EEB1 S6 CYPRUS SCHOOL TRIP: 19 th – 23 rd of March 2018
If you are among the dreamers, and you can almostfeel the wind of the wild turquoise sea on your face
even on a cold Brussels day, then you are one of us.Welcome to our realised dream of visiting the island
of Cyprus; a beautiful, culture-filled; summer-smelling little country with new discoveries down each and every cobble-stoned street. From its split capital city, to its beautiful mythology-seeped locations, Cyprus was by far the highlight to our sixth year. With our incredible tour-guide and well-thought program, not a minute was wasted when uncovering Cyprus’ many secrets.
Our journey started in Larnaca, as we landed after a four-hour planeride filled with anticipation and chatter with both new and well-known people. Directly from the airport, we met our tour guide for
the week, Dena, and our designated bus driver. As we travelled to the city-centre of Larnaca, we were able to pass the everyday life surroundings of a Cypriot and it is easy to say we all fell in love. The
sea, the Greek-style architecture, the palm trees, the religious buildings, everything made the town so unique to us. After having been given free time to eat and discover the beach side town for ourselves, Dena brought us to visit the Church of St.Lazarus of typical practice in the town. This location radiated riches and beauty with its many gold religious ornaments decorating the room and towering the ceilings.
Including the ground-floor visit, we were able to explore the tomb area underneath the altar of the Church, filled with ancient tombs engraved in Ancient Greek.
After this first cultural visit, we drove to a small and equally beautiful oasis in Salt Lake, which stood as a shelter to Tekke of Hala Sultan: a mosque erected on the site where the aunt of Prophet Muhammad may have lay. As our cameras ate the scene,we all desired to visit the mosque. In order to enter, we were obliged to take off our shoes and cover our legs (for those of us wearing shorts) as a sign of respect, all of these obligations we of course followed so as to feed our eyes. After this incredible visit, we drove through the town and mountains to Limassol where our hotel was stationed.
Our hotel, the “Atlantica Miramare” of Limassol was a beautiful hotel with accommodations for all ages–including swimming pools and a gym–, incredible rooms for all of us in groups of three, a dining hall that seemed to have no end, and an approximate two metres from the beach itself. It was the dream location for sixteen-year-olds in need of a getaway from our home of Brussels. Our second day began early, as we were all called in the bus to start our day early in the morning. MrTomitz and Mr Hanuss, having carefully prepared our itinerary, planned the trip to Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.
We began our day by visiting the Cypriot handicraft centre, where we were able to observe on-going workshops where traditional manufacturing methods are used; these including: silk-pattern creation, wood-carving and painting, lace-making and many more.This visit was then followed by a visit of the archaeological museum of Nicosia with a cherished collection dating from the Neolithic period all the way to the Byzantine period. After visiting this national museum, we were given free time to enjoy traditional Cyprus mid-day life as we searched for a place to eat.While enjoying the small café/restaurants out in the sun, we observed the beautiful Venetian fortifications that towered over us around the large cobbled Place.As we walked through the cobbled streets to our next destination, Dena gave us an overview of the city and a little backstory to accompany our general knowledge. The capital was in fact divided into two parts–Turkish and Greek parts–based on its history leading to the country’s eventual independence. Of course, we were able to experience this first hand as we had the opportunity to cross the border of the Greek side to the Turkish side of the capital. We all felt like we were entering a whole new country with the official checks needed to be made in order for us to even take a step on the Turkish soil. Including this separation, the city of Nicosia had another particularity, which is known as the ‘No Man’s Land’. This was particularly interesting, as we had never seen such a significant part of a capital city be barred off to the people. It only made us hungrier for information. And so, we understood that Cyprus had many secrets that could not all be discovered with our eyes.On the third day, we travelled to the centre of Limassol where Dena gave us a guided tour of thebeautiful sun-lit city. We walked along the pathway along the beach to our tourist location ofthe day.
Our Limassol day started with the visit of the biggest German shipping company situated in the city. We were given the chance to watch a documentary about shipping methods, economics and policies, allowing us all to understand the importance of shipping companies in our society as a co-dependent method of trading. The overall message was incredibly well conveyed as we visited the workspace, meeting new and welcoming people in every room. Being apparently so well behaved, we were invited to come back and visit during our (hopeful) next visit to the island. After this lovely visit, we were given free timeto wander the sun-bathed streets of Limassol, giving us enough time to separate the task of finding gifts for Dena to thank her for the incredible trip we were having. The breath taking beach side of Limassol.
On our fourth day, we drove to the paradisiac location of Paphos, making a stop at the “Petra Tou Romiou”, the legendary birthplace of the goddess of love, Aphrodite. The turquoise sea bellowed on the three distinct rocks, of which two had distinct stories regarding the infamous Greek gods, namely Aphrodite. After this magical morning visit, we drove to an interesting natural museum, were we learned about fauna and flora of Cyprus.There we could also enjoy incredible good lemons and oranges, directly gathered from trees in fruit gardens.
Next stop was the main port of Paphos, where we were given free-time to eat at the local restaurants before our next stop at the famously preserved mosaics from the Ancient Greek era. After a lunch on a peer, with the bright blue sea bellowing beneath us, we walked to the famous artistic area of Paphos. During our visit, we were able to observe carefully made mosaics, each holding different well-known stories: The music competition of Apollo and Marsyas; the labyrinth of the Minotaur; the
demigod children of Zeus and many more. Dena, allowing us to figure these out for ourselves, questioned us on our general knowledge on the many myths, making our visit very
And so, our last unwanted day arrived, and we drove to the airport early in the morning, saying goodbye to the beautiful mountains and Cypriot sea all our way there. We thanked Dena for the most amazing trip we had all ever had and finally readied ourselves for the four-hour flight home. This trip allowed us to not only open our eyes to different cultures, but to meet new people we had never thought to acquaint ourselves with, making new friendships and unforgettable memories that we will miss everyday.
Cyprus, you will be missed.