SUNDAY OCTOBER 4 – Paphos Cypress
Until this trip we really did not know there was a Country of Cypress. Officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, off the coasts of Syria and Turkey. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union.
However – The Republic of Cyprus is partitioned into two main parts: The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, in the north, (recognized only by Turkey) and the area under control of the Republic in the south. This dividing line goes right through the capital city. It is like a civil war but no one is fighting…. The occupation in the north is viewed as illegal under international law, and, the Turkish military has stolen the homes and land of native Greek Cyprians. The majority of people residing on the island consider themselves Turkish Cyprians or Greek Cyprians, but always Cyprians. Meaning they really should be their own independent country. Many people expressed they had felt/hoped Obama would somehow solve this.
Cyprus was our only tour purchased thru the Cruise Line. Azamara had a very favorable cost for a bus tour to the Archaeological Site of Kourion, that then ended in the City of Limassol, where there was a medieval castle. It sounded like an efficient way to see the notable architecture at a relaxing pace. Until this day we had been walking walking walking all over the place, so an AIR CONDITIONED bus ride sounded nice. We did get a bus with midpoint doors which was nice for loading and unloading at the various places we went to. The tour guide was very informative, spoke good English, and had a thorough cultural understanding of the island. She was a Cyprian!
We boarded the bus in Paphos – the port city. After a short ride we pulled over at a lookout point that we were told was the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite.
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. Her birth was the consequence of a castration: Cronus severed Uranus’ genitals and threw them behind him into the sea. The foam from his genitals gave rise to Aphrodite, her name, meaning “foam-arisen”. The girl, Aphrodite, floated ashore on a scallop shell – at this beautiful place! The event depicted here in a painting by Sandro Botticelli.
We got to take pictures and enjoy the view but then someone told us it was time to get back on the bus (the part I don’t like about tours). On the map the places we went don’t look very far apart but that would be how the crow flies… We traveled on winding roads, up and down…. We were headed next to the Archaeological Site of Kourion. The name is misleading, in that the word “site” is singular…. It is more like a region, a city or a kingdom, there are multiple places to stop and it would be quite a walk from one to the next.
Our first stop was at a settlement that surrounded The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates – a god worshipped on the island of Cyprus who was later likened to the Greek God Apollo, or Apollo of the woods. He was worshipped from the 3rd century BC until the 3rd century AD. The area where we walked around had ruins from a temple, baths, a circular monument, which was probably destined for processions or dances around a grove of sacred trees.
Once again we were rounded up and pointed toward the bus….. it was time to move on. We headed down the road to a larger portion of Kourion, where we were to see ancient mosaic floors! I am amazed by mosaics! putting together pieces of square tile to form an image, in this case of People, Patterns, Animals and even Words!!
One of the mosaics with letters was a welcoming mat at the main entrance of the palace (home) that says “Enter to thy good fortune and may thy coming bless this house” . I think I will make something for my door that says this! I think it means that when you welcome another to your home they will receive good fortune from you upon entering and in turn bless you with their presence in some way…. I like it.
While new excavations continue to reveal impressive treasures. Kourion is noted particularly for its magnificent Greco – Roman Theatre!
After experiencing the Theater we took off down a path – – hoping there was more, but then decided that “more” was way too far and the bus was going to be looking for us again…. I had seen an unusual tree in full bloom so we wandered past it…
We headed back up to the tourism building where we attempted to buy a postcard for Cody Lewis and a Coloring Book for Suzee, but some lady in front of us was worried about paying 5 cents too much for something and she couldn’t calculate the money conversion… so we gave up and got back on the bus.
Although we did only stop at two of the possible 3 or 4 areas we were satisfied. We had seen all the Architectural ruins we needed for that day 🙂 The bus was headed for Limassol for some free time. The description of the tour had noted that there was a Medieval Castle in Limassol, unfortunately it had closed before we arrived. This is what some times what happens when the tours are run by the locals. The description of the tour may not be updated by date and time that your ship is in port. We were here on a Sunday….
When we arrived in Limassol we were dropped in tourism heaven – souvenir shops everywhere! Unfortunately we didn’t need any souvenirs, so we took a stroll around town. We had an ice cream cone, looked at the architecture, stumbled on another wedding, listened to street musicians, visited with an artist – and purchased a painting….. got a local Starbucks type coffee and some wifi, then back on the bus! We frequently purchase local, ORIGINAL, “Street Art”, and have a room in our house that is fully decorated with just original vacation art.
We had a very nice day but we agree that next time we will walk to the ruins at the base of the ship in Paphos. The House of Dionysos and a Midieval Castle of Paphos, and Paphos Mosaics – is just about right at the port! This is actually what we were planning to do but Azamara’s bus tour was VERY well priced!
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