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Published: June 27th 2016
LarnacaDay 154 Monday 20th June 2016 – Yerevan to Larnaca (Cyprus)
Main Drag at dusk
Leaving Asia behind today and moving onto Europe, maybe not Western Europe, but the fringe. We would have loved to have had an afternoon flight so we could have arrived fresh as a daisy at Cyprus but instead we had to get the very early morning flight at 5am. Up at the completely unnatural time of 2.00am for a quick shower and then coffee in the hotel kitchen, the staff also offered us yoghurts. All the staff have been wonderful at the Hotel Kantar and after the first 2 nights the noisy guests moved out, so it has been a good (and eventually quiet) option. Arrived at the airport at 3am got through security quickly, well I (Shelley) did, Scott got a new guy who double checked everything or maybe he just thought Scott looked sus. The plane left at 5am and flight was under 3 hours so a nice easy one to Athens where it was a 3 hours wait. The next flight was delayed about 15 mins and then it was only 2 hours to Larnaca, all in all not too long except
A whole lot of Tat
we both only got 2 hours sleep. So we were getting a little delirious from lack of sleep, maybe we should have done what the lady near us on the plane did popped a valium and went to sleep while her two small children crawled up and down the aisle and threw their doll at other passengers ahh… the fun of planes.
Got a taxi to the hotel for a painful 15 euro but exactly the amount LP quotes and no hassle so all good. We got dropped less than half a small block from the hotel as there is a festival here and the main beach street is closed and other streets diverted. Checked in and thought we would go for a walk but somehow we closed our eyes for a second and ended up having a Nana nap waking up 2 hours later. The temperature is a beautiful 37 degrees so definitely the warmest so far although Scott would use hottest as he dissolved into a pool of sweat walking around the streets.
The festival is a bit on the lame side looking like a bad sideshow alley with skill games and
Outside the Agios Lazaros
the most amazing lot of old tat that we have seen for prizes, most of it looks like it has been doing the circuit for the last twenty years. Had dinner at a small café only to discover the owner had lived in Sydney before returning to marry and were soon meeting the extended family who were visiting from Australia.
Had a drink at a café on the beach and checked out the crowds of people but will do the live music thing tomorrow when we are a bit more energetic. Day 155 Tuesday 21st June 2016 – Larnaca (Cyprus)
Great night sleep and went to check out breakfast, yesterday the receptionist had warned us it was “simple”. It was simple but had good coffee, cake, cereal and lots of fresh fruit so all good. Went for a long walk checking out the area there is an old fort here which we walked passed don’t want to do everything at once. Really there is not a lot to see but the beach is sand and not stones like the Black Sea so it is more
Public Bath house
comfortable to walk on. Stopped at a café for an iced coffee and continued to walk until Scott said enough as it is 35 degrees. (I agree completely with the old Noel Coward song about “mad dogs and Englishmen out in the midday sun” and see no reason to be standing in it – Scott).
We retreated back to the Air con in our room and didn’t venture out till midafternoon. Checked out all the rubbish to be won down at the beach boulevard before parking in a restaurant bar to watch the world pass by. Most of the restaurants along the beachfront charge 3.5 – 4 euros for 0.5 litre beer although some will charge the same for a 0.33 litre beer. Down towards the fort end is a collection of cheap kebab type restaurants that only charge 2 – 2.5 euros for 0.5 litre beer. Last night and tonight we have parked in the same one and it is full of lots of very loud British expat women, which made for some interesting entertainment. Tonight we opted to eat here as well and although the food was cheap it wasn’t exactly gourmet. Because of the
Ruins of the Basilica
festival running this week the street along the beach is closed to traffic and is filled with families enjoying the vibe. To spoil everything a pair of young children whose mother was at the bar were roaring up and down the street on motorised scooters at about 40km/hr. I cannot tell you how many people they nearly hit including small children. In the end we left because we didn’t want to witness the inevitable accident, and wandered up the back streets to some funkier but more expensive bars. Day 156 Wednesday 22nd June 2016 – Larnaca (Cyprus)
For some reason Michele was dragging me out of bed at 8.15, when we really didn’t have anything planned today. First on the agenda is the Agios Lazaros which is a 9th
Century Byzantine church, and is just across the road from our hotel. The church was built in 890 when they discovered the bones of Lazarus in a tomb bearing the inscription “Lazarus friend of Christ”. As you are probably aware by now I am very skeptical about religious artifacts but it is known that after Jesus woke Lazarus from
Come in spinner
his sleep he had to flee Bethany and ended up here, so it probably was his bones. The Byzantines ended up moving his bones to Constantinople and then in 1204 the third crusaders dragged them off to Marseille, but like all good religious artifacts there is a twist in the tale. In 1972 human remains were discovered under the church altar and they now believe these are the true bones of Lazarus and fake ones were sent off to Constantinople, so Lazarus who was granted two lives has now two sets of bones. The church is beautiful inside and out and you are able to walk down into the crypt to see where his bones once sat, and up top there is a large silver box which we assume housed the extra set of bones.
