Thursday, February 26, 2009

Costa Cruise Day 6: Cyprus

Editors's note: Um, just in case you don't follow this blog religiously (Hi Mom!) and have no idea why I am suddenly blogging about a Costa Cruise and a trip to Cyprus, please feel free to reference the posts from December in which I promised to highlight my Christmas cruise... um, yes, I am still going. ;) And we all want to see Egypt, right? Which means we have to talk about Cyprus first, patience, patience.

On our sixth day of our cruise, and our second to last departure point, we went to the island of Cyprus. Everyone knows that Cyprus has a very varied history, so it was interesting to be able to visit a country that up until recently was divided by a wall, marking the northern Turkish boundary clearly from its southern Greek neighbors. We stayed in the Greek part during our trip, and visited some of the major tourist sites... one thing to note here though is that Cyprus, at least when we visited it, was not very pretty. I mean, sure it was nice - great beaches, clear blue water, vineyard covered hillsides. But during one of the worst droughts on records, Cyprus became a little lack luster. In the end, the culture and village charm brought out the country's charm.
We visited this area of ruins for starters, called the Temple of Apollo. It was nice, but after all the ruins in Athens I was a bit ruined out if you know what I mean. Nonetheless, it was nice.

Then after the Temple of Apollo, we took a short drive to Kourion, the main historical attraction of the area with its ancient ruins, thermal bath, Roman theater and beautiful mosaics of the 2nd century A.D.
Here I am sitting on said amphitheater and below are said mosaics. I don't lie.
The theater's accoustics were incredible and you cannot beat that view. Imagine watching a performance here! Wow!

Oh yeah, and this is the remainder of the baths... it is not much now, definately not like these baths, but they were something special at one time, no doubt... (so over ruins... sorry for the lack of enthusiasm!). I am amazed though by two things - how they made this and that it still stands. That counts for something, right?

Afterwards, we drove to the traditional and picturesque village of Omodos, which was a welcome site after more miles of barren wasteland - er, I mean Cyprus countryside in the midst of a severe drought.

When in Omodos, repeat after me, EAT THE BREAD. You cannot miss this Greek speciality. I cannot really describe it but it is like a cross between a bagel and a sweet bun, more sweet really, and the sesame seeds and honey flavor did it for me. Oh boy. I was stuffed with carbs for the bus ride back, indeedy.

Omodos is also well known for their wine and for lace. Oh how I would love to be into lace in Omodos, but I am a more modern typ. But the handiwork is incredible.

If you have time, go for a wine tasting at one of the local shops and take a stroll through the narrow streets. We did not have much time in Omodos, but we enjoyed shopping and strolling and stuffing bread in our faces.
Again, I cannot help but think that Cyprus would live up to its flashy tourist commercials more in the summer time - with the beaches, lush vineyard filled countryside, and tropical oasises to be had. However, the culture is interesting and if you are not ruined out it is a great place to soak in the history as there are said to be ruins around every corner in Cyprus - that is if they dug them all up!

I promise to highlight the last location of the cruise next week - Egypt!
Boy was that an experience... ;)


Amanda said...

Cool photos! I love watching all the travel commercials on CNN. The one for Cyprus totally makes it look like you'll arrive and immediately share a big meal with a Cypriot (had to look that up) family - definitely leaving out the part about it being ridden with drought!

MrsTina said...

That bread looks delicious!


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