My first hour in Rhodes was deeply depressing. Like all north Europeans I just assume that everywhere in the Med is a paradise so the drive from the airport via the outskirts of Rhodes town and then down to the south eastern coast where our hotel was situated was a huge disappointment. I am almost tempted to say that it looked like downtown Damascas except that it would be grossly unfair, not only to Rhodes but even more so to the poor, long-suffering Syrians. Even so, it was not a pretty sight with countless numbers of empty or half-completed and abandoned buildings everywhere you looked. Yes, I know that there were an equal number of Greek malefactors involved in their country's economic disaster but even so, those fat, smug, stupid commissars in Brussels/Berlin should be made to tour the streets of Rhodes city to see at first hand the results of their mad, inflated dreams.
However, I cheered up on entering the hotel complex at Kolymbia. For a start the architecture was modern but easy on the eye with plenty of use of curves in the designs and also with restrictions on the height so that the buildings melded into the land and seascape rather than dominating it:
That is the Atlantica Imperial Hotel (adults only - all kiddie-winkies will be shot on sight!) which is huge - well, huge by my standards, 350 rooms +/-, because I am not used to large resort hotels. OhmyGaaaaard, I thought, all those peeeeeople! But of course, as you seasoned travellers will know, if the grounds and facilities are large enough it rarely feels crowded and actually it is easier to be alone amongst many people than to try an avoid contact with a handfull of guests in a boutique hotel. (Yes, you're right, 'Mr. Unsociability', that's me!)
Timing, as in sex and drumming, is everything when it comes to choosing your Med holiday and, just like my sex and drumming, it was perfect! During the last two weeks of May the temperatures are beginning to climb, about 28 degrees towards the end - perfect - after that, I gather, the temps soar away even higher. But the best was yet to come. First of all, the staff in the hotel were just terrific - friendly, efficient, full of humour and that rarity in northern climes - amiability! To begin with I thought they must have been extremely well-trained but then, as we went out and about to various parts of the Island, it became clear that everyone who lives on Rhodes shares this happy, easy-going, pleasant amiability. They are all just so damned nice!
I (half) joked in one of my despatches that I wouldn't mind living on Rhodes but gazing out of my window at another Somerset drizzle I'm beginning to give it serious thought . . .