Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Limassol, Cyprus

It’s November 30th 2011 and time for our stop in Limassol Cyprus.  Our tour was organised by MSC and the plan was to visit Kourion, Apollo’s Temple and Omodos.  At Kourion, there was a reconstructed theatre originally built in the 2nd century BC.  There’s also a pretty impressive archaeological site where they’ve dug up the House of Eustolio who was a rich citizen who was concerned about the welfare of his catholic compatriots during the early Christian period (330 to mid-7th century).  The house which included hot, cold and warm baths as well a courtyard and some rooms, overlooks the sea and must have been quite the mansion in its time.

Apollo’s Temple was a letdown after having seen the Coliseum in Rome.  Only two columns are left.  I understand that Apollo’s temple is older, but when you’re going to visit some ruins, you want to see something. 
Omodos village looked promising, it included a wine tasting and the information on Trip Advisor said the village was cute and interesting.  Unfortunately, the wine tasting consisted of three shots, "dry"red or white wine (really nothing to write home about, though I guess that’s what I’m doing now), the comandaria sweet wine which was created by the Knights of Saint John’s and now DOCG (controlled appellation).  That wine basically tasted like sherry.  The last, was schnapps.  Take a look at the shot my father caught of me, you’ll see what I thought of it!!

The village was tiny and not too interesting but I managed to find a nice silver and turquoise ring. Our tour brought us back to the ship and was had access to a shuttle into town for free.  Since we had three hours until all aboard, my dad and I went to take a look.  Maybe there’s more offered during the high season but this was pretty lame.  The stores had only junk and they were few and far between. There was Limassol "Castle" and imagine that I used air quotes because although the building looked a little like a castle, it was obviously rebuilt and not very impressive.  I took the opportunity for a photo shop but we chose not to pay 5 for the visit. After 30 minutes, we chose to have a cappuccino and then head back to the ship.

PS.  One of the things that has made us smile over the last few days is that we’ve found a Dan Meli lookalike! I thought he just had to be Swiss German since about 40 to 50 percent of the passengers are German.  This guy works for the excursion office and has been with the Germans on both the excursions we went on.  However it seems that the guy is Italian (crew have their native flag attached to the left shoulder when wearing their informal uniforms). I have yet to find a way to take a picture of him without looking like a stalker.  If I can manage it, I will definitely post it.
Oh, I almost forgot, we had a helicopter emergency rescue off the ship last night.  My dad noticed on the tv channel that gives the trip information that we had reversed our course and were going back on our route.  Thirty minutes later a search and rescue helicopter did a fly by, and then hovered over us for a while.  It seems they dropped a crew member, flew off, and then came back for them minutes later.  I’m pretty sure I saw an American flag on the helicopter which makes sense because we were close to Greece on our way to Cyprus so it’s possible that they came from the American base in Turkey. It was all very exciting, not that we could see much, but I sure hope whomever was taken off is going to be ok.
That’s it for now.  Tomorrow; Haifa.  We have a private tour with a gentleman called Avi, so I’m looking forward to exploring northern Israel, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, River Jordan and whatever else we feel like seeing along the way.  

My candid reaction to the schnapps :)
In Frony of Appollo's Temple, Limassol

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