Thursday, 29 September 2016

Living Simply in Cyprus

Red dragonflies hover above the water. In the distance, beyond the pool, the land undulates. There are plantings of olive trees and I can hear early morning roosters. 

After last week’s hectic schedule, up at 6.30am and back to our hotel each evening about 6.00pm, our plan now is to relax. And this place is perfect. We are in a small guesthouse in the little village of Maroni, just a short drive from Larnaca airport. Some days we venture out, but on others, we’re happy to simply enjoy the cool and calm of this beautiful spot. 

One day we visit Nicosia, the world’s only divided capital and walk across the border, from Greece to Turkey, and back. There’s tourist trivia on one side, minarets on the other. 

 Another day, we drive to Limassol to stroll the streets and visit Limassol Castle, a fourteenth century structure, built over the remains of an earlier Byzantine castle. It's well laid out and we enjoy the explore. 

Hillside villages such as Tochni are close to Maroni, and so one morning we amble quietly up and down its small streets, past old stone houses clinging tenaciously to rocky hills. There’s a church here in a central square, which claims to be on the original site of one built by Queen Helena in 245 AD. A painting by the entrance to the church shows Constantine and Helena, as if to provide evidence. 

Near the small village of Kiti, we discover the church of Panagia Angeloktisti. Even before we reach the church, I’m intrigued by its name, which means ‘built by angels’. Inside there’s a very old and beautiful mosaic of Mary.

In the evenings we eat at local taverns. Nearby Zygi has a plethora of beachfront fish restaurants. We choose one where the fish is so fresh it practically swims to the table. Another day, we pull ourselves away from the poolside loungers to visit Pafos. Its archeological site houses mosaics reputed to be the most intact in the world. The blue Mediterranean background is beautiful and the mosaics are a highlight of our trip.

Our guidebook says the Troodos Mountains are worth seeing and so we take another day out of our poolside schedule. There’s an early stop by a tavern that advertises a waterfall, but at 5 Euros each to walk to the spot, we decide against it.  

We pass through villages and stop later for lunch in a green-leafed tavern, but when we return home, we wonder if all the driving was worth it, faced with the option of complete idleness. It's a difficult choice.

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