immigration at the departure wharf. I had and E-visa which I had used to enter Turkey and they had on their system obviously linked to the passport number. Mrs woodyren presented her passport at the immigration desk and they let her through quickly. I did the same and the guy said he had no record of a visa. I had printed a paper copy but when it was not needed at entry I assumed it was all electronic and almost threw the paper one away. In fact I had taken it out of our document pouch and just left it in my back pack. Anyway I managed to locate it and showed it to him, get my passport stamped and board the ferry.

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We sat at the pointy end lol.

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Ferry in Rhodes harbour.

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TBC

We are about to board Radiance of the Seas for our Arctic Circle cruise. Reports will be intermittent till we return to China as I refuse to pay exorbitant internet fees on cruises and only use the free loyalty days I get.

Already a few weeks behind.
 

woodyren

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Recently returned from or cruise to the Arctic Circle and now reconnected to the WWW so the report continues.

Day 56-59 Rhodes Greece.

Our hotel was situated inside the city walls in Rhodes Old Town. It was situated in Pythagoras Street. What would have been a reasonably short walk from the ship if we had walked straight tuned into a much longer walk dragging our luggage as we got a little lost and took a triangular route.

For some unknown reason I neglected to take any photos of the Hotel. The Old Town Senses hotel. It was a neat clean and reasonably priced hotel and all the Old Town and surrounding areas were within walking distance. It was a recently built small 6 room hotel.

The area around our hotel.

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Dropped off our bags and a little hungry so made a short dash down this lane above to get two Gyros, an iced coffee and a beer for about 10 Euro from memory.

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woodyren

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The rest of the first day and in fact all of our three days in Rhodes were spent walking the Old Town eating and relaxing. On each day there were at least one cruise ship in port. The main section of the town gets quite crowded and a little hectic as the touts outside of stores and restaurants hustle for business. After 3 or 4 pm the place quietens down a lot and is more relaxed. We also visited before peak season which was a better time as the weather was milder and a lot less people around from what we were told.

The area around Rhodes harbour

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woodyren

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We had planned to do some touring around the island while on Rhodes but we enjoyed just walking the maze of narrow lanes of the old town, relaxing with a drink in an out of the way taverna and eating the local food so much we spent our time all within maybe a 4 klms or so radius from our hotel.

As I touched on before, and this is from a couple who love their cruising, the cruise ports of the Greek Islands become a little overrun while the ships are in so we tended to just sleep late and relax in the hotel then venture out for the day late morning. I wouldn't recommend visiting the Greek Islands on a cruise ship for the sole purpose of seeing the Islands.

The fortifications of Rhodes are still very intact. Walls, moats and the magnificent Citadel towering over them.

The entrance gate we took from the port to our hotel.
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The Citadel.

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woodyren

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Lot of great eating a drinking venues but spoiled a little by the touts chasing you with menus in the more popular locations. Most were very uncrowded of an evening. Prices were reasonable and fitted the woodyren's limited travel budget.

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Lunchtime when the ships are in.
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