Cyprus! Aphrodite's Isle! It has at least twelve thousand years of history,
some amazing food, lovely people, superb scenery, slightly less-than-superb
plumbing, and, unfortunately, two distinct sections due to a UN-imposed border
down the middle after ethnic conflicts and a Turkish invasion in the 1970s.
I came here with my archeologist brother on a number of family holidays
about twenty years ago, loved it, and have been wanted to go back ever since. I
finally made it and spent a week walking there. Yes, it was still as good as I
Here are some of my photos.
Looking north-east from the Tröodos mountains (about 2000m high!) over the broad sweep of Morphou Bay, a.k.a. the big pointy hook at the top left. Lost in the haze but just visible if you zoom in and imagine hard is the corner where the north coast starts.
High up in the Tröodos; the weird red plant is a strawberry tree, also known as a cane apple. They produce fruit not dissimilar to a boring fig. The red branches are incredibly smooth and velvety to the touch.
The Tröodos, marching off into the distance.
A rather badly exposed photo of Milikouri, a tiny village balanced on the edge of the mountain. We had the most amazing meal here. Apparently only six families live here full time now.
Very high up in the Tröodos the ground cover just vanishes, leaving these amazing landscapes full of trees and ocher gravel.
This might be one of the best pictures I have ever taken, and it's entirely due to luck. This mysterious three-centimetre long frog sat happily on the edge of a concrete step while I took about a million photos, and this is the result. I have no idea what it is; Cyprus apparently has three kinds of frog, and this doesn't look like any of them. (Email me.)
An olive tree! I think. Note the rock, caught between the two trunks...
Yup. The Mediterranean really is that colour.
An orange orchard, not far from the Baths of Aphrodite (in which I saw the Eels of Aphrodite, but it was too dark to photograph).
(a) I didn't know that Nemo had retired to Paphos; and (b) the Nautilus is kinda smaller than I imagined.
Wildflowers and tombs: a major theme of Cyprus in the spring. These are the Tombs of the Kings, a major site near Paphos, only recently excavated and opened to the public; the name is pure tourist-bait, but they're still astonishingly impressive.
Some Paphos wildflowers, with a tomb in the background.
Saranta Kolones, the ruins of a Byzantine castle in Paphos; unusually, this castle wasn't sacked by humans and razed to the ground. Instead it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1222. Underneath it is a labyrinth of fascinating-looking but narrow, dark and rather unsafe passages, which look like they'd be much easier to go in than get out of.
This tunnel's probably a thousand years old, and by now it's getting really good at being dark and claustrophobic.
One of the chambers in the Tombs of the Kings. This is just one room, of one tomb, of many. This probably dates from 400 BC to about 300 AD. Bonus points will be awarded if you can spot the psychotic pigeon, staring balefully into the camera.
Another tomb, picked out by wildflowers. (I did warn you.)
I have no idea what this tree is, but I admire its oblique attitude to life.