|View of the Lindos Akropolis from hike in the hills above|
After not leaving British Columbia for 3 years due to COVID-19, we've finally returned to Greece, starting again in Rhodes. For the first 11 days, we have been doing a bike trip on 3 islands: Rhodes, Leros (3 nights based in Lakki) and Kos (3 nights based in Mastichari).
FYI: The bike company provided turn-by-turn instructions which we printed out, as well as "gpx" files we could use in mapping apps on our phone (we used OSMand). We found the printed instructions impossible to follow or use while riding. With our phone on a mount (we supplied) on David's handlebars, the gpx files and app saved the day.
After a couple days of riding in familiar places on Rhodes, we took a high-speed catamaran ferry to Leros (our first visit there). Arrival at Agia Marina on Leros was windy but picturesque. Our hotel had a person waiting to pickup our luggage while we rode the 4 km to the town of Lakki (including a steep uphill).
Lakki is an architectural oddity. Built by the Italians when they occupied the Dodecanese islands, the buildings are mostly "Rationalist-Fascist" style, completely different from the rest of Leros (here's a good article on Lakki). It turned out our Hotel also tried to be different... in a minimalist fashion (but it was just fine for us).
|Hotel Bianco in funky Lakki (Leros)|
Not many tourists stay in Lakki, except for yachties, as Lakki has a good harbour, with marinas, calm anchorage and service facilities (indeed, there are many nice and good anchorages around Leros). We sort-of liked Lakki, but after biking around the island, we could see other places are far more attractive to tourists.
|Tea break on Panteli beach (before the big hill)|
Panteli seemed a very nice place (for us tourists)
|Looking down on Panteli (on the way up to the Castle)|
Towering over Panteli (and Agia Marina), is a castle. There is a long set of stairs, but we chose to ride our bikes up the road (tough for Michelle on her regular bike; not so bad on David's e-bike). When we got up there, we found great views and a closed castle (closed for a few hours... we weren't about to wait).
|Stairs down from the castle (looking down at Agia Marina)|
|We rode our bikes up to the castle (which was closed, of course)|
|Looking across from Alinda over to Agia Marina and castle above (Leros)|
Alinda (also called Alinta) is another popular tourist area. It seemed nice, but was very quiet when we were there (closing down for the season).
Alinda was also the first place we "lost" each other. The e-bike can result in David being a bit too far ahead and Michelle missing a turn. We found each other again after 15 or so minutes (M thought more like 30 min), and after some "discussion", we worked out how to ensure that wouldn't happen again....
Off to Kos (via Kalymnos)
Next we were off to Kos. A rough ferry boat ride to Pothia, the main port of Kalymnos, then a rolly claustrophobic packed into a tiny ferry (masks on!) to Mastichari on Kos.
Supposedly we could have done a bike tour on Kalymnos, but we deemed the time too tight. So we rode around for 30 minutes then had lunch. It was Sunday and Pothia was packed (mostly Greeks); up on the hill at a small church there was a big party going on which regularly setoff dynamite (yes, dynamite!). All too loud and crazy to us (after quiet Leros).
Our lovely hotel in Mastichari (Kos)
Fortunately, Mastichari was a lovely seaside resort, without noise (no discos!), and our hotel (and its staff) lovely.
Our first bike ride on Kos took up a long but gentle hill and back down to Kardamena. Kardamena is a very popular tourist beach resort; too popular and tacky for us (we hated it!). After the usual tea break we got out of town, at first riding along the ocean, but then heading uphill. A long sometimes steep uphill. A real workout... for Michelle (hey, even for David). Great views up top, some animals, and a lovely ride back to Mastichari.
|Michelle riding up long hill on Kos|
|Animals along the way|
|A very large and friendly dog in Pyli|
The next day's ride was easier, and almost entirely on small country roads. An oddity was a park in a forest ("Plaka") with dozens of peacocks (and peahens) roaming wild. There was also a cat rescue group with dozens of cats lolling around. The peacocks enjoyed the cat nibble. (FYI: cats are ubiquitous in Greece. Almost all (maybe all) we've seen are in excellent shape and seem well fed. Locals put out feeding stations and water everywhere. Michelle is in cat heaven.)
|Peacocks and cats at Plaka (Kos)|
Did a short detour to the Antimachea castle. Bike directions didn’t make much ado about this castle, so we were quite surprised when we saw how large it once was. Not many tourists seem to visit it, but it was worth it. And great views.
|At the Antimachea castle|
|Antimachea castle was huge! |
|Riding the small roads of Kos|
Soon it was time to head back to Rhodes. We had an easy mostly flat bike ride (36 km) to Kos town, which was busy but seemed quite nice. Then a "milk run" fast catamaran ferry stopping at several islands on the way to Rhodes. Not at all crowded and relatively comfortable.
Back to Rhodes
We spent a lot of time in Rhodes town in 2019; we like it very much and are quite comfortable here. So we added 4 extra days. (We moved hotels to our 2019 favourite: Rhodian Gallery... still great.)
"Discovered" a new favourite restaurant ("At Thomas") in the old town. Actually, a dinner there was included as part of our bike package, and we liked it so much we returned. (Generally, we find places in old town are too touristy and overpriced, At Thomas was neither.)
|"At Thomas": a favourite restaurant (in Rhodes Old Town)|
Of course, we also went to our 2019 favourite restaurant: "The Tall Guy" (in New Town), which contines to be excellent.
Went for a long walk along the west coast beaches and back through town streets on the east side. Also went for a couple of swims at Elli Beach (water still warm, about 23°C).
|Walk along west side/coast of Rhodes Town|
As we did in 2019, we took a bus to just before Lindos (Vlicha), and hiked the hills behind Lindos down to Lindos. We were pretty tired at the end, so hopped on a slow bus (another milk run...) back to Rhodes Town instead of visiting touristy Lindos.
|Sadly, we had no apples (hiking from Vlicha to Lindos, Rhodes)|
|Hiking the hills above Lindos (Akropolis in the distance) |
Greece is proving it deserves its place as one of our favourites!Next stop: Syros