2022 Greece - My trip review page.
In keeping with my recent tradition, I am putting up my reviews of the places and services we visited on this trip here on this page, and a book review.
I did not review all of the hotels we stayed at, but I will list them in the order we stayed at. They are all good, we never had any bad experience in any of them; I reviewed a few exceptional ones.
My booking.com review:
Great location in old town Rhodes
We stayed for 4 nights at the Medieval Inn in late May to early June, 2022. The location is very good -- it is within the ancient wall of Old Town Rhodes, yet it is a little distance away from the busiest and noisiest part of town. It is very safe to walk the cobble stone streets any time of the day and the walk is pleasant. The owner Manos is a walking encyclopedia of everything Rhodes and he's very friendly and helpful (even offered me welcome and goodbye drinks .. yamas!). We would stay here again if we visit Rhodes in the future.
My booking.com review:
Nice caldera and sunset views, great breakfast
This hotel is very clean and the staff is very professional. It certainly has the caldera and sunset views from the porch of our room; if I could slightly gripe about one thing, it is maybe the views are not as open and do not have as nice a foreground as there could be (e.g. a blue domed church or other white-washed buildings), but that is nit-picking (and I am sure the ones with such views will cost a lot more). But don't get me wrong, if you get the caldera-facing room, you will have a nice view. They fix a great breakfast. It is a good place to relax and enjoy, and take a walk along the caldera if you feel like it.
When we were there, there was heavy remodeling next door. It was not necessarily the host's fault, and I don't have the heart to give her a negative review on the booking website, but our experience wasn't so good.
My Expedia review:
We stayed at this hotel for 3 nights in June of 2022 and we quite liked it. It is not in the old town but just a short distance away; in fact this gives you some cheaper dining options and it is very close to the bus station which is a bonus. The staff members, Hara and Irini, are very friendly and helpful; Irini gave us some really good restaurant recommendations. The hotel seems to have been renovated recently, but they proudly preserved the floor tiles (I guess that's what the name of the hotel comes from?). The best part? There is a bottle of raki in the lobby and you can always get a shot to refresh yourself!
My booking.com review:
We got the Gardenia Apartment and it is very spacious. The sitting room has a sofa which can even serve as a bed, and it has tow balconies on both sides. The location is great -- there are bakeries, restaurants and super markets nearby, and this being in the more down-to-earth Koukaki district, they are very affordable (pro tip: if you can do your shopping in Koukaki, do it there and don't pay the much higher price in tourist trap Plaka district). The manager, Costa (Constantinous) is very friendly and helpful and sat down with us to go through the highlights of Athens and gave us a list of good restaurants, etc. nearby.
My two minor complaints are: 1) there is no elevator (lift), so getting the luggage for 2 flights of stairs can be difficult (to be sure, the staff helped us getting them to our room, but on the way down we were on our own). 2) the hot water boiler does not seem powerful enough and you'd have to wait for the hot water to be fully heated to take a bath for each person. But these are minor and quite manageable.
Service and tour
I read this book right after our trip, hoping to get a deeper understanding of the Greek, and especially Cretan, people. Boy, was I disappointed. See my goodreads review below:
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
The fool and the coward
This is one of the most overrated "literature" work of all time. It is basically a misogynist manifesto.
Throughout the book, whether through the mouth of our "saint" Zorba (who is not even Greek) or through the narrator whose name we don't even know, women are depicted as inferior, weak and with brains not fully formed. They literally call them "the female species" to depict their "otherness". I understand most of the narration is though the "boss man"'s perspective, but one cannot help but believe that they reflect the author's views. The way they treat women is very cruel - they play cruel jokes on the aging prostitute with relish (even she cried for "pity, mercy"), and the depiction either through the narrator or the author is utterly degrading and demeaning and very unpleasant to read.
The most disturbing episode is after the narrator had a one-night fling with a young widow (who he strictly treated as a sex object and who in the author's view does not even warrant a name, she is simply known as "the widow"; and who apparently has no mind of her own and simply offered herself for sex to the "boss man" just because he showed up), he just watched as the villagers decapitated her (that is, chopped her head off with a knife!) for some perceived seduction of another young man (we can infer from the story that it was no fault of hers). Then, later, he reflected and decided that since it is something "that's always been done", so it is justified, and went on with his life with a clear conscience. I don't know how anyone can be so thoroughly narcissistic and callous.
There is another episode of a young homosexual monk that got killed at the monastery, but it was poorly explained and there was no follow-through (probably in the author's mind "justified"). And our "saint"? Aside from his misogyny and sexism and being a confessed rapist and murderer, he is also an utter fool. He nearly got everyone killed in the coal mine (to his credit, he got everyone out before the collapse), and when he designed a cable transport for timber, it promptly collapsed at inauguration. Yet in the mind of our immature narrator, he's a larger-than-life hero.
I really intensely disliked this book, this was one of the worst reading experience I've had.