July 3, 2019, Lindos, Greece — Our last full day on Rhodes, we bussed down to the ‘the quaint whitewashed town of Lindos.’ We had a walking tour of its medieval city, then hiked up to its acropolis and the Doric-style Temple of Athena Lindia, built in the 4th century BCE. (Akro means highest, and polis means city.) Lindos was Greece’s first Christian community thanks to St. Paul, who took advantage of being shipwrecked here in 51 AD to spread the new faith. The tourist lit also refers to this as ‘the command center of the Knights of St John.’
Our destination — through the village then up 350 steps to the top.
The village has some charming corners...
Then we began the climb, passing women smoking cigarettes and selling their hand-embroidered table linens draped over the rocks...
This was a death-defying expedition due to the two-way traffic, the steep steps, the total lack of handrails…
… and the scorching heat. Rhodes has 320 sunny days per annum, and temps from the 50s in winter to 102-103 in summer. Climbing up those 350 steps in the sun in the middle of a Greek afternoon is not recommended. One can hire a donkey, but I draw the line at slave animal labor.
Contrary to the marble of the Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens, these structures were built of local sandstone that was stuccoed and painted in a style our local guide called kitsch.
Some climbers (and non-climbers) cooled off afterwards at the beach, with its de rigueur chaises and umbrellas. This involved a hike down from town — and back up.
The view from the Acropolis. It doesn’t do justice to the colors of the water — inky blue and turquoise.
Coming down was less strenuous but equally perilous. I rewarded myself with a ‘caffè freddo con ice cream,’ which I declared ‘ambrosia of the gods.’
The (in)famous late-night YAC Cabaret Night had taken place the night before. If I can purloin a photo, I’ll post it later. Florence Foster Jenkins made an appearance, during which our youngest chorus member, a high-schooler traveling with her Yalie grandfather, turned to the woman next to her and said, ‘She’s awful.’ That was the point. I followed that with one of my favorites, Rodgers and Hart’s ‘To Keep My Love Alive.’ The crowd seemed to prefer Florence.
At the indispensable Farewell Dinner our last night together, the winners of the tri-annual YAC Limerick Competition were announced and read. The self-proclaimed Kaiser Kollective team, of which I was the Parse Master, won Honorable Mention in the Theofanidis Category — we had performed 4 movements of Here and Now by Yale faculty member Christopher Theofanidis. To wit:
There once was a chorus in Rhodes
Who sang in Gregorian modes.
Their descants were phrygian,
Their bass drones were stygian…
Ye gods! What cacophonous odes!
About 65 singers left the morning after the Farewell to return to Athens and fly home. The remaining 35 of us flew to Athens and embarked the next morning on a 3-day post-tour tour of 4 of the best known islands — plus Turkey. #