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Topic: Third Time Lucky Day 9

  1. #1
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    Default Third Time Lucky Day 9

    We were woken up rather earlier than we liked by a lot of noise. Initially I could not figure out what it was, but then we realised that it was a helicopter overhead. Graham also noticed that we had changed direction. This will never cease to amaze me. He can sense what direction we are going in without any visual cues. The helicopter was overhead for at least an hour. Graham mentioned that he heard an alpha call when he went to the bathroom earlier on. We could not hear announcements in the cabin, but for some reason we could hear them in the bathroom. Somebody on our Facebook group posted a link to an article in one of the Israeli newspapers. According to this, we turned back towards Haifa and a helicopter from the Israeli air force met us to transport the passenger to hospital. Once the helicopter left, we went back to sleep.

    When we woke us at more reasonable hour, we were still at sea and a fair way out of Limassol. We got up and ready. Then we headed to the diamond lounge for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Graham had some fruit, and I had a strawberry yoghurt parfait and a chocolate donut. At some stage, there was an announcement from the captain that we would arrive at Limassol approximately two hours later than scheduled and that they had pushed back all aboard by an hour. We chilled out for a bit longer and then headed back to the cabin once we saw that we were approaching land. We collected what we needed for the day and then went back downstairs. As soon as we were docked, I connected to the internet on my phone. I was expecting to find an email from our tour operator. There was nothing. I knew that quite a lot of people from our Facebook group had booked through the same tour company as well. I posted a question if somebody else heard anything. Somebody had spoken to them and was told that they would be waiting for us as we got off the ship and that we would have enough time for the tour. As soon as the ship was cleared, we got off. We very quickly stopped for some photos and then we got into the line at the table our tour company had set up. We were given an envelope to put in the payment for the tour at the end of the day and were directed to our bus. We did not have to wait long until everybody was there and then we were on our way.





    Our tour guide did not hang about. She introduced herself and before we even left the port, she had started with a potted history of Cyprus. The island has a very colourful history and due to the relative proximity, a lot of this history is shared with Israel. It was all very interesting. Shortly before we arrived at our first stop, she gave out receivers with headsets and also some bottled water.

    Our first stop was Kolossi Castle. This was only a photo stop. The history of this place is fascinating. This castle was built by the crusaders. I am sure under normal circumstances, it is very picturesque, but it is currently being restored and here was a lot of scaffolding around. Ten minutes later, we went back to our bus and went to our next stop, the Kourion Archaeological Site. It was not a particularly long drive, but just long enough for our guide to give us an overview on where this fits into the history of the island.





    When we entered the site, our guide showed us a model on how the site would have looked in ancient times. We then went to the ?House of Eustolios?. This was originally a private villa that was turned into a public recreation centre during the Early Christian period. This area is covered by a plastic roof to protect the site and also protect visitors from the elements. The ?House of Eustolios? consists of the actual villa and then the Roman baths that originally opened off the central room to the north and east. The baths consist cold baths (frigidarium), medium room (tepidarium), and the hot room (caldarium). There are shallow footbaths near the cold baths. You can also see the built-in basins for hot baths as well as the firing chambers and the hypocausts. Essentially this is ancient underfloor central heating. It is amazing how advanced the technology was at the time. There are also some incredibly well-preserved elaborate mosaics.









    We then moved on to the amphitheatre. This was built in the 2nd century BC and extended in the 2nd century AD. The theatre has been restored, and is now used for open-air musical and theatrical performances, mainly during the summer months. Our guide was asking for a volunteer to demonstrate the acoustics of the theatre. We were expecting our volunteer to say something, but she actually sang us a song. The acoustics really are stunning. When I posted a photo of this on Facebook, one of my friends commented that he had attended a performance there. This must have been truly stunning.





    After we visited the amphitheatre, we had a little bit of free time to take photos. I made good use of this and then we went back to the visitor centre to use the bathroom. I also had a quick look at the gift shop. It was only once I was gathering some background information for this trip report that I noticed that we only explored a very small part of the site. There is a lot more there. Still, I appreciated what we saw, and I am aware that time was limited, especially with our late arrival.





