Monday, August 27, 2012

Douze Points pour la Grèce

Time certainly does fly when you're having fun!

And fun, fun, fun it was when we spent the last week on the beautiful island of Rhodes in Greece. Neither of us have ever been to Greece before, so there's that extra element added to the excitement of going there (as well as attending the wedding of a couple of our friends which was most definitely the highlight of the week). Okay it may not be mainland Greece, just one of its numerous islands lying along the Aegean sea (albeit one of the bigger ones) but from what I've heard, it is as Grecian as you'll ever get (just less hectic).

The island of Rhodes is known for its beautiful beaches, majestic sceneries, antiquities, history, and gracious people. And of course, sun and heat....lots of it in the summer. And I've found all of the above to be true, and so much more. It is not known for gardens though, primarily as the island gets so arid during the summer (arid beds then I hear?) but some special plants have made their way, here and there on the island amongst the quaint garden shops, hotel plantings, private residences, etc. But apart from that, everything else more than makes up for it!

As we recalibrate ourselves to going back to our usual routines (and sorting out the holiday washing), here's just a selection of photos to serve as snippets of the time we spent in Rhodes.

The beautiful Aegean sea in the horizon. Just look at the gradient of blue!
Olives....and more olives.
The Acropolis in Lindos
And it wouldn't be Greece without its ruins. The Acropolis in Lindos

It was 41C when we were up there.
And the view from up there...

And it won't be Greece without the donkeys...
And because you have to!!
From one ruin to another, this one is more recent, and Italian building destroyed during WW2. If these walls could talk...
Agave! Agave macroacantha
If it gets too hot, you can always cool down with water. This is a more unconventional way, walking through the aqueduct of 'Epta Piges'. Not for claustrophobe, it is very narrow and pitch black and you'll have to feel your way out to the other side. Very cooling on your feet though!
There are quaint garden shops dotted all over the island. This Mexican...err Greek is pointing to one of them.
Hibiscus and Bougainvillea
But their garden pottery steals the show. Gorgeous!!!
The medieval castle of Monolithos
Not forgetting the plants of course...

Yucca rostrata

Agave geminiflora
What a wonderful island and week it was, and must say I'm a convert! We both would love to come back again soon. And from the both of we give the island 'Douze Points'!

Douze Points pour la Grèce (Twelve points to Greece) - is a reference to the highest amount a voting country can give to another in the cheese fest that is Eurovision Song Contest. In the most recent years, it seems that the UK likes to award Greece with twelve points for its entries. I used to jokingly say it's all because of the Greek takeaway shops here. But in reality, it's probably more a reflection of the subconscious affection most Brits have for the Greeks. Ahh, now that's even more cheesy!

Mark :-)


  1. Fantastic pictures. What a beautiful island, although I don't think I would want to go through the tunnel. :)
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. I have always liked the idea of going to visit Greece, but sadly I think the heat would be too much. So glad you had a good time. x

  3. Glad you had such a lovely holiday... :)

  4. You missed some amazing local flora which is evergreen. Terebrinth / Carob tree / Pinus and which I just love

  5. Stunning! That pottery is yummy! Did any of it find it's way home with you?

  6. Your post reminds me a fantastic week we spent on the island of Santorini a while ago, still one of my favorite vacations. I'd love to go back, too, but it's so far from here...

    I was surprised to see so many New World succulents but the climate of Greece is very similar to parts of Mexico.

  7. It's a beautiful island indeed Cher! That tunnel won't appeal to everyone as it's so narrow and pitch black, with a shaft in the middle which breaks the journey onto the other side. Definitely not for the claustrophobic!

    Thanks Libby! Might be worth visiting in other seasons apart from summer as temperatures will be more bearable. However they do get lots of rain too outside of summer.

    Thanks College Gardener :)

    Dilip, no we didn't miss them. The island has some lovely endemic flora including the Pinus which are almost everywhere as much as the Olives were :)

    Outlawgardener, we wanted to but we didn't had the chance to go back again to the shop which sells them. We could have easily hand carried two reasonably sized ones (between 1-2'). Maybe next time!

    Gerhard, I can imagine indeed how similar Santorini is to the climate and sceneries in Rhodes. Would love to visit that place too in the near future. I was also a bit surprised to see such succulents there. I'm not sure where they were originally sourced from (by the hotels, etc. when they were building them) but won't be surprised if they actually came from nurseries in Spain or even Italy where also a lot of the exotics in the UK come from.

  8. Oh Mark thanks for touring me there, as it is one of my disappointments, not being able to see Greece when I was already in Turkey. It certainly looks so hot, but indeed very beautiful. The photos more than suffice for the heat. I love most the castles and the ruins because the plants can be also be seen elsewhere!

  9. It does look beautiful. Must admit to a little jealousy. I'd love to go to Greece one day. It's a lot further from here.

  10. Hi Andrea! Rhodes island is very near Turkey and you can even go on a boat ride to go over there and back within the day. We didn't bother this time as there's so much to do within the island already. The ancient ruins there are fantastic!

    Missy, if you get the chance do so, the island looks fabulous and can imagine the rest of Greece will be the same :)

  11. Beautiful pics as always - Rhode looks idyllic and those handsome terracotta pithoi! Pity you can't squeeze one into the return luggage!

  12. Looks amazing, and that sea looks truly stunning. Glad you had a great holiday, much deserved I'm sure.

  13. Hi Ian, i know, somehow I dont think they would have agreed that it was under the 10kg allowed as hand luggage!

    Martin, the sea was lovely, and it was so warm as well, we went for a boat trip and the highlight was jumping in for a swim!

  14. Hi Janet, we really enjoyed our time there, why are holidays always over too fast!

  15. 12 points pour la grèce, especially with the wind of crisis which is spilling south of europe. I lived in Provence most of my childhood and it is filled with the same ruins - arenas, aquaducts scattered through the overgrown landscape of arid mediterranean plants, olives, pinus and vines. Thanks for the view from the top, overlooking the bay, it's breath catching !

  16. Hi Céline, glad you enjoyed the tour, the ruins (some of which have had a lot of restoration and re-creation) are quite dramatic. The heat on the top was very strong, with limited places of shade.


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