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Adrift in the Eastern Mediterranean

All at sea in Cyprus

sunny 22 °C

Despite numerous pleas for us to return home to British Columbia to help build an ark we've decided to put up with the relentless sun on the beaches of Cyprus for another week. This is Larnaca beach at sunset...
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The island of Cyprus is like a giant ocean liner - an outwardly peaceful and prosperous mega-ship adrift in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. Around us the seas are calm, clear and warm, and for the past week there has barely been a cloud on the horizon. But all is not well below decks. However, let's first take a tour of the first class accommodation.

There are many interesting things to see on board: Byzantine castles from the 13th century...
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Three thousand year old temple ruins...
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Century old British Colonial buildings...
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And for the religiously inclined there is a wide choice of ancient Christian and Muslim monoliths...
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Our fellow passengers come from far afield but the Good Ship Cyprus is particularly beloved by Russians, Ukrainians and Brits, so almost everyone speaks some English. Navigating is easy as the Cypriots stick to the left, (like the Brits), and most signs and menus are in our native tongue. The food is excellent and inexpensive- especially the souvlaki...
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Inboard, away from the casinos, night clubs and restaurants that are strung along the outer decks, are the crumbling homes of the steerage passengers and crew – ordinary Cypriots who still work the land and grow dates, olives, grapes, pomegranates and carobs under the blazing Mediterranean sun...
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Like many great ocean liners, Cyprus has had a number of owners since its launch as a Neolithic colony some twelve thousand years ago. The Mycenaeans boarded from Greece four thousand years ago and then the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians all trooped up the gangplank at various times. Alexander the Great seized the helm in 333 BC, but the Romans, Arabs, French and Venetians all took turns at the tiller until the Ottoman Turks grabbed the wheel in 1571 and held on until 1878. Britannia steered HMS Cyprus from 1914 to 1960 when the Cypriots were left in command – and that's when the trouble started below decks. So stay tuned for the dramatic part 2 of “Adrift in the Eastern Mediterranean.” Coming soon to a computer near you.

Posted by Hawkson 03:00 Archived in Cyprus

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Comments

An interesting analogy. I've just been to an exhibition about two sunken cities, near Alexandria, so am more aware of the mixing of cultures and Alexander's exploits.
We have a Turkish cypriot in our team at the V&A so will be interested to read the next installment. Bonne continuation! Heather

by Heather M_T

I am sure your fellow ark builders are in a tizzy of envy at this point. Creative description of a land that grows pomegranates.
Lap up that sunshine.

by Sue Fitzwilson

The sky is blue! We tend to forget that around here!! Best stay away! ( although we miss you!). My Dad lived in Crete as a boy....1920? and there were Turkish Cypriots rumbling there at that time ( we have a photo). What a colourful ( and no doubt painful!) history!! Love your adventurous spirits and the wonderful armchair travelling you provide!
Love Alison

by Alison Fitzgerald

Forget the ark. Bring the sky. Thanks for another interesting report from a road less traveled.

by Tom Whalley

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