So this year, as the mania of the Edinburgh festival was winding down, I flew off to the Island of Cyprus for 4 days of sun, sea, and Yara time!
On Aphrodite's Beach
The first thing you must know about Cyprus is that it is FAR away from the UK. Context: Cyprus is closer to Lebanon than to any part of Europe. Yet, when you step off the plane and start driving across the small island, you immediately feel like you're in Southern California. The terrain is SO similar to Simi Valley, it's kind of disconcerting. Especially because the climate was so different. Hot, just like I had expected but also very humid. Walking outside was like walking though a bath. Definitely conducive to a slow island lifestyle!
But Cyprus is also very Greek. The Greeks and the Turks, amongst many other civilisations, have fought over Cyprus for centuries. The Northern part of the Island is still under Turkish control, while the southern part is part of the European Union. There is so much history in Cyprus, so many old ports, ancient roads, and crumbling ruins that when you walk around you can actually feel just how powerful the ancients were, and just how devoted they were to this tiny island and it's claim to fame: Aphrodite.
According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite (the Greek Goddess of love and beauty) was born when Cronus cut off Uranus' genitals and threw them into the sea, and from the sea foam (aphros) arose Aphrodite. According to the Cypriots, this sea foam was off the coast of Cyprus, and they claim their land as her birthplace. There are temples to Aphrodite all over the island.
Aphrodite's temple in Limassol
I had such a good time visiting Yara and meeting her mom and sister. They were so welcoming and generous, and Yara's friends were a lot of fun. We lounged around by the beach, visited ruins and mosaics in Limassol and Paphos, ate delicious Mediterranean food, and tried not to move too quickly until the sun set each evening!
The view from Yara's flat
Climbing the ruins
It was such a nice way to spend bookend the summer, especially since Edinburgh experienced the WORST summer ever this year. It's nice to know that I'll always have the Mediterranean to save me from the rain and cold! :-)