Rhodes, medieval town, Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes is a town located at the north end of the largest island in the Dodecanese archipel which has the same name (Rhodes). It has a very important medieval town with many ruins in an enviable position where were ancient ports and where today are the modern ports. The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the world, was a gigantic, statue traditionally located at the entrance of the port. It has a beautiful square which is the tourist centre of the city: Hippocrates Square; where you can find several good modern restaurants with terrace balconies at the top; there is a Turkish fountain in the middle of the square. It has beautiful ceramics and a column topped by a bronze owl. Another place to know is Socrates Street, a small narrow street; you can walk from the square towards the mosque of Soliman, it’s a fully-lined shopping street. Bordering Hippocrates square, there is an interesting building of stones with stairs known as Castellania or lodge of merchants. The building continues through a serie of picturesque arcades in Aristotle St. which connects Hippocrates Square with the Archdiocese. Walking through Akandia entry, you’ll find the ruins of Sainte Marie du Bourg (14th century). There are three apses which remain, a few steps from the ramparts, and the court of the older nave. The ramparts of the medieval city of Rhodes stretch over 5 kilometres in length. There are a dozen doors whose most masterful is the door of Amboise. There are two particularly imposing round towers but it opens on a chicane and you still need to cross Saint Antoine’s door to access within the city. The other remarkable door is the Door to the sea or Door of the Port which was the main entry. Two beautiful twin towers crenelated and equipped with machicolations are rather attractive. Above the semicircular arch, a mutilated bas-relief represents a Virgin with the child surrounded by Saint Pierre and Saint John the Baptist. In the place of the Archdiocese there is another fountain with very modern lines with three metal seahorses that celebrate the nearby marine environment. Akandia Port is one of the three ports of Rhodes. The oldest harbour is in front of the ‘Sea door’; here we can see the boats of fishermen. Mandraki, the most famous with the deer and the hind, welcomes boats and day cruise boats. Third, besides the fortifications, the other port welcomes the Giants of cruise and ferry boats from Piraeus. The harbour of Mandraki is protected by a 300 metres long dam on which stand still three antique windmills; at the end of the dam, the Fort of Saint Nicolas defended the city of Rhodes of the first maritime assaults. Inside the fort, there is a lighthouse which guides the boats at night.

Tips

If you only visit Rhodes for a day, the medieval town takes all day long, but if you stay a few days on the island, you’ll be able to visit it at different times of the day. To walk, the morning and the evening are the most enjoyable moments because the sun is very strong and the the temperatures are too hot nearly noon.
You will find many shops with typical handicrafts but you can usually discuss the price and get what you want for a more reasonable price.
If you want to enjoy the sea, not far from the port, you will find beaches to spend some pleasant hours. The most beautiful beaches are farther but for a day visit, it’s worth it to relax a bit in this so nice sea.
The city has plenty of cafes, restaurants, bars where you can also relax a little and enjoy a good coffee or a good local wine.
Wear comfortable shoes and in summer, wear light clothing and especially, drink plenty of water.

Schoelcher Library, Fort-de-France, Martinique

The Schoelcher Library, located in Fort-de-France in Martinique, is a public library. It is located at the corner of Liberté St. and Victor Sévère St., facing the north corner of Savane Square. Victor Schoelcher, deputy of Guadeloupe and Martinique (1848-1850) had a collection of 10,000 books and 250 musical scores but since he had no descendants, he left his collection to the General Council of Martinique under condition of create a public library. The building was built by Pierre Henri Picq. The building was built in the garden of the Tuileries in Paris and was first presented to the Parisians (1886-1887), before being dismantled and shipped by boat to Fort-de-France to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, most of the original books disappeared with a large fire in 1890. The library finally opened in 1893. The building, built on a square plan, has a large dome that illuminates the reading room. There is a mix of art nouveau, western classical and Egyptian art and some Byzantine influences. Names of great French writers decorate friezes. There is a very colorful mosaic exterior pediment.

Tips

If you visit Fort-de-France, it’s worth some time to see the library and its building.

If you are lucky, you will find exhibits on site.

Day of the Dead, Mexico

If there is a typical holiday in Mexican culture, it is the Day of the Dead that extends south of the United States with the Mexican community. It’s a party that runs from October 31st to November 2nd, with traditions; known especially for the realization of private altars dedicated to the dead with offerings (flowers, food, candles, photos, items that belonged to the dead, etc.). From October 31st to November 1st, the day is dedicated to the dead children (angelitos = little angels), serving a sweet snack and the next day, the All Saints’ Day is dedicated to the breakfast for the ‘angelitos’ and then the rest of the day is dedicated to the deceased adults and they add other offerings in the altars. People visit the cemetery on November 2nd. Altars are erected in homes, workplaces, hotels, etc. There are also contests where they choose the most beautiful altar, the public can enter, vote and enjoy the traditional food they have prepared to share and depending on the region, you can also find native people with their own tradition. The altar has several levels that represent the different moments traversed by the soul of the dead, usually the photo of the deceased occupies the upper place of the altar. In decorations, we find small skulls made of sugar, chocolate or plastic with the name or initials of the deceased. All this decoration and offerings serve to show the deceased that he is loved and that he has not been forgotten. Usually, there is also a cross in the altar. There are garlands made with colorful paper or plastic, with cuts that show skulls, skeletons or simply geometric figures. Among the food, which must not be missed, is the dead bread that is made and eaten right in this very celebration as sweets or very sweet decorations to eat.


Tips

If you visit Mexico at this time of the year, enjoy this experience, you will not regret it. The hotels make their decorations, events and even all depending on the hotel (usually big chains), parties where you can even disguise yourself.

If you have the opportunity to see a real celebration in town, do not hesitate, it’s worth it. The Mexicans are very kind and will invite you to enjoy their specialties of the Day of the Dead even they will be delighted to join you in this event by telling you a little about the history of this tradition.

If you prefer to stay at the hotel, the various TV stations play the best-known horror films.