Waking up in the old city of Rhodes (Ródos) on the first real day of my travels. White stone, blue sky, still pale from sunrise. Bougainvillea, cats and cobblestones. I’m back again. Scooters humming and hacking around, their riders all free-flowing hair, sunglasses and bare brown legs. No yiayia yen around here to keep freedom under a helmet. Frangipani, dracaena, hibiscus, oleander; pale pomegranates and lemons, shiny, fat and green this time of year, heavy on the tree. No worry beads to be seen. Men sit in groups, smoking, swiping and scrolling on their phones, the world over, praying into our devices. And then I see the old city walls. Beyond the sweet-scented pines, cumulous shade from the fire of Zeus. Gritty, hand hewn stones, tiny pebbles melded into giant blocks, weathered and worn. I touch the surface, three thousand years of weather and hands, bodies and blood.
I swim in the Aegean at Elly Beach. Here the pebbles are larger, and in the distance I see the high cliffs of the Turkish coast. Dinner at Griniaris. Octopus balls made fresh today and wild greens with olive oil and lemon juice.
Yes. I know! Stop it! It’s like meat balls, cheese balls. How many balls does an octopus have? One set for each pair of legs? You’re terrible! Anyway, it was all delicious. But now you mention it, the menu did say Aphrodisiacs, and I thought it meant Appetisers. No wonder I had such strange dreams.