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Leaving Cyprus, for Now

March 6th, 2015 · No Comments · tourism, Travel

So, on Cyprus Day 6, we headed back to Larnaca and the country’s “big” airport. Larnaca seems a world away from Limassol, but it is barely 60 miles.

As the day developed, the temperatures moved into the high 60s. After overnight lows of about 52. A strong sun overhead, the placid Mediterranean Sea, dark blue along the coast as far as the eye could see.

Fresh bread. Fresh fruit. Excellent local strawberries. What seemed like local produce across the spectrum.

Spring come early to a countryside in bloom. Even the small, rocky hills seemed to be able to push out yellow flowers.

Little shops. Interesting cuisine. Friendly people, a surprising (to us) number of whom were adept in English.

So, Cyprus?

A pretty good chance we will be back. Maybe for significantly longer than five-plus days.

Cyprus is a bit of an odd place. Humans have been living on the island for a long time, maybe 10,000 years. Egypt doesn’t go back much further than that.

But for all that, it is a country without much history — to outsiders, anyway.

Read the wiki version of the island’s history, and it is almost entirely about outsiders coming in and (apparently) pushing around the locals. Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Frenchmen, Genoese, Venetians, Turks, the British …

Cyprus was never a major power in its own right. Cyprus rarely did unto others; others did unto Cyprus. Or so it seems.

Perhaps in part because of a small population that until recently was divided by the island’s hilly/mountainous geography. Perhaps because bigger polities were always taking advantage.

Whether that accounts for what certainly appears to be a polite, outwardly friendly population, we cannot be sure.

It is hard to imagine tourists can ever really understand the people here, and the island’s 10,000 years of history, and it might be beyond the abilities even of those outsiders who live here for years. But the interface of outsiders and locals seems to work and probably will continue to do so as long as outsiders are perceived as good for the economy of the country.

The weather is mostly mild (a bit hot in the summer months), with allowances made for the southern winds (carrying grit from the Sahara) that make the place seem dusty for months at a time.

But it is worth checking out for a longer period of time.

If/when we come back, we likely will focus on Limassol, which hugs the sea. It seems developed but not overdeveloped, and aside from the tourist high season of the summer months, the local population seems big enough (150,000 or so) to absorb quite a few visitors without losing its identity or leading to xenophobia.

We liked it. Maybe because it was spring, and perhaps because all those summery things along the coast were quiet or empty. But it is not particularly expensive, and the sun shines most of the time.

It is part of the modern world, on a sort of bucolic second-tier level, and as long as things don’t blow up between the mostly Greek Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish polity of Northern Cyprus, it looks like it might serve for a place to stop and stay for a while. Months, certainly.






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