Thursday, December 1, 2016

Larnaca, I Will Truly Miss You

On my last day in Larnaca, I set out for the old Turkish Quarter and went hunting for ceramics. All of the houses were nicely maintained with lots of plants and cacti.
I met this nice man who chatted me up and sold me a whole bunch of oranges for one euro.
He even threw in this pomegranate on the house!
I had more oranges then I knew what to do with, so I started handing them out to strangers to try to spread some of the love that I had received. 
And then I found the promised land - the actual working fisherman's marina. In my mind, this is exactly what it would look like - a place full of color and character.
I commented to some fisherman that it seems like no animals starve here. They have all these little cat houses set up next to the marina for the strays. He said, "We need to take care of them, they are residents of the island, too. If we don't, who will? We will never let them starve."

This tiny kitten looked just like my cat, Ansill! When I moved a step, he moved a step. I wanted to take him home.
What a lovely place to spend the afternoon
I was taking this picture when I met Andres, a fisherman who has a boat here. When I told him I was American, he wanted to talk politics immediately, like most people have. We chatted for about fifteen minutes and he said the quote of the century: "If America has a cough, we all get sick."
I ventured into a little restaurant overlooking the marina for the fish meze. I was blown away by this meal, and as I have been known to do, wept while picking apart the fish. The pinkish dip on top was full of fish roe and this very well may have been one of the most memorable meals of my life. Sometimes being alone and experiencing food, service and atmosphere like this is a religious experience in and of itself. I can think of a handful of people I would have liked to share this meal with, but killing all of this food on my own allowed me to savor everything in a way that was equally satisfying.

My waiter brought me these treats with my coffee - he promised I wouldn't guess what they were. Sure, the fig and the mandarin are predictable, but candied watermelon rind and eggplant?! Who would've thought that was even a thing!

On my last morning, I finally wandered in the Church of Saint Lazarus, whose bells woke me up every morning and was right across from my hotel. Seriously, how much can one country make me cry from happiness?! This church is 1100 years old and completely blew me out of the water. I'm glad I went early because I practically had the whole place to myself.
First, I lit a candle for my country and asked God to keep us safe for the next four years, granting us peace and tolerance. Next, I lit a candle for my mom and dad, for health and prosperity.
I watched people come in the church and kiss all of the saints, quite a humbling site. I will miss Larnaca terribly. It is one of the top twenty oldest cities in the world and I feel so thankful that my travels brought me here. I wasn't even planning on coming here, but I followed the good natured advice of a stranger that led me to a place with everything I was looking for.