Last Sunday I traveled from Turkey to the Greek Islands of Kos and Rodos (Rhodes) en route to Santorini. Both are part of the Dodecanese Islands near the Gulf of Gökova. There’s a decided difference between Turkey and Greece – at this point it’s difficult to describe in words. I had a six-hour layover in Kos before catching a connecting ferry to Rodos.
It was a beautiful day and Greek families were enjoying picnics in the parks and Sunday brunch at cafes. I walked around most of the day and took photos. There were a few cars on the streets but mostly bicycles. These are some photos from Kos and the ferry ride to Rodos.
Kos is three miles by sea from Bodrum and was founded in 366 BC. Kos Town is the main city. The island is known for its wine and silk production and colorful ancient history. Kos participated in the War of Troy. It was colonized by the Carians and in 11th century BC invaded by the Dorians. “The Venetians captured Kos in 1315 and sold it to the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes. Two hundred years later the Knights left the island to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans ruled for 400 years before transferring Kos to Italy in 1912.”
“During World War II the Axis powers took over Kos and Italian troops occupied it until their surrender in 1943. Later, British and German forces clashed for control of the island in the Battle of Kos, where the Germans were victorious. German troops occupied Kos until 1945 when it became a protectorate of the United Kingdom, who ceded it to Greece in 1947.”
On the way to Rodos we stopped at Symi Island. The beautiful port has a clock tower and houses built on the hillside in “dramatic natural amphitheatre style”. The neo-classical grand old structures were once the homes of sponge trading merchants.
Another island with a layout similar to Symi is Kalymnos with its beautiful Port of Pothia. Houses in Kalymnos have Italianate architecture with pastel-washed exteriors – a gorgeous backdrop to the blue Aegean Sea. Photos don’t begin to do these islands justice. Tilos and Halki are two of many smaller islands between Kos and Rodos.
By the time the ferry arrived in Rodos I was seasick – the sea was rough with a storm in the works for Monday. Unfortunately, I had no time to explore Rodos before my ferry for Santorini departed at 4 pm. Just getting stable enough to make the ferry for Santorini was all I could do – not pleasant. Rhodes is about 541 sq. miles and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s famous for the Colossus of Rhodes – a statue of the Greek Titan Helios – considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The medieval Old Town of Rhodes is a World Heritage Site. The ferry ride from Rodos to Santorini lasted a long nine hours on stormy seas. We arrived in Santorini at 1:00 am on Tuesday (I think). I was dizzy and seasick, so will take a day or two to recover before exploring. I’ll be in Santorini for a week and then fly to Athens – no more ferries for a while. More later…