The historic Cyprus

We're going on a daytrip to Paphos. The bus leaves at 8.45 so I have arranged a wake up call, but Helle is already in the bathroom when the telephone rings. This isn't a computer call, but a live and kind voice saying: "Good morning, this is your wake up call."

The bus arrives a bit late to Kition Corner. It has picked up passengers at the beach resorts first, so to get a seat we need to go to the rear. Here the seats are occupied by sleeping teenage girls and we need to wake them up so they can continue to sleep in an upright position. There's a school class of teenagers and most of them are very tired.

Half way to Limassol we stop for a coffee break at a cafeteria with a gas station and a souvenir shop. On the hilltop are some Neolithic excavations, but time and energy is not for archaeological hill climbing, so we just prepare ourselves by visiting the bathroom.


First stop is Kourion, which is some 15 to 20 km west of Limassol. Here, on a hilltop with a marvellous view over the sea, lie the ruins of an old city-state, which was founded 12-1400 BC. Three major earthquakes in the fourth century almost levelled the city. Today some of the ruins have been excavated and archaeologists are still digging.

Floor mosaic in Kourion The amphi theatre in Kourion
Click to enlarge

The antique amphi theatre is restored and still used on special occasions. In the ruins of a nearby villa are some impressive floor mosaics. The pleasure suffers a bit from a heavy shower, but it doesn't last long.

The guide, Pampos, tells that the city's water source was 10 km away - they used pipes. Pampos speaks Swedish, but it is easy to understand because he speaks slowly.

Aphrodite's birth place

Aphrodite's birth place

On the way North by the sea there's a photo stop at a view point where you can see the rock, which is said to be the goddess Aphrodite's birth place. There are several rocks and exactly which one Pampos points to is a bit unclear, but there's a way to find out: According to legend you'll get 10 years younger if you swim around the rock.

I don't know why one should do it only once - 10 years isn't much - but on second thought the current looks very strong and I would not recommend the exercise.


The trip continues to the harbour of Paphos. Paphos is an old city and was the Roman's head quarters when they ruled the island. You can still see the ruins of the temple where Paulus was allegedly flogged. They even point out the pillar to which he was tied.

A vast area inside the old city walls has been excavated, but we only go to Dionysos' villa, which is famous for its floor mosaics. Over the excavated floors is an airy building and birds thrive under the roof.

Pampos knows his Greek mythology and explains the mosaics' motives in great detail. The teenagers are bored stiff and some just sit in the shadows waiting for him to finish.

Floor mosaics in Dionysos' villa

The four seasons Peacock Dionysos
Ikarios Hunting scene with muflon sheep

We could easily have spent hours here, but lunch has been arranged at the "Kastro Tavern" by the harbour. The name probably derives from the view to the medieval fort - a fort is "kastro" in Greek.

I wonder if Fidel knows that? Paphos is on the west coast and the sea is rougher than in Larnaca. As on the west coast back home there's a fresh wind coming in from the sea. The smell however is not of salt and seaweed, but rather kebab'ish from the harbour taverns.

Kastro Tavern is a true tourist trap where even mousaka is served with lazy chips. Helle and I have ordered Afelia, a pork dish, and even though the meat is tasty the overall impression with soft chips, dry bread and meagre salad is a tourist menu of the worst kind.

We are back home at five and go to Julios for coffee, but Julios is closing. It is Wednesday - "little Saturday" - and many shops are closed in the afternoon. Instead we go to Hobo's on the promenade.

Two youngsters are having fun with a very noisy motorbike, and a little girl is playing with a small green ball. The ball disappears and she is close to tears. We just vegetate and then continue to The Meeting Pub.

The tourist lunch has destroyed our appetite (our own stupidity), and instead of going to Militzis we have a light meal at the pub - "No, no chips with the kebab please".

The soccer match Roma-Lazio is on Skysport, but that match is of no local or English interest, so the sound is muffled and replaced by radio pop. A heavy shower postpones our leaving, but not for long.