In our final days in Cyprus, we are busy meeting up with people every day and night. (Thank goodness I got most of the cleaning, clearing, and packing started several weeks ago.) And the good times are not slowing down anytime sooner. Prof’s long time friend, Uncle JB, came all the way from the States to visit us. As soon as Prof picked him up from the airport, the men went off to visit a barbershop (too bad it was closed on Sunday) and then a family day trip to Paphos.
We had not traveled to Paphos as a family since last October when we visited Paphos Zoo. If you are family with young children, you know it’s not easy to make one day trips for an hour and a half drive to and from home. It can be done but not always gracefully. It’s been one of the longest one day trips we made with the boys because Uncle JB’s limited amount of time on the island.
We made the best of it by visiting a tourist site, Aphrodite’s Rock and an ancient historic site, St. Paul’s pillar where he was allegedly flogged. Of course, we saw these sites on a very busy and three-day long holiday weekend. People in Cyprus celebrated Kataklysmos, a pagan holiday in which people commemorate the feast of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation along the harbors/coastal waters of Cyprus. Interestingly though, Kataklysmos also falls on the 50th day after Easter, so it’s a Greek pagan tradition celebrated in conjunction with a Christian tradition, the Feast of Holy Pentecost – celebrating the Day of the Holy Ghost. (It’s also called Whit Sunday, “Whitsun,” particularly in England.)
three-day weekend + tourists = busy and packed beaches in Cyprus
Birthplace of Aphrodite
During our first stop at Aphrodites’ Rock, we were inundated with tourists who wanted to bath at the birthplace of Aphrodite. I didn’t see a sprinkle of sand on the shoreline, only big flat stones that sounded awful as they clanked when you walked on them. It was not my idea of a good trip to the beach.
According to TripAdvisor’s article, if you are en excellent swimmer, you can swim around Aphrodites’ Rock (featured left in the photo above) three times and then you will acquire eternal youth. For a novice swimmer, like myself, it would require a small speedboat ride around the rock to accomplish that goal. I think I much rather appreciate the view than the possibility of going to the hospital.
A note on Wikipedia said that it is not recommended to swim in the waters due to the rough waves and jagged rocks, but people waded in the waters anyway. We took a few touristy photos, and then headed back to the car.
(Photo Above: A word to the wise, don’t walk across the parking area into the busy street to get to Aphrodite’s Rock, like we did. Use the underground pass instead.)
I thought I would be more excited about a visit to Aphrodites’ Rock, but there were too many people in such a small beach space, leaving me feeling a bit claustrophobic in the outdoors.
Eating Along the Harbor Waters in Paphos
A few minutes away, Prof drove a bit further into Paphos, and we ate at Theo’s Restaurant along the harbor for lunch – at yet another touristy spot. You know the ones where the guys try to make small talk with you and tell you come sit down and eat. When you’ve got tired, hot, and hungry kids, it’s sometimes best to sit down just about anywhere and eat.
Lunch wasn’t too bad, but it was probably because we were starving. The men ordered seafood meze, which they enjoyed, and I learned the other little men also liked eating fish too! We walked to the end of the harbor running straight into Paphos Castle. Paphos Castle is quite tiny compared to some of the other castles we have seen on the island. The castle has been used as a fortress, prison, and salt storage facility.
(Photo Top Left: Ate at Theo’s Restaurant for lunch. They offered the usual seafood meze and other kebab-type dishes. Photo Top Right: Plenty of boats parked along the harbor – makes for a nice scenic view during lunch. Photo Bottom Left: Little fish swimming by our table. Some people threw pita bread, and the fish went for it. Ack…That is not good for the fish. Photo Bottom Right: Paphos Castle at the end of Paphos’s harbor.)
St. Paul’s Pillar at Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa
After lunch and our long walk back from the harbor pier, Linus passed out in the car, and Piano Man was not interested in seeing an “old” site again. Prof had visited St. Paul’s site many times before, so he sat in the car while Uncle JB and I walked around.
(Photo Above: Ladies, in case you were thinking of wearing stiletto heels to an archaeological site, please don’t. You could seriously hurt yourself.)
(Photo Above: You see why it’s not a good idea to wear heels at an archaeological site.)
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One cool thing I noticed was the church construction incorporating one of the pillars.
(Photos Above: Out and about the archaeological site by St. Paul’s pillar.)
(Photo Above: Inside Church of Agia Kryiaki)
(Photo Above: Altar at Church of Agia Kyriaki)
If you read my post about how I enjoy having a personal tour guide for life to all the ancient sites around the world, then you know how difficult it was for Uncle JB and me to walk around a famous biblically historical site in less than 15 minutes and without Prof to tell us about each spot. Uncle JB and I had no idea which pillar was the famous pillar where Apostle Paul was allegedly flogged in Cyprus.
(Photos Above: Could it be any of these photographed above? No clue, so we took photos of everything.)
As we were walking toward the exit, we could see Prof getting out of the car and pointing and yelling, “Hey, it’s the white pillar over there!” Uncle JB and I missed the pillar! We headed back and took this photo:
There you have it, folks. The famous alleged pillar where Apostle Paul was flogged 39 times and eventually converted Roman governor Serguis Paulus to Christianity. If you come to Cyprus to this particular site, this is the pillar you are looking for. It’s a lot smaller than you would think, and it is located in a more unobtrusive location at the archaeological site.
Municipality Beaches in Paphos
Finally, Piano Man was pleased to see some blue waters when Prof turned into the parking lot. It meant only one thing – the beach! Before we could even say “slow down,” Piano Man practically threw himself in the water. We must have become spoiled by the other beautiful beaches around Cyprus because Prof and I were not too thrilled about the kelp infested, rough choppy municipal waters in Paphos. Our last experience at a municipality beach left a mediocre taste in our mouths.
Uncle JB didn’t mind the busy, touristy beaches. We told him we preferred other beaches in Cyprus, but he thought Paphos’ beaches were awesome! The water temperature in the ocean was a nice change of pace compared to roasting in our hot apartment. Now I understand why Cypriots flock to the beaches on their weekends. It really does beat the heat to stay by the Mediterranean ocean waters.
A perfect end to a perfectly busy day!