Walking Greece with FRANKiE4

My GENi sandal in warm grey metal

After two weeks of walking up to six hours a day through the south of France, my GENi sandals and I fly to Greece. These are my orthopedic sandals from the Australian boutique shoe company FRANKiE4, owned by podiatrists Caroline and Alan McCulloch. I always walk a lot while travelling, so good supportive footwear is a solid investment.

So here we are, walking Greece with FRANKiE4. We pound the pavements for many hours all over the centre of the Greek capital of Athens. My former hometown gets a lot of bad publicity with constant violence and protests over much-hated austerity measures. When there are no demonstrations, it’s pretty much business as usual and the Athens centre is very walkable. The historic areas of Plaka and Monastiraki are compact and well sign posted. On the first rainy of autumn, I notice people slipping on ancient marble steps, but my GENi sandals never falter. And their Greek goddess style look right at home. That’s my friends Janet and Deborah in the photo below, shopping for gifts that day. They are long-time Athenians and know the best places to shop.

Slippery wet streets in the historic area of Plaka on an autumn Sunday in Athens

On the southern Agean island of Rhodes, I climb over rocks in the bay of Kalithea, where waterfalls cascade into the pristine sea. My tour guide is Taste for Travel’s foodie writer Georgia Gerardis, and we loll around on sun beds, drink iced coffee and swim in the cool water. What a dreamy little place. Five stars!

Georgia also takes me to the Old Town which is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. In 1988 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The capital town of Rhodes is situated in the northeast tip of the island and has a population of 11,000. For much of the year it has a massive daily influx of tourists, many from the cruise ships docked in the port right next to theĀ  medieval town with its distinctive walls, ramparts and fairytale castle architecture.

The Palace of the Grand Masters, reconstructed by the Italians in 1940 after it was demolished by a gunpowder explosion in 1856, stands out because of its imposing entrance and well built towers and battlements. The Old Town is a lot bigger than I thought, and it takes several hours to thoroughly window shop. The best buys are jewellery and carpets.

Cruise ships anchor daily at the port of Rhodes, right next to the historic old town
Tourists stroll inside the walled medieval town in Rhodes

We drive to Lindos, the Santorini-style white and blue village about 50km from Rhodes town. It’s a steep and winding walk up to the village, which has sweeping views of a large bay, and is overshadowed by ancient ruins and medieval magnificance.

Lindos, where houses are scattered like dice beneath a hilltop medieval citadel

Pebbled floors are a distinctive feature of Rhodes, and decorate the Lindos cafe of Gel o Blu, which also displays the Turkish influence of banquettes – low-set couches which encourage you to sprawl for hours.

The pebbled floor at the cafe in Lindos shows the date it was laid, June 10, 1911
Turkish-style banquettes are a feature at the pretty Gel o Blu cafe at Lindos

After I return to Athens, I walk some more but increasingly get into beach time. It’s autumn but the temperatures are still sizzling at around 30 degrees C. I take a 171 bus daily to Varkiza beach, about an hour southeast of the city centre, which costs just 1.20 euro. (Buy your ticket at a street kiosk, because they’re not sold on the buses. And there’s no guarantee the kiosk nearest to the bus stop will sell tickets either) It’s 5.50 euros for adult entry to the Plaz Varkiza beach and the lounge beds shaded by wide umbrellas are free Monday-Friday after the peak of the summer season. They’re usually 8 euros daily.

Another sublime hot day in autumn at Varkiza beach, southeast of Athens

GENi do a bit of sunbathing while I swim in brilliantly clear water. For four weeks in Europe these are the only shoes I’ve worn except for one cold, windy day in Provence, and going out at night. I’ve thrashed them. One metal stud has fallen off and they’re a bit scuffed in a couple of places, but hey, they worked hard and we walked hard. Who knows where we’ll go next? GENi, you’re just magic.

More info: www.frankie4.com.au

2 thoughts on “Walking Greece with FRANKiE4

  1. Saw thw sandals myself and they are amazing! Gotta get some for next summer. And they do suit Greece islands! Ante Heather kai tou Chronou as we say in Greece! (=Here’s to next year, a wish to have a good time again next year)


    1. Planning it already…. XX The sandals travelled really well. I gave them such a hard time – they handled so many uneven surfaces and I didn’t slip out of them, and they didn’t miss a step. They’ve got a hot Sydney summer to get through now and then, who knows? I’m sure I’ll be wearing them for years.


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