Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyprus, You Are Lovely

I met a new friend at the airport who is from the UK but with Cypriot roots. He helped me find Hotel Opera, which has this lovely little terrace for morning coffee.
Though I wasn't planning on staying in Larnaca, it seemed like the right thing to do after arriving to Cyprus later than anticipated. I was starving and found the pork souvlaki upon my arrival. It was messy and awesome! 
This is the view from my hotel balcony at 6AM, when the church bells woke me up. What a beautiful view! This church is 1100 years old and Saint Lazarus's tomb is inside.

After a long day of traveling yesterday, I started my day by wandering down to the ocean and into the Grand Mosque. I learned that the structure was built in the 16th century as a church and was later converted into a mosque. It is now the spiritual home to Larnaca's Muslim community.
It was a very peaceful place and after I covered my head and took off my shoes, I was welcomed by some friendly gentlemen who were happy to let me bring my camera inside and offered to take my picture.
Next, I walked right from the mosque onto the sand and watched some sailboats pass. A handful of people were swimming, as it was about 70 degrees outside, but the water was too cold for me!
I kept walking toward the marina to check out all of the boats.  Even though the sign said that only authorized people were allowed inside, the guard saw my camera and told me to go look around.  I later met a cafe owner named Stavos who told me I was welcome to walk all of the docks and stop in for a Turkish coffee anytime I wanted to.

It was mostly a quiet day on the marina, but some people were painting hulls of boats or doing repair work.  Just look at the scale of those boats compared to the truck and the people! Walking those docks made me think of the docks at Charleston Lake in Canada where my Dad, Grandfather and I fished when I was little.  It was very comforting to be there with the sun on my face and the smell of the ocean all around me.
The hull of a boat, full of color, age and wisdom
Cypriot Street Art

There are many shops with handmade things, this one was full of copper
All that walking made me hungry so I stopped into a little restaurant. The nice man working there made me one of his favorite dishes, which was a pita stuffed with spicy meatballs, cucumber and tomato. A squeeze of lime made it absolutely perfect. I also had my first Cypriot wine, which was a dry red that was light in body and tasty.
The nice man also brought me some sausage on the house that tasted like it had cinnamon in it. It was fresh off the grill and quite a treat. I was so full but I ate the whole thing. The people here have been so nice! Someone find me a job so I can stay for awhile!

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