Forget work hard, play hard, one of the things about Contiki is that everything is play hard! And I had promised myself that if I was going to play hard at night, I had to get up the next day and experience everything I possibly could.
Our second day of cruising found us pulling up to the most beautiful island in the Aegean, Rhodes. The island has over 300 days of sunshine a year and the tanned skin of the locals is testament to this! Quite a few of us had booked in to do a Medieval Tour of Rhodes, including the Acropolis of Lindos and the Citadel of the Knights, but more than a few people missed the 7am departure.
Nothing like a morning walk in the blazing sun to get you psyched for the day!
The Acropolis is built on the highest point of the island but not all of it is accessible by coach, so we walked up and up and up. Thankfully there was a lot to see on the way.
Unfortunately for the lace merchants, no one really seemed to be in the mood for shopping. Despite the early hour, it was also incredibly crowded so no one was too keen to stop and hold other people up.
The view from the top was definitely worthwhile though.
And just when we thought we’d reached the top, we found some more stairs. Thankfully they provided a great photo op.
And a view of the other side.
Aaaand some more touristy photos.
The next stop was the Citadel of the Knights, which was right in the heart of the Old Town. We hopped back on the bus and soon saw the landscape changing from very dry to very lush. The Old Town is surrounded by a (now disused) high stone wall, in order to protect the inhabitants. Once upon a time, there was a moat on the outside of the wall to enhance the city’s protection.
The inside of the walls look almost untouched. In fact, if you live in the Old Town, it is very difficult to change the front of your house. Even air conditioning vents must not face the street and don’t even think about TV antennas which are visibile from the street. The effect is almost like being transported back in time.
The same rules apply to the Citadel.
Very different rules apply to the trees though.
After a morning full of walking and history, we made a beeline back to the ship to grab our bathers and towels. The beaches on Rhodes are famous for their luxury and it’s not hard to see why.
Once you’ve found yourself a spare sun lounge and paid the very enthusiastic monitor, there’s not a lot to stop you spending the rest of the day sunning yourself in bliss.
Check out those umbrellas!
Rows upon rows of these umbrellas and deck lounges populate the beach and the music is akin to a club, although I found it rather relaxing. It was a very different experience to any Aussie beach, and there’s something to be said for people bringing you food and drink without you needing to move!
The water off Rhodes is surprisingly flat. Gorgeously bronzed locals and tourists mingle in the water, playing badminton or throwing balls and generally showing off their expertly toned physiques. This was all very entertaining to watch, but something else had caught my eye: a 6m diving platform located just off shore.
Locals and tourists alike crowded at the top to see who was brave enough to jump. These girls were with us and I’m proud to say they made it!
There was something simultaneously terrifying and thrilling about throwing yourself off this platform, and I did it until I was worried I wouldn’t have the strength to make it back to shore! It was obvious who the locals were, they were the ones doing somersaults or hanging off the edges!