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    Once everybody was back on the coach, we drove a little way to Omodos village. Omodos village is in the Troodos mountains and is one of the wine growing villages. The coach dropped us off a little way outside the village and then we walked the short distance into the centre. The local tourist board refers to this as a tourist village and they are definitely right. It is a very picturesque village though. We got to try some of the traditional Arkatena bread. This is a variation of sourdough bread, but the starter is made by fermenting chickpea flour. All kinds of spices are added. This can be either eaten fresh and any leftover bread is dried out in the oven on a low heat to preserve it. This was the version we got to taste, which was very tasty. The fresh version is often sold stuffed with Haloumi, which is a Cypriot cheese. I would have loved to try this, but I had other plans for lunch.

    Our first stop was the Monastery of the Holy Cross. This is the oldest monastery in Cyprus. It is however no longer an active monastery but is now a parish church. It is a very pretty church. It was very busy when we got there. I had a quick look around and decided to come back later when we had some free time. When we left the monastery, we walked down some of the narrow streets to a medieval wine press. We got a crash course about the production of wine. We also learned about the local Zivania spirit that is distilled from the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the grapes. Apparently, this stuff has near mythical properties and is an all-purpose remedy. I rather suspect because the stuff is seriously strong that people no longer care about their ailments once they had some of this.



    After we visited the wine press, our guide walked us back to the square in from of the monastery and then we had some time to explore and get some lunch. I headed back to the monastery to have another look and take some photos. Then I went in search of some lunch. Graham was happy to just sit and enjoy the sunshine. I did not have to look very far. One of my favourite dishes of my childhood was gyros. I was hoping to indulge in this. I found a little caf? that did gyros made either from pork or beef inside a flatbread. I went with the pork option. The portion was huge and contained meat, salad, and different sauces. I took this back to where Graham was sitting. It was absolutely delicious. I did not manage to finish it though.





    Our guide had given us a return time and given us the option to make our own way back to the coach or meet 10 minutes earlier in front of the monastery. At the meeting time, she came through on our headsets to advise that she had to make a little detour to assist some of our group with some shopping and if we started walking towards the bakery where we tried to bread in the morning, she would meet us. We got about halfway when she came from the other direction. Some people were already on the coach, and we were on our way again as soon as we were all on the coach.

    We went further up the mountain and stopped at the Lambouri Winery for a wine tasting. Lambouri Winery is one of the oldest wineries in Cyprus. They are well known for their Commandaria. Commandaria is an amber-coloured sweet dessert wine made in the Commandaria region of Cyprus on the foothills of the Troodos Mountains. It is only produced in a collection of 14 neighbouring villages and there are very strict rules for producing this wine. It is kind of Cyprus* answer to Madeira and Port. First though we got to try a dry and semi-sweet red wine, a dry and semi-sweet white wine, and a rose wine. They were all very nice. We were also served some bread and local olive oil to dip the bread into. I enjoyed all the wines, but the Commandaria was definitely the jewel in the crown. This was absolutely amazing. Apparently, they normally serve some Zivania spirit as well, but the previous year*s batch has long since been drunk and the new batch was still in production. Instead, they let us try the Brandy that they produce. This was so smooth.

    After the wine tasting, we headed back towards Limassol. On the way, our guide collected the money for the tour. We hit some traffic on the way back to Limassol and therefore did not have as much time as we would have liked. We did a quick walk through the old town of Limassol past the castle and the old port and to the marina, which was recently built. We then headed back to the coach through some of the little historical alleyways. I would love to have a good wander through those streets.







    We hit some traffic entering the port. When we were dropped off there was a line the whole length of the terminal. Once we got inside, there were multiple switchbacks. This was all for security. Once we got to security, this was quick and painless. I sent Graham back to the ship. I wanted to have a quick look at the duty-free shops. Graham had developed a bit of a tickly cough and I wanted to see if I could get some cough sweets. I was out of luck. I went back to the ship. As I walked back to ship, a number of officers came the other way trying to speed up boarding.

