Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Cyrpus in the sky

 The next journey through Cyprus was inland.

We headed away from the shore into and up the Troodos mountains. You'd say: mountains on Cyprus?! Yup, you bet. Cyprus is really bigger than you think. And the scenery is breathtaking, we wound our way up small roads on the side of the mountain and through the most picturesque little villages and towns, they're the cutest I've ever seen, beautiful Mediterranean houses, small streets, flowers and colors and all that hugged by the mountains around. The village of Sykopetra is like something out of a story book, Chandria, Kyperounta, all really nice to look at and drive through, and the locals seem pretty happy to see you and smile at you as you drive by :)

Then you reach the top of Troodos at Platres, which apparently used to be the summer base for the British Empire army because the weather was too hot down in the cities for the high commanding Brits :) That part is not so special, but has a few nice cafes to take a break in.

The ride down the mountain side was even better, the sights remained as great as ever, we stopped at a waterfall buried in the mountains, passed a big lake where people where rowing, and saw a lot of nice houses scattered in the area and you can't help but thinking that you should come back sometime to Cyprus but live in the mountains not the beach, rent a place with a view and enjoy the peace, quiet, beauty and local cuisine, Greek food is good.

We also drove the coastal roads from Limassol in the direction of Larnaca, the drive was beautiful, but Larnaca is not worth the effort.

Took a couple of trips to downtown Limassol too, the areas around the Medieval castle is an old part of town with narrow alleys all over the place and they're all filled with restaurants and cafes, this is where the locals go out, and the atmosphere is really nice and relaxed, if you're ever there, dine there one evening... or two :)

The many faces of Cyprus

\Once again I do exactly the same as always: Laze out from writing what could have been a great post. I keep reminding myself that the best ones come when the impressions and feelings are still fresh, the more you wait, the blander your piece becomes. But then again, late is better than never, and this is one trip I seriously enjoyed.

No reason or occasion, just decided to join a friend and her family on a vacation with my husband to Cyprus. The way you always tend to think about Cyprus is: An island in the Med, looks Greek, small, nothing much but cute houses and warm beaches, but if you've never been there, you're in for a big surprise.

Let's start with the fact that it's bigger than it seems, even if all you do is study the maps on Google, but that's the least impressive. We stayed just outside Limassol, which turns to be the English name for it, (like they did with most of their empire), it's locally called Lemesos. In a very nice though old hotel, with indeed a very nice beach and a great restaurant on the Marina. Cyprus as advertised for sun and fun and cocktails on the beach didn't disappoint in the slightest.

We arrived late at night at the hotel on our rather battered rental Nissan Note (never heard of it before I got it :D ), into quite an impressive lobby and a rather cosy clean room to realize that although it's on the side of the hotel, it still got an amazing view of the sea and the nearby resorts/houses, in short, very pretty. The next day was slightly cold to be on the beach so we decided to go sightseeing.

It was still a beautiful sunny day, and we went driving along the south coast through Limassol into Akrotiri (which is still a British base), saw the flamingos on the salt lake :) (no, not the pink ones, they're white), then it was archeological tourism at its most: On the way out we passed by Kolossi castle, a small one, surrounded by houses all over the place,  it's like part of the neighborhood, I enjoyed that, it looked more like an ancient 3 story villa with some annexes outside, I bet it was a nice place to live back in the days :)

Next stop was Cyprus' most famous and biggest site: The ancient city of Kourion. Now this was actually a city, with normal houses, a temple, a bath house and all the works, according to historians it was a thriving little city and the rulers took great effort to make it a good place to work and live, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 365AD with a lot of families killed under the ruins, but the ruins lived until this day to tell the story, and give an insight of how people used to live back then. Now when you step into the little visitors' center near the entrance and parking lot, and look at the scale model of the area, don't get alarmed, it's not as huge as it looks, we walked by all the sights on that model in far less time than we expected to.

And you might hear or read a lot about the birth place of Aphrodite or Petra tou romiou (translated the rock of the roman), but it's just that: A rock. It's one of those you find on some shores standing high a bit off the shore, so it's a picturesque area, nice to sit at the beach there and take photos, but it is a rock. Apparently there's the temple of Aphrodite nearby that area but we haven't been there.

So Sightseeing in Cyprus: Very good! (but now the post is getting too long, and therefore more in later posts)