Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Rhodes Less Traveled

Escapade 3: The Isle of Rhodes
Our first Greek Isle, Rhodes was a maze of windy cobblestone streets completely surrounded by massive grey walls. Vendors sold Fay Bans sunglasses and Prado bags from stores built into the city walls while the Palace of the Grand Master castle loomed above. Navigating by street map whose "English" translations seemed as foreign as the Greek counterparts, we came upon the fairy-tale fortress from whose towers you expect a long blonde braid to fall.

We took a lilliputian-sized doorway to escape the bustle of other tourists to find ourselves in the castle moat. While improvising new words to the SNL hit "I'm on a boat mother..." into "I'm in a moat mother...", we posed for pictures atop ancient catapult ammunition. Follies at the fortress complete, we headed back into the city to find a site of more cultural relevance.

In 1944, the Nazi Gestappo rounded up the Rhodes' nearly 2,000 Jews and sent them to extermination camps throughout Europe. Only 160 of them survived. Acknowledging the atrocity that befell its citizens, Rhodes erected a monument to its murdered citizens. A somber note in our otherwise whimsical Rhodes experience, the memorial held great cultural significance for the two girls of Jewish descent in our group.

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