Saturday, 9 November 2013

Rhodes in November

For some time now, I've been fascinated by cafe culture in Rhodes. It seems to be an essential, vibrant part of the local scene, especially for the under-forties. And yesterday I found further proof.
Turning a corner into a usually empty pedestrian street just up the hill from the New Market, just north of the Old Town, I was stunned to find not one brand new cafe, but four. It was about 2.30 p.m., the break in the middle of the working day, summer was back after a brief hiatus, and each cafe was busy.

I asked a waiter if it was true, that these were all new, and he grinned and confirmed they'd all opened in the last few months, with a little shrug as if to say, 'You know, that's how it is here...' Pop-up cafes. And I wouldn't be surprised if they're all owned by the same guy. 
Usually trendy Casa La Femme was closed for refurbishment, and the Yacht Club Cafe was practically deserted. The four cafes that fill a stretch of Dimitriou Theodoraki Street are the place to be - for now. 

And the place not to be is the Old Town, which is wonderful. 
The Street of the Knights is bare, doorways open to reveal lush gardens.
This time of year is when I love Rhodes. It's warm and sunny, but quiet. Most of the tourist shops and restaurants are closed. You can see the walls. Only once did a waiter hurry up from his chair in a cafe and say 'Yes please!' But my backpack was empty, gradually filling up as the day progressed with shopping.

Down by the now-peaceful harbour, across a calm, deep blue sea, the mountains of Turkey were clear in every small detail, layers and layers of mountains stretching off into the distant haze. A man cycled by slowly wearing cut-offs and flip-flops; a snorkeller dived down into the sea, his flippers forming a V. Cats wandered among the rocks, soaking up the sun. 
Back in the Old Town, in backstreets, occasional groups of men sat outside drinking and listening to Greek songs played loud, some sitting on old crates that bowed under their weight. It was a holiday, and people were celebrating, and shouted hello. I had a smile on my face all day. 


  1. νοσταλγία have done it again! This time with your words as much as your photographs. I hope I have found the correct word to describe the yearning feeling of wanting to go 'home'


  2. Yeia sou!
    I stumbeled ober your blog and my heart goes boom boom....
    I am so in love with Rhodes, visit this beautiful island every year and have found many very good friends there.
    Many many greetings,

    1. Lovely to connect, Susi - so pleased you found the blog. Come and visit us in Tilos sometime!

  3. Jen, next time you should hit the new cafés round by the new marina. OK, so not the most picturesque part of Rhodes, ...yet! But my wife and I often sit there and did so just this past Sunday, at 1.00pm, when all the cafés were full to brimming with Greeks out enjoying the "parea". By the way, I'm way past the 40-something barrier, OK? Age is a state of mind!! What's really great too, is that the Greeks don't hit the alcohol, they're οn Freddoccinos or frappé. They don't need alcohol for the "steki!".

    1. Yes, I said 'especially' for the under-forties - certainly not exclusively so!
      I'm not sure I'll ever be Greek enough to travel across town to sit for hours with a coffee, but I love watching the way the Greeks do it, whether in Athens or on the islands... And it was so funny seeing how they had all abandoned their previous hangouts for this brand new cafe street.

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