Thursday, 17 January 2013

Limassol, Cyprus

Aphrodites Rock
Another port day, another day of sunny blue skies! We met up with, Natalie, our private tour guide, and hopped into our minibus for our day in Cyprus. It was a much smoother bus compared to the one we had in Turkey!  I must comment that I was surprised to discover that Cypriots drive on the left hand side of the road! I learnt that this was a legacy of British rule. We had been so accustomed to the driving on the right that it felt strange! We were then informed that there is only one tunnel in Cyprus and "local custom" states that you should make a wish upon entering the tunnel and if you can hold your breath until the other side your wish will come true. We were not sure if this applied to the driver! Malcolm wished for Jonah to be a good boy today. Jonah wished to eat chicken. Both of their wishes came true. Elliot, in typical fashion, wished for more wishes so we will have to wait and see. For those interested, the tunnel was 900m long. 

Our first stop was Aphrodite Rock, the place which the Cypriots believe Aphrodite came out of the sea. Legend has it that whoever finds a heart shaped stone will be lucky in love for the next year. Albanys and Baharis must be awesomely lovable as we all found heart shaped stones! We then stopped by Asprokremnos Dam before we headed for the Donkey Farm at Kelokedara Village. Cyprus has a dry climate and relied on winter rainfall for its supply. Out of 27 rivers, only 2 remain filled with water year round. Dams were necessary to help control water supply for the island.  

My heart shaped rock...time Malcolm to pull up his socks this year!

So pretty everywhere you look

Enjoying the space to run around

2nd largest dam in Cyprus
Our van took us most of the way to the Kelokedara Village but we eventually had to leave our comfortable bus for a "chicken bus". The roads down to the village were built to old Cypriot standards: two donkeys wide. The "chicken bus" was a 1950s Bedford Bus with a speedometer that didn't work and what looked like a hand cranked starter motor. A high jump was required to get in - or for those who were unable,  a brief Torvill and Dean manouevre sufficed. 

The chicken bus took us where no other tourist bus were in sight. We bounced our way through the gorgeous Cypriot mountainside and down to the Donkey Farm. Our donkeys were ready and waiting for us to hop on. The children thought it was an awesome thing to do. Some of the adults were not so sure. We soon discovered that a donkey will do what a donkey wants to do. Mostly this involved veering off the track to eat something tasty or to try and steal something tasty from another donkey. All the donkeys had names. None of them were called "Wonky Donkey", but we did have a Wonky Opa who looked like he was about to fall off at any second! The donkey belonging to Jonah and I was "Michael Jackson", Ryuji required the biggest donkey, "Limousine". This was no "Happy Limo". Our donkeys gave us a nice tour of the Cypriot countryside despite their idiosyncrasies  We all returned in one piece and jumped back in the chicken bus which took us across the river and on to the monastery built in the 13th century. We had free time to explore the ruins and were rewarded with oranges from the farm at the end.

We returned to the farm to find lunch ready. It was feast of local foods which included cypriot style couscous, grilled haloumi with honey, and grilled meat. They were also generous with the wine. After a good meal, one naturally had to dance...It was impossible to say no! So with music blaring, the whole family boogied Cypriot style.

It was a day filled with so much fun. The chicken bus then took us to our normal bus which returned us back to our ship tired but sated. We had a few moments to rest before dinner at the Italian restaurant where our cruise director, Gary, sang Italian favourites accompanied by the ship's orchestra. It was a great way to end a great day. Unfortunately, I had to abandon my strict regime of wearing my jeans multiple times. My knee had brushed up against one too many donkey's butt today!

Our "chicken bus"

I'm amazed this photo had any clarity...the ride was so bumpy!

The beautiful Cypriot mountainside

Snacks on arrival

The Donkey Farm

The donkeys

Crossing the river in the chicken bus

13th Century Monastery

Oranges from the farm

Lunch time!

A dancing demonstration in national dress

Anything you can do I can do better!

Let's dance!

...and dance... for some individual flair

there is no place for shyness in this family!

Some Italian to end the day

The talented musicians who entertained us with Italian classics

No comments:

Post a Comment