Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cyprus, Part Two: Kourion and Paphos

We took three guided tours with Ascot Travel. My parents didn't come on the first tour, partly because of accessibility issues, partly because they had visited the main sites before. This tour took us west of Limassol to Kourion and Paphos, with a few other sites included.

The tour started with a visit to the archaeological site of Kourion. Interestingly, the site is accessed by roads passing through the British military bases. We saw the ancient theatre and some impressive mosaics. The site was almost empty of visitors, and there was a bit of sea breeze to cool down the hot temperatures.

Next, we visited Aphrodite's Birthplace (Petra tou Romiou), a rock out in the sea where Aphrodite supposedly emerged from the waves. This was quite a busy tourist stop, and I enjoyed a rose sorbet at the ice cream stand in the souvenir shop.

Our next stop was Geroskipou village, where we visited Arsinoe factory for Cyprus Delight (loukoumi). This was a small, family operation using an old recipe and we bought some souvenirs.

Kato Paphos Archaeological site is very large. First we visited St. Paul's Pillar, where St. Paul was supposedly tied up and lashed by the residents of Paphos when he preached Christianity. The pillar is surrounded by a few churches, only one of which is still standing.

After a break for lunch at the Marina, we explored the lower part of the archaeological park, where we saw some of the best-preserved mosaics from the Hellenistic-Roman period. The site contained a few routes that were accessible to wheelchairs, and also had informational plaques in braille. I found this a bit strange, because surely any blind or vision-impaired visitor would be accompanied by a sighted person who could describe the site or read the informational plaques. But perhaps this is appreciated by some visitors.

I feel really privileged to have seen these mosaics, and the rest of the places we visited. It was an enjoyable tour, though it was hot and humid most of the time.

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