    When I got back to the cabin, Graham was in the shower. Once he was done, I had a quick shower, too. We got changed and decided to see if we could get seated a little earlier at Chops. We both knew that if we chilled out in the cabin for a bit, we likely would not leave again. Getting seated early was no issue. We both had the wild mushroom soup that evening. We then both at the fillet mignon and shared truffle fries, grilled asparagus, and saut?ed mushrooms. Dinner was nice again. However, the wine we had that evening was not to our liking. They were out of the wine we had chosen and offered us a Chardonnay instead. This was too dry for our tastes.



    After dinner, we got some photos. We also fancied another wine. We went to Giovanni*s Wine Bar. We both had the Moscato, which was very nice. We were pondering another glass, but it was getting busy. In the end we got another glass each and took this back to our cabin. This then became part of our night time routine for the rest of the cruise. It is a nice, civilised way of spending half an hour at the end of a busy day reading a chapter or two of a good book while sipping a nice wine. Once the wine was gone, we got ready for bed.
















  3. #3
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    Incredible how well they can get medical services for someone who needs the hospital. Hopefully that person was okay.

    The mosaics are so beautiful.

    That land beyond the amphitheater, just before the sea, looks like farm land. Is that what it is?

    I'd be so interested in trying that bread, and I agree with you about why the grape seed wine works.

    Really unusual backdrops for your photos. They work so well with your outfits!
    Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you ā€œIā€™m not messing around, use the gifts you were given.ā€

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    Another really interesting day, history-wise, with some classic food and drink to go with it. I'm a huge fan of brandy from this part of the world (I absolutely love Metaxa), and it sounds like you made some good discoveries there, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Veness View Post
    Incredible how well they can get medical services for someone who needs the hospital. Hopefully that person was okay.
    I hope so, too. Unfortunately, people having to be airlifted of a ship seems to become increasingly common.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Veness View Post
    The mosaics are so beautiful.
    They really are stunning and it is amazing to find something very intricate of this sort of age so well preserved. Ephesus is even more amazing in this regard. I will post this either later today or first thing tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Veness View Post
    That land beyond the amphitheater, just before the sea, looks like farm land. Is that what it is?
    I am pretty sure it is. The two main sources of income in Cyprus are tourism and agriculture. The climate there means that then can grow pretty much anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Veness View Post
    I'd be so interested in trying that bread, and I agree with you about why the grape seed wine works.
    That bread was so good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Veness View Post
    Really unusual backdrops for your photos. They work so well with your outfits!
    Thanks. Since Royal Caribbean took over the photography services, there have been a lot more interesting backdrops.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness View Post
    Another really interesting day, history-wise, with some classic food and drink to go with it. I'm a huge fan of brandy from this part of the world (I absolutely love Metaxa), and it sounds like you made some good discoveries there, too.
    Brandy is not something I have ever really decided to drink, but considering how much I liked the brandy in Cyprus, maybe I should check out Metaxa.

    Corinna





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    I would imagine the Cypriot brandy must be pretty similar to the mainland's Metaxa. It is one of the most distinctive flavours of Greece, for me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness View Post
    I would imagine the Cypriot brandy must be pretty similar to the mainland's Metaxa. It is one of the most distinctive flavours of Greece, for me
    You are probably right. I will have to see if I can get hold of some Metaxa so that I can get a comparison.

    Corinna





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    If you do, make sure you get the 7-star Metaxa, which is meant for sipping. The 5-star is good for mixing with something like coke, and the 3-star is just car fuel!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness View Post
    If you do, make sure you get the 7-star Metaxa, which is meant for sipping. The 5-star is good for mixing with something like coke, and the 3-star is just car fuel!
    Thanks for the heads up. I think this works kind of like this with tequila. If it is served with lime and salt, it is not crossing my lips. A good quality tequila is a real joy though.

    Corinna





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