Ancient ruins on the island of Cyprus

Trip Start Apr 03, 2007
Trip End Jun 16, 2007

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Today, we stopped off on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.  We visited several interesting sites on the island including a castle of King Richard the Lionheart, and more ancient ruins from the Greek and Roman eras.
Similar to yesterday, we decided to go it on our own today rather than take a guided tour.  After breakfast, we caught a shuttle bus from the ship into the center of the port city of Limassol.  Limassol is the 2nd biggest city on Cyprus.  It's not exactly the most picturesque city, and the traffic there was pretty bad, so we didn't spend much time there.  Instead, we hired a taxi to take us around to see some of the sites on the island.  The driver was a nice older man who took us around to see a few different places within 20 or 30 kilometers from Limassol.
First stop was the Lionheart Castle where King Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre in 1191.  From there we drove to Kourion, a site of ancient ruins perched up above the ocean.  They had some well-preserved mosaics and a large Greco-Roman theater dating to the 2nd century B.C. that had been reconstructed recently and is used today for performances.  There's an excellent ocean view from there.
From Kourion, we drove to the Temple of Apollo, which was used continually from the 8th century B.C. until it was destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century A.D.  Only a few pillars are still standing, but you could see the floorplan of the rooms.  Today, small lizards crawl around though the ruins.  We got to see several types of local trees - some of them had little berries, others had peapod-like seeds on them.  Rosemary plants were growing right outside the ruins.  The weather here is very much like Southern California, and was gorgeous all day we were there.
The taxi driver brought us back to the ship, and we spent the rest of the afternoon catching more sun up next to the pool.  Tonight, the show was a song-and-dance routine by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers.  The theme was "Swing City", and they had a lot of 20's style dancing (complete with flapper outfits and zoot suits).
Tomorrow is a day at sea, and then Saturday we'll reach our 3rd continent: Egypt!  We'll be in port at Alexandria, and take a day trip to Cairo and the pyramids.
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