Part 1 – the Island
With the mood set let us now add spring wild flowers, fields and fields of swirling grain, spectacular views,
sprinkle some ancient history, interesting chapels, a well equipped vacation home and and fresh culinary ingredients et voila, a perfect holiday.
I know that most people would now begin telling you of lovely restaurants with special Greek food cooked with just the secret ingredient but after a few restaurant experiences with nice restaurant owners and personnel but prices equaling downtown Frankfurt and not very inspiring food, we cooked up our own culinary Greece and it was more than just fine.
The Tha Hill house we rented just outside of Lachania on the south East coast, owned and decorated with such taste and flair by Caroline Hardyis not just the perfect setting for a Rhodes holiday but also an example that one can use the wind and the sun, of which there is more than enough on the coast of Rhodes to set an exmaple for an eco-friendly vacation without renouncing comfort.
Gennadi, a few kilometers down the road has a tiny but busy village center offerng a truely gifted baker bringing one luscious cake, baclava and crusty sesame covered bread after the other straight out of the wood oven. You can see the wood piled to the ceiling when you enter the warm and heady smelling shop – thoughts of butter, honey, cinammon and nuts making your taste buds tingle in advance. Biting into the custard-filled breakfast pastry sprinkled with extra cinammon sugar while leaving the shop makes the day just so much better from the start. Next door is the well sorted fruits and vegetable shop with fresh produce from the island still clinging with the soil in which it was grown. It doesn’t get fresher than this. Tomatoes, new potatoes, artichokes, sweet leeks, wine leaves, ……. And of course oranges, sweet, succulent, juicy best bought from the producers in 5 kilo bags sold by the roadside.
The fish truck, was not quite what I expected. It was an old pick-up with one cooler in which about 8 medium-sized uncleaned fish could be found. They turned out to be very fresh and just about would the sea will still yield as a result of years of overfishing on the island shores. This also explains quite drastically why fish prices lie anywhere between 25-65 Euros per kilo in most restaurants and the few stores where you can find fresh fish. All other seafood
such as octopus, squid, or mussels are deep-frozen and thawed to be grilled in the restaurants for your expensive pleasure. We were lucky having bought once from the truck and once directly off the boat. Our grilled fish was fresh, tender and delicious.
Our days on Rhodes were spent discovering it’s ancient history in the walled city of Rhodes, visiting chapels and monasteries, and driving all over the island to see all the spectacular views and landscapes it has to offer.
We particlarly enjoyed the West Coast since it is more undisturbed by tourism and is the breadbasket of the island, its fields and greenhouses full of tomatoes, beans, eggplant, zucchini and herbs growing literally right down to the sea. Being an island, there is miles and miles of coastline in Rhodes, some sand mostly pebble, the water is turqoise churning and beautiful, unfortunately the beaches are often littered with plastic, floatsam off ships and discarded items. We hoped that since it was not quite high season yet, the clean-up would come before more guests arrived. It often reminded us of the beaches in Goa, India with goats rather than cows. Nevertheless, the valleys and moutains, the flowering plateaus and empty beaches all made April the perfect time to visit Rhodes and see it in its blossoming splendour; which of course includes the wind, and the rain at times since after all no rain – no flowers! The fireplace at night and the rainbows after the rain more then compensated for the fickle April weather.
Where is the food part you will now ask……
It’s coming in “A homemade culinary trip to Rhodes part 2 – the food”.