Situated between the resort towns of Ayia Napa and Protaras in the far southeast of Cyprus, is a little slice of natural beauty called Cape/Cavo/Kavo/Capo Greco. Covering some 3.85 square kilometres, this peninsula provides a wide range of active opportunities including hiking, cycling, diving, fishing and swimming. Equally delicious when seen from land or water, this is another of one of those must-dos, when visiting Cyprus.
You just have to love a place that refers to itself as “new”, when it was actually founded over 1,400 years ago. The modern day Paphos where we are staying, was first named Nea Paphos or New Paphos in 400 AD having come into prominence after “old” Paphos (or Palaipafos) went into decline due to the Romans banning the worshiping of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there is heaps to keep you occupied no matter how long your stay is.
Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, sexual pleasure, and fertility plays a feature role in Cyprus’s history. Paphos in the south west of the country is credited as on of the chief centres of her cult worship (alongside Corinth) for a period possibly beginning in the late to the early third millennium BC and lasting up until 400 AD. Nowadays, you’ll see her name associated with UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Sanctuary of Aphrodite Paphia), Rocks (Aphrodite’s Rock), cave pools (Baths of Aphrodite), golf course resorts (Aphrodite Hills), numerous wines and countless restaurants and hotels on the island.
The Troodos Mountains has an astounding array of stunningly beautiful villages waiting to be explored. We’ve lost count of the number of villages that we’ve driven through and that we could easily have spent half a day in. There are a number that we have managed to spend some time in, albeit never enough, which we’ve laid out below. Let the wars commence for Cyprus’s most prettiest village.
We’re in Lofou up in the Troodos Mountains, alongside a grand total of 50 permanent inhabitants and approximately six other tourists that we’ve seen so far. The town has a whole two sentences dedicated to it on Wikipedia, the first of which states how close it is to another town. Yet, even this early in our trip, I’ve got a feeling it is definitely going to be one of our most memorable places that we’ll stay.
We’re always trying to think of cool things to do for the kids. My solutions such as going for a run or visiting a pile of rocks masquerading as ruins or looking at another castle/church/museum for some reason don’t always get that enthusiastic a response. Veronica, however, tends to come up with experiences that get a whole lot more traction.
Our stay in Larnaca began with a short walk down the Piale Pasha Promenade admiring the sea on our right and numerous eateries to our left. It was here that we found the Militzis Traditional Restaurant, which served amazing kleftiko. So good, we went for two massive portions of both beef (to die for) and lamb with accompanying potatoes. I’m guessing this is traditional peasant fare as it doesn’t come with anything fancy like sauces, but when you’re a decent slab of meat that has been slow cooked for hours and hours to perfection, you definitely don’t need them. The best thing was that we were also able to take the left over spuds (I was a guts and devoured all of the mountains of meat) to fry up in the morning with tomatoes for breakfast.
The big Joppa as it was known in biblical days, is a city that now goes by the name of Jaffa and is part of the twosome that makes up Tel-Aviv Yafo city. Stretching back to at least 7,500 BC, the city has made the highlights reel in the Hebrew Bible four times and is extremely prominent in the Christian Bible, through the stories of Saint Peter and Jonah (the whale guy rather than the All Black). Within spitting distance of the beaches of Tel Aviv, this is a place that requires multiple visits (as we did on three separate occasions), in order to even scratch the surface.
We’ve really changed up venues. There’s a distinct smell of sea salt, sunscreen and ganga in the air and even away from the gorgeous beaches, every second person we walk past is either dressed in a bikini or has no shirt on. Worse, there’s a large proportion also dressed as hipsters. You’ve guessed it, we’re in Tel Aviv, baby.
If you haven't been to the Baha’i Gardens then you have been nowhere. If you follow the Baha'i religion or are interested in it, then this is the place to go. Grace, beauty and elegance will fill the air as you walk in. You will feel like you are in a wonderland of unity. I think harmony, tranquility and peace shines upon it from heaven. The thought of going somewhere magical like the Baha’i Gardens just lifts my heart.
You could spend a hundred years exploring Jerusalem and not see everything on offer. We tried our best with the six days we had and will come away extremely happy with what we did see. Walking the Via Dolorosa, ascending the Mount of Olives, chilling in the Garden Tomb and squeezing our way through The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem all hold special memories now. Dispersed amongst all of those places, we also saw plenty of other sights worth talking about. The following is a quick rundown of some of the other cool things we saw whilst wandering around.
For every main biblical event that we’ve encountered so far, there seems to be multiple places claiming that the actual event of significance took place there. Jesus’s tomb is no different, with at least three different places vying for the spot of his crucifixion and entombment. We’d already visited the first, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The bookies second favourite is a place called the Garden Tomb, which was first put forward as a potential site for his crucifixion in 1842.
It definitely seems like our luck has changed for the better. We’ve moved out of the Russian Compound down Hebron Road to an Arab part of East Jerusalem, called Beit Safafa. Situated along the Green Line, up until the Six-Day War in 1967, the town was under Jordanian rule, after which it became part of Israeli (disputed) territory.
You can’t help but soak up religious history when you’re in Jerusalem. Everywhere you turn there are religious buildings, sites or icons vying for your attention. Having had a quick peek at what the Russians and Ethiopians had on offer, we headed off to journey in the final footsteps of one of the most influential men to have walked the earth, Jesus Christ.