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liamfarrell Polis - A travel report by Liam
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Polis,  Cyprus - flag Cyprus
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liamfarrell's travel reports

Cyprus Summer 2010

  3 votes
Your correspondent just got back from 10 days in the western part of the Levant - Cyprus. Much seen and felt and much to tell.

Bloodstained history. Cyprus has been enhanced, traversed and stomped over by countless cultures and civilisations.

Polis travelogue picture
Cyprus - situated in the eastern mediterranean has been and is a crossroads between west and east and north and south. In the past the Greek city states came in with the westerly winds, then the Romans, then the Byzantines, then the Lusignans, then the Italian city states, then the Turks and finally the Brits. Now you can see Sri Lankan, Russian, Lithuanian, Romanian, and Chinese faces - not as conquerors but adding to the hoi polloi.

This plethora of peoples is reflected in its cuisine and look of the attractive Cypriot. The land has a smell unique to itself. Cedar and pine in the forests of the Troodos, dried grain grasses from the foothills, oleanders where there is earth to grow, and the ubiquitous sea.

The food is fresh and peasant fare. Nothing better. And the wine from Kathikas is good honest village krasee.

The land is parched and golden. Even if last winter had rain. The many preceding without has scarred the earth with a thirsty semi arid look.

Favourite spots:
Skin diving on the coast abutting the Aphrodite baths in the far west region of Paphos is a delight. Warm med waters, clear as glass, myriad of fish to chase into the old fishermen's nets makes a pleasant late afternoon.

A trip up into the Troodos mountains will take you to UNESCO listed monastries and churches. The frescoes are dramatic and striking. As is the commitment of the Orthodox followers in preserving their icons against countless attempts to destroy the religious pieces and the faith itself. The scraping off of painted eyes on the saints in the frescoes is a sad reminder of a turbulent history.

The taverna 7 St Georges out back of Paphos town is nothing short of wonderful. The old boy George picks the produce wild from the forests or grows it organically, smokes his own meats, brews his own wine, and the women folk cook whilst his sons wait on you. Don't look for a michelin star - such crass rating can't interfere with the honesty and superbness of 7 St Georges.

What's really great:
Apart from the one half frozen mousaka that was served to me on a highway taverna coming out of a major tourist enclave in Paphos - the food is enough of a reason to go to Cyprus. Fresh, fragrant, sometimes a little heavy, wild picked pickled artichokes and herbs and dry village wines to lighten the heavy pork meals. I found it easy to find fresh fish - with seabream and octopi being the premier choice.

Try and get yourself into an old tumbledown cottage in the rolling hills. Slumbering villages dot the landscape.

Other recommendations:
Spoilt for choice sums up the state of affairs for drifting around ancient ruins in and around Paphos. One must visit the Mycenaean Tombs of the Kings and the old ruins down by the port.

Published on Sunday August 8th, 2010

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