Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cyprus: June 12-16, 1999

It was a scorching summer both in Dubai and in Cyprus when my sister and I decided to visit this Mediterranean nation. It is the 3rd largest island on the Mediterranean sea.

After a 4 hour flight from Dubai, we landed in Limassol, a city known for its pristine clean beaches. Cyprus has a rich history dating back to the Roman empire so archaeological digs can be found everywhere. Since we were not beach lovers, we went on tours that featured all sorts of ruins.

The next day we checked out from our Limassol hotel and made our way to Paphos, a coastal city in the southwestern part of Cyprus. We hired a taxi for the 1 hour drive. It turns out that it wasn't exclusively ours so we ended up picking some locals who alighted at different points during the journey. The aircon of the taxi wasn't functioning well so you can just imagine how unpleasant it was!

He drops us off at the center of the town on a very warm, humid day. We had to make our own way to our hotel which unfortunately was located on the farthest side of the long row of hotels. In fact, it was the very last hotel on that block.

The next day, we joined a tour bus that took us to all the famous sights in Paphos such as the Paphos Castle, the Pillars of Saint Paul and the Melina Hotel pictured below which is said to be the most expensive hotel in Paphos.

Aphrodite's Rock is the birthplace of the goddess of love and fertility, Aphrodite. It is alleged that she rose from the waves of the sea right behind those rocks pictured below. If I knew back then that I would be having infertility problems later on in life, I would have soaked my entire body in those waters just like the other female tourists did back then. Oh well!

The one good thing about our hotel (Kissos Hotel) being the last on the block is that it was just walking distance from a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Tombs of the Kings. A vast expanse of an ancient necropolis. The many tombs which have been cut out of the soft rock are an impressive sight. Several of the most tombs have steps descending to a sunken courtyard surrounded with Doric style columns.

Our last night in Cyprus was spent in Nicosia, the capital. It is also known as Larnaca. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and it is now divided into 2 sections, the Greek side and the Turk side. Towns like Famagusta are now ghost cities and traces of the damage inflicted from the invasion are still evident.

Even though it was very hot during the entire trip, we had a lot of fun. We feasted on local fare, drank their local beer and soaked in the archaeological ruins. But I distinctly remember that the highlight of that Cypriot adventure was seeing my name D-A-P-H-N-E plastered everywhere. After all, it is a very common name in the Greek culture. Somehow it seems I wasn't able to scan the pictures which will prove this but believe me, it was all over the place! =)

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