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Paphos Covered-Up

CYPRUS | Sunday, 14 November 2021 | Views [34]

Theseus Medallion, Paphos

Theseus Medallion, Paphos

PAPHOS WAS A REAL DISAPPOINTMENT TODAY, unlike when we visited in 2015. One of the reasons we seldom return to a place we really enjoyed in the past is because it’s not likely to be as good the second time. But with our stop in Saudi Arabia canceled and facing a long stretch at sea we decided to take a second look.


        Ruins of Paphos ruined by a rotten tour

Limassol was never our favorite city in Cyprus and the port where we are docked is the ass-end of Limassol. We used it last time as a base to explore the ancient monasteries in the mountains and to visit the fantastic Roman mosaics in Paphos. We would rather have taken a taxi on our own instead of the ship’s tour but a taxi cost more than €100 and we haven’t met anyone we would want to share it with. We joined a busload of English- and French-speakers and suffered the indignity of wearing a MSC 5 cruise sticker and following a guide with the same number on her paddle. At least it wasn’t an unfurled pink umbrella.


                     Monastery Saint Neopytos

It took 45-minutes to move the group from the ship to the bus, typical of the disorganization we’ve found onboard. Forty-five minutes of English-then-French explanations later we arrived at the Monastery Saint Neopytos, another icon on the pantheon of Orthodox saints. Another cave-dwelling hermit, St. Whatsis is of interest only because some of his body parts were discovered—Orthodox love relics—and for the paintings in his cave. Of course no photos are permitted, but that’s another of god’s mysterious ways his miracles to obscure.


            Who Needs Carpets? Floor Mosaic in House of Dionysius


                Composite photo from House of Dionysius


         Composite of Floor Designs

We were miffed that the monastic detour would cut time from our visit to Paphos—we really wanted to spend time with the mosaics. As it turned out we had plenty of time—the only mosaics we could see were in the House of Dionysius. Except for the Theseus Medallion, all the others had been covered over with sand and gravel. I guess they figured since Covid shut down the archeological and curative work and crippled tourism there was no reason to expose the wonderful mosaics to the elements. Too bad they didn’t bother to tell us!


      Re-Covered Mosaics safely hidden from prying eyes

So we are back aboard Virtuosa facing eight consecutive days at sea with only transiting the Suez Canal and hand-washing our laundry to look forward to. I just hope we can handle the excitement!


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