Take the high Rhodes; MERLE BROWN, Shona Young and Ruth Millar found a whole load of rhapsody on the island of Rhodes.
IF YOU want to go to Greece's premier tourist island of Rhodes to sit in the sun and ponder the finer points of life, don't discover a local bar like we did.
When we arrived in the quiet resort of Trianda, near historic Rhodes Town, Shona, Ruth and I were looking forward to a holiday of peace, calm and philosophising about life - but all that was put on the back burner as soon we stepped into the Anyone Bar, a mere 200 yards from the Barbie apartments where we were staying.
But I don't regret it one little bit. For one fantastic week we were teenagers again, caught up in the holiday spirit, charmed by the locals, knocking back free shots of local liquor, wild and carefree, and having the best time of our lives.
Let's face it, girls, no matter how much we pretend we're into the history of our holiday destination - and our destination of Rhodes has an amazing history - would we not always prefer to drink cocktails, served by a sexy barman? Who cares if the next plane-load of tourists get the same treatment?
For one week Gianis, Yorgos and Pavlos, who owns the bar, were our favourite men on earth, and we were their favourite customers.
Ah, if only my local barmen were like this. But for a week they were - this was our local, these were our barmen, and Ruth, Shona and I led the simple life - flitting between the beach, the pool, eating gorgeous Greek salads in the sun, and drinking the night away in Anyone, occasionally going to another bar called Jimmy's, and sometimes heading for the only club in Trianda, Club Bo.
We had arrived in Rhodes behind schedule after boarding our MyTravel flight four hours late - all thanks to Greek air traffic controllers who had decided to strike.
And we were left to sit in a coach at the airport waiting to be taken to our apartment for nearly an hour, but all this didn't faze me. Had this been at home, I would have been calling for someone's head on a plate after 15 minutes. It seemed Greece had already got into my bones.
On our first morning, looking forward to crystal clear seas, great food, friendly people, and the hottest summer sun our poor Scottish skin had ever had to bear, we attended our welcome meeting. Lyndsey, our Direct Holidays rep, gave us a verbal guided tour of the island, and told us about some of the trips available.
We were all anticipating a relaxing trip in the country of ancient history wonderful mythology and romance and our first trip to the island of Symi certainly lived up to that billing.
It was truly gorgeous, and well worth a visit. However, the boat there was a local ferry, and with three boats docking at once, the little village was overrun by tourists. But if like us you find yourself a quiet spot to sit and dip your feet in the water, this trip is well worth it.
Tsambika Beach on the east coast of the island, not far from the party town of Faliraki, was our second away day, and a must. Book a trip, or get there by car yourself, but don't miss this beach with its soft golden sands, and calm, crystal clear waters.
We adored Tsambika, and took a trip in a dinghy pulled through the water by a speedboat - one of the many watersports on offer - to add a thrill to an otherwise peaceful day.
Lastly, we headed for Lindos, Rhodes's jewel in the crown, a gorgeous town in the south of the island, an unbearable 10 degrees hotter than anywhere else, but stunning.
The houses dotted about the hills look like sugar cubes which have been dropped from a great height.
You can take a donkey ride, or walk up to the Acropolis, and then wind your way through the little streets, with plenty of shops, and taverns to while away the hours.
We also headed to Rhodes Town, and ate dinner in one of the many restaurants in the old town, which is within the castle walls. Don't stop, as we did, to allow a waiter to talk you through his menu. This is the only off-putting part of the trip. Eager is not the word. These guys must be on huge commission.
From Rhodes you can also take a 45- minute trip to Turkey, or visit some of the many bars and nightclubs. And if you must, there's even a branch of Marks & Spencer.
Trianda is developed enough to cater for your every need, but not overrun by British tourists in Union Jack shorts. We met a fantastic Scottish family at our apartments, and in Anyone, befriended two Dutch couples, some Danish guys, and, dare I say it, even a couple of Cockney England football fans. Well, we took pity on them after the Brazil game.
We even swam in the sea one morning at 6am with a Welsh girl who had moved out to Trianda just months before.
As we sat in Anyone on our last night, we wondered how we would ever get up the next morning and force ourselves to go home.
Our memories of the holiday are many and varied, but began and ended really in the bar where the guys charmed us, took us for spins on their mopeds in the early hours, and made us all feel 10 years younger.
Gianis, Yorgos and Pavlos - we have so much to thank you for.
Perhaps we'll be back - same time, same place, next year.
Merle travelled to Rhodes with Direct Holidays to the Barbie Apartments in Trianda, on a self catering basis. Prices for the same holiday in summer 2003 for one week, based on three adults sharing _ a one bedroom apartment and departing from Glasgow, start at pounds 216 per adult in May and rise to pounds 476 per adult in July and start at pounds 99 per child in May rising to pounds 239 per child in July.
To request a copy of their brochure, call 0870 242 2404 or to make a reservation call 0141 559 7000.
Visit their website at www.directholidays.co.uk.