Monday, June 08, 2015

Monastery Wine in Cyprus

We awoke in our nice little Paphos, Cyprus hotel. There were still a few hours left to fill with fun stuff so we hopped to it. I pulled the room key out of its slot in the wall, which deactivated the room's power and went to the front desk to ask for them to call us a cab.

I bought this massive 10% alcohol beer just because it was funny. It was so big that it was in a steel can.

This was a different desk guy but he had the same friendly demeanor and willingness to talk your ear off. When we told him we'd only be in Cyprus for a day he went on about it for so long he was making our time shortage even worse.

Anyway, he made finding the bus stop sound so easy that we forgot about the taxi plan. We walked confident in the crudely drawn map he gave us and faced the Cypriot morning.

It was hot and we had our full packs on. Bleh.

Predictably it took a really long time with several do-overs before we found the bus stop. The old British people sitting there said the last bus hadn't even stopped it was so full. Screw that. We walked to the nearest hotel and asked them to call us that cab. While we waited I asked the desk people what was up with all the Greek flags I kept seeing everywhere. The short version of the reply is that Greece is their mother country and they have Greek language and culture. I then asked about the Northerners and she said they speak Turkish or "Greek Cypriot". Very interesting.

From the relatively short list of available attractions we picked the UNESCO recognized "Tomb of the Kings" site. In hindsight this may have set ourselves up for disappointment considering we were just hanging out in Egyptian pyramids.

The site was entertaining enough, though the people buried here weren't even kings, but random rich people. Lies! There were a couple bits that were supported by underground columns which I thought were pretty neat.

I could use a break from anything ruined, underground, or stone for about 10 years.

I asked our cab man to meet us where he dropped us off and he didn't even make us pay up front for the first part of the trip. I appreciated the trust.

When we told him we're American he volunteered that his daughter is in Atlanta getting some sort of eye surgery. He said he's been a cab driver for 30 something years. The cab was a pretty nice looking Mercedes with like 180k miles on it.

My next idea was kind of a longshot but I asked anyway. There's a monastery in the mountains that makes wine. What say you, cab man? Well he told us the drive there was 30 min and another 30 back, leaving us 30 to see the monastery. The die is cast.

The drive was a significant part of the excitement of the trip. We zoomed across winding road higher and higher into the mountains. The tongue-injuring Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery was pretty cool and was completely deserted. We kept hearing what sounded like gunshots or little explosions. Our cab driver told us that it was something meant to freak the birds out and keep them from eating the winery grapes. We had a glass of wine with a great view and then it was time to go to the airport. Mission accomplished.

Unfortunately the signs said no pictures inside the chapel.

Here's one of the pictures I took inside the chapel.

Cab man!

This sign was in a duty free shop in the airport. It reads "Travelling to UK NO LIMITS on tobacco for personal use as advised by HM Revenue and Customs. * If carrying over 800 cigarettes or 1 kg of tobacco you may be asked by HM Customs to prove these are for personal use or gifts." I just laughed to myself imagining someone bringing 3,000 cigarettes in their bag and then the only way they can prove they are for personal use is by smoking them one by one in the customs office. Oh, customs humor, I can't quit you.

Athens we missed you!

Back in Athens we had one last dinner with Zeke and Angela and then it was just the two of us.

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