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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

1st April, 2016

The old pilot I remembered from over ten years ago, when I visited Rhodes every two weeks had, according to the ‘new’chap, retired. He had been a character, in many ways, but one whose ‘limitations’we had become used to over the years.

I do enjoy going for a stroll into Rhodes town, through the arch in the medieval walls and stepping back in time. Much has been restored no doubt, but in such a way that it looks as though very little has been touched. There is still, if one looks into alleys that disappear around cobbled corners, a touch of shabbiness that verges on the dilapidated. It has an atmosphere such that, if you close your eyes, you might just imagine some turbaned local with bad teeth, dressed in flowing robes and bearing a hooked dagger, stepping out menacingly from a battered, falling apart door set back in the shadows.

The shop keepers are, fortunately, dressed more appropriately these days, and they don’t look quite so threatening. In fact the ones we spoke with were charming and very pleased to see us. So much so that the final last year’s stock ‘offers’were quite forthcoming and I actually feel like I’ve saved money. My unique leather purchase is one, I am assured, that can be bought nowhere else and will be an heirloom that will be passed on long after I’m gone.

We walked up towards the highest part of town and decided to take a look inside the Palace of the Grand Master, the most important monument from the time of the Knights of St. John and built in the 14th century. Needless to say, the building has had many not so careful owners over the years and much damage was done when there was an ammunition explosion in 1856 during the Ottoman period. Between 1937 and 1940, when the Italians were in residence, the Palace was totally restored to what we see today. There are some amazing complete mosaics on the floor, period furniture, glazed pottery and restored statues. It is superb and feels like the Knights walked out just last year, well worth a visit.

Our weather has continued to be fine and warm, the seas have remained calm and, with very few other cruise ships in port, the last week or so has been somewhat idyllic.

Captain Philip Rentell

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