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.

Juliet’s house, Verona, Veneto, Italy

Juliet’s house is a museum in a XII century building where they reconstructed the famous balcony, located near the historic center of Verona, Veneto, Italy. This house and balcony became famous thanks to the tragedy of William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, published in 1597. This house was built by the Dal Cappello family and we can see their carved coat of arms on the keystone of the arch internal court. This tragedy was located in Verona and from that moment, the city was considered one og the most romantic cities in the world and it was also called ‘the city of lovers of Verona’. From the nineteenth century, a legend takes place and the building was considered the house where lived Juliette Capulet, where his beloved Romeo Montescchi had declared his love at the foot of the balcony. From 1905, the building was converted into a museum and became a major tourist attraction. The historian Antonio Avena has the house restored completely between 1936 and 1940 and they add the balcony to the facade of the inner courtyard. Here you will find 16th and 17th century furniture, paintings and engravings showing the history of Romeo and Juliet, Renaissance ceramics and the costumes for Franco Zeffirelli’s film Romeo and Juliet (1968). The bronze statue of Juliet, made by Nereo Constantini, is at the end of the courtyard. There are walls covered with love vows and multicolored graffiti left by lovers at the entrance of the building.

Tips

If you want to take a picture with the statue of Juliet, go as early as possible because it is almost always full of public. If you want to leave your message or make a graffiti, you should do the same.

There is a tradition that says the statue of Juliet, gives good luck to lovers, you must touch the right breast.

Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexico

Uxmal is an ancient maya city of the classical period, located in the Mexican State of Yucatán, 78 km south of Mérida and 15 km southeast of Muna. The name means ‘Three times built’. Governed by competent leaders and stimulated by an alliance of short duration with Chichen Itza, it had an apogee of 150 years (800 to 950 ad). Built in Puuc style architecture which is characterized by very stripped lower and worked most top-level facades. The main buildings are the Pyramid of the Seer or magician, the Quadrilateral of the nuns, the Governor’s Palace and the House of turtles, dedicated to the God of rain (Chac). The ruins have been restored and maintained carefully, but to reconstruct its history, there are available ethnohistorical sources that must be interpreted with caution and we have insufficient archaeological data.Most of the buildings were built with stones carefully carved, thus avoiding the use of plaster. Thanks to its state of conservation, it is one of the few Mayan cities where a tourist can have a good idea of what might look like an ancient ceremonial center in its entirety. Maya architecture is elegant and beautiful. Two hotels and a small museum were built next to the ruins of the ancient city.

Tips

You can take a guided day trip in your language at your hotel reception or if you prefer, hire a car to take all of your time and make the visit freely.
Enjoy the spectacle of lights on the site in the evening. The entrance to the site includes the evening lights. The ruins close at 5 pm then if you do not drive, you must consider to pay a taxi or a tuc tuc (kind of economic vehicle driven by a local person with which you arrange a fixed price for a round trip).
If your budget is tight and you visit Mexico with your backpack, there is the small town of Santa Elena, 15 km from the site, with economic places to spend one or two nights to enjoy a full day at the ruins and continue your way after. You can go by bus, the bus Campeche-Merida, takes you to Uxmal.