After our religious experience we did what we did yesterday and that was to walk down to the café down near the beach for a feed and a coffee. I got an English breakfast for 5 euros that was good value and included fatty sausages that were divine. Haven’t eaten anything so artery choking like this since I was a kid when
all those do-gooders ruined my life by introducing lean meat. Of course if I hadn’t switched to lean meat I probably wouldn’t have made my 21st
birthday. From here Shelley dragged me all around the back streets of Larnaca window shopping till I was sweating all that lard out of me and I couldn’t go on any more. Once again we retreated back to the air con in our room.
At night we headed back to the main drag and had a few beers at our usual bar before moving on to somewhere else for a feed. Ended the night by stopping off at a few of the bars in the back streets which are more lively than the beach side ones. Moving on tomorrow so we behaved ourselves and got home before midnight. Day 157 Thursday 23rd June 2016 – Larnaca to Limassol
Moving day and going by an afternoon bus so we could sleep in till 8.00. Took our Merry old time packing the bags and didn’t check out till 11. Walked 10 minutes to Scott’s favourtie café which is opposite where the buses leave
to Limassol (Lemesos) and parked ourselves there till the 1.00pm bus arrived – it’s a hard life. There is the usual luggage compartment at the side of the bus but here it is self-service so just throw your bags in close it up and pay the driver 4 euros as you get on the bus. It took 1.5hrs through very dry countryside to get to Limassol and you can understand why there are bad fires in the mountain region at the moment. We have been watching the fire-fighting planes flying around and unfortunately 2 men have lost their lives battling the fires. The other things we have noticed are all the wind turbines and solar panels it good to see all the alternative energy sources.
Arrived at 2.30pm and had about a 15 minute walk with the backpacks, not too bad except that it is 37 degrees and there was no shade along the way. We are staying in an apartment so needed to call the owner to let him know we have arrived meaning another 10 minutes in the sun. By the time we got into our new home Scott looked like he had just hoped
Side show alley
out of the sea, and was squelching in his boots. The place is lovely, it is a distance from the beach but has sea views from the windows and a roof terrace. We picked up some supplies down the road and then sat in front of the Air Con for a couple of hours till Scott’s core body temp dropped to normal. Had a shower and went down town for a look around and a feed. Ended up at the Il Castello restaurant for a couple of beers and then decided to stay for dinner. The food ended up being sensational and wins hands down the best feed we have had on Cyprus and for that matter Greece. On the expensive side but we will be back tomorrow. Going home was a real battle as I forgot to take our GPS and we got hopelessly lost in the back lanes of the town. After about an hour and double tracking a dozen times we worked out the simple mistake we were doing, “ahhh we should have turned left here and not gone straight ahead”. One corner equaled one hour of confusion. Day 158
Agios Lazaros at night
June 2016 – Limassol
In our own apartment which feels great. Slept in and then made ourselves coffee and had a slow start to the day that included phone calls home where we got good news about my Dad’s health. Believe Shelley lighting a candle for him in the church of Lazarus may have done the trick.
Here for a few days so we thought today we would have a good walk over the city and see the sights. This city has two names with the Greeks calling it Limassol and the Turkish calling it Lemesos, and although the Greeks retain ownership you still see the name Lemesos heaps. First stop today was the brand new port/marina, and to marvel over the wealth tied up to wharves, and wonder how often their owners actually get to take them for a spin. Stopped at a café and blew the budget on a couple of smoothies before moving onto the towns number one tourist site.
The Limassol castle that stands today is a 14th
Century Ottoman fortress that was built on top of an earlier Byzantine fortress. This was the spot
Inside the Agios Lazaros
where the legendary Richard the Lionheart stopped on the way to the Holy land and married his wife Berengaria after taking the island off the Byzantines. The castle used to be a lot larger but the ottomans reduced it in size and in the basement you can make out the foundation and floor plan of the church, which used to sit inside the castle walls. This was where Berengaria was crowned Queen of England and Richard proclaimed himself King of Cyprus. Sort of strange sometimes to be standing in a spot where history was made, although almost completely forgotten. As stated the castle is small but filled with lots of artifacts and it is great checking out all the altered stonework and additions from Byzantine to Franks, to Ottomans and finally British.
After the castle we had a lovely walk over the town till I (Scott) was squelching in my boots once again as the 37 degree heat started to kill me. Retreated back to our apartment at 3 for a couple of hours of rest. For dinner we returned to Ill Castello for another great feed of Greek Salad and pork.
