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Pole to Pole

Day 48: Rhodes

Rhodes, Greece 
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The Island of Rhodes: Yorkshire hospitality in Lindos.
Michael Palin - Pole to PoleOne of the most handsome thoroughfares in Rhodes is the Street of the Knights. It's said to be the oldest street in Greece, following a line originally laid out in the fifth century BC. A collection of fine medieval stone fašades rises up the hill, testimony to the great wealth accrued by the mysterious order of the Knights of St John, despite being sworn to poverty and chastity. The story, which Vangelis relishes, is that they infiltrated the island disguised as sheep. Though there were never more than 400 knights (if they wanted soldiers they employed mercenaries) they held the island until 1522. The Order, which took refuge in Malta, remains in existence to this day. It has close links with the Vatican and still owns properties on the oldest street in Greece.

Back in his apartment which is paved with slate slabs from Northern Greece, Vangelis kicks off his shoes and shows me some of the drawings for his history of medieval Rhodes. There is a lot of humour in the work - one knight encased in heavy armour is relieving himself through a large household tap. The apartment has many other delights, including a very old box camera which Vangelis inherited from his uncle's father, who used to say the Lord's Prayer to determine the length of the exposure. For lunch we eat pizza on his balcony which looks out towards a beach solid with holidaymakers. A thousand pink bodies propel a thousand red pedaloes slowly across the bay. Vangelis says many of his old neighbourhood friends have been driven away by the remorselessly increasing crowds of visitors, and he himself is away to Crete tomorrow for two weeks' peace on a sailing boat.
Rhodes, Greece 
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The Island of Rhodes: street walking with Vangelis in Rhodes Town.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 48
  • Country/sea: Greece
  • Place: Rhodes
  • Book page no: 106

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