LarnacaDay 159 Saturday 25th June 2016 – Limassol
In the crypt inside the Agios Lazaros
Shelley cooked up Bacon and Eggs this morning for breakfast, which was a great way to start a day that was to turn lousy. Off to visit the ancient town of Kourion today and to get there we are going via bus, and luckily for us the bus station is only a ten minute walk away. The bus station is located in the hospital grounds and is a little ad hoc but the locals were there to make sure we got the right bus. As we got on we told the driver that we wanted to go to Kourion just to make sure he would get us there. He made no acknowledgement that he understood us, but that can be fairly typical of the laid back Greeks. The bus trip was a bit of a milk run weaving through the back streets of several villages before we finally got to the Kourion, where the bus driver told us where we had to go to get the bus back and that the last bus would be at 3.50, which was a great help. We also discovered later that
Lazarus second set of bones - Agios Lazaros
this bus wasn’t supposed to go out to Kourion but was to terminate at the town before but our driver must have decided to take us here – top guy.
Now if you are ever to get this bus to the ancient site of Kourion or the nearby beach of Kourion, you will find yourself dumped at the bottom of the hill below Kourion, and it is a good 15 minute walk uphill to it, and to get to the beach it is another 20 minutes walk along the road in the other direction. We trudged up the hill in the 35 degree heat and spent about 90 minutes looking over the ancient ruins. It is believed that the town was settled in the 13th
Century BC by the Myceneans, then came the Ptolmies, Romans, Byzantine Christians. One culture on top of another, getting bigger and stronger till the inevitable earthquake hit followed by Arab raiders and soon the town was gone not to be rediscovered till the 1800’s. The site is well looked after with lots of huge roofs protecting the best of the ruins and preserving the many mosaics. Maybe not as spectacular and as
Main Drag at night
vast as Ephesus and some of the other ancient sites we have seen but it was still great to be wandering around – despite the intense heat. The most interesting structure we spotted was the foundations of a pyramid structure that was built over by the Romans, not a huge pyramid but curious as to who built it and why.
After our long walk in the sun we needed to cool down so we did the long walk back down the hill and onto the beach. Had expected the water to be really cold but it was actually really warm, so much so that Shelley couldn’t keep out of it. Because we had our cameras with us we had to take turns into going for a dip, but it was a perfect way to cool down. Vowed to come back tomorrow without our bags so we could spend longer in the water. After a couple hours on the beach we walked back to the bus stop just as our bus arrived, and we got back to our apartment at Limassol. Planned on doing some laundry but when we go to the laundry room we discovered that the
one and only washing machine was broken – damn as we had all our swimmers and a huge bag of laundry to do.
For dinner we decided to head over to the market area where there is a large selection of trendy bars and restaurants, because it was only 7 most were still shut or just opening (as 10pm seems to be dinner time here), so we settled into a small local restaurant for a couple of beers and to watch Euro 2016 on the TV. Ended up staying for dinner and I got my first Moussaka in Cyprus and it wasn’t too bad. Just before we got our dinner we had to do a toilet run, with Shelley going first and she found them upstairs in the restaurant, and on her return she warned me “watch out for the last two steps as they are hard to see in the dark and they are not where you expect them”. No worries saw them going up but coming back down in the dark I didn’t. Missed the first one rolled my ankle and crashed against the wall and tumbled down on the steps screaming profanities. The owner
Mosaic and the great view
was just downstairs didn’t offer any assistance or acknowledgement but he did then turn on the lights – gee thanks mate, that might have helped me a minute ago. Didn’t break anything but my ankle was a mess and had to limp back to the table in agony. Shelley of course was all sympathy “I told you to watch out for the last two steps” and couldn’t believe I hadn’t killed myself. Soon as we finished our meal we headed home as I knew it would only get worse and wanted to get home before me ankle seized. Back home it looked like my ankle was giving birth to a golf ball, so there goes our plans for tomorrow. Day 160 Sunday 26th June 2016 – Limassol
Woke up in a fair level of discomfort but not as bad as I thought but knew I would need to rest it as much as I can today as tomorrow I have a long walk ahead of me with a backpack on. We don’t like wasting a day sitting around doing nothing but all I could do was a weird slow shuffle,
Base of the weird Pyramid structure
and so spent the morning with my foot on a pillow whilst Shelley cooked up breakfast and cursing me for being so clumsy. There wasn’t much I was capable of doing today other than hop or shuffle, so spent all day laying flat with an elevated leg. Late in the afternoon Shelley decided to get me a take away dinner, but I thought I would go with her but only managed to shuffle half a block while Shelley walked the 10 blocks there and back. Later in the evening Shelley opted to watch a 70’s Greek movie that I am sure wouldn’t have made any more sense if you understood Greek and maybe it was her revenge for spoiling her planned day at the beach, so I called it an early night, by which time my foot was screaming.
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