Ancient Churches of Cyprus

On May 22, 2023, of the Cyprus tour, we drive east from Limassol to see Panayia Angeloktisti in the village of Kiti. This ancient church contains a beautiful, fifth-century mosaic of Mary and Jesus. Then we drive into Larnaca to see the ninth-century Church of St. Lazarus with its beautiful iconostasis and its basement crypt with the supposed tomb of Lazarus. A few blocks away we tour a medieval fort located right on the seacoast. From Larnaca, we drive a short distance to the beautiful mountain village of Lefkara where we have free time for you to stroll the narrow streets, stopping to see Lefkara lace and silver jewelry made by local artisans and/or tour the ethnological museum and the Church of the Holy Cross with its many icons. Then we drive south to the coastal village of Zygi, where we will have a splendid seafood dinner outdoors by the sea.

4th century apse of Panayia Angeloktisti
Church of St. Lazarus in Larnaca
Village lane in Lefkara
Church of the Holy Cross in Lefkara

Ethnological Museum
Fishing boat at Zygi
Sunset over Zygi harbor


Paphos, Cyprus

May 21, the second full day of the Cyprus tour, will be more ambitious than the first day. We drive west to Paphos to enjoy wonderful archaeological sites, eat lunch by the harbor at cafes of our choice, enjoy the splendid mosaics (tomorrow’s post), see the legendary Paul’s pillar, walk among the opulent burial houses at the tombs at the kings, and stop on the way back to Limassol to see the rock where (according to legend) Aphrodite first emerged from the sea foam.

The picturesque harbor at Paphos draws many people.
At the end of the harbor is a Medieval fortress that you may tour if you wish.
Site of the ancient Panagia Chrysopolitissa complex. According to legend, the short, white pillar in front of the tree is where Paul was bound and beaten.
Tombs of the kings—actually just tombs for very wealthy people. The word necropolis designates such sites. Necros in Greek means dead, and polis means city (city of the dead).
The top of this tomb is ground level. Standing by a pillar, my wife gives perspective on the size of this home of the dead. Numerous niches may be seen in these tombs.
Aphrodite’s Rock. No, the young woman swimming in the Mediterranean is not Aphrodite emerging from the sea.

Cyprus Tour, May 20, 2023

On May 20 of the Cyprus tour, we will have an easy day (jet lag is real!). We will take a short ride (driving on the left side of the road) to the Crusader fortress at Kolossi. Then we go to the nearby, much earlier, expansive archaeological site of the Roman city of Kourion to see the many buildings and artifacts uncovered by archaeologists. Then we return to Limassol for a leisurely stroll along the harbor walk into the old city.

Kolossi Fortress built in 1454 by French crusaders.
Inside Kolossi Castle. Note the thickness of the walls.
The large Roman city of Kourion was built with a lovely view of the Mediterranean Sea. We will see the theater, opulent homes, and the many other remains of this city.
Romans loved their baths and saunas. The short brick pillars in this photo once supported the floor of a huge room. Hot air from fires on the perimeter was circulated under the floor to heat the entire area.
This mosaic in Kourion depicts a scene with two gladiators.

Color photos for The Storyteller from Kalo Chorio

This week, I received copies of The Storyteller from Kalo Chorio. The formatting of the book is nice, but the clarity of the photos is disappointing. I provided clear black-and-white photos, but print-on-demand does a poor job of reproducing these pictures. I wish the photos in the book were better, but by publishing through Kindle, I was able to keep the cost of the book low. To see clear, color versions of the photos, go to the following web site:

Then click on the blue box that says “Full-color versions of the book photographs.” That will take you to the photos page. Enjoy the book. This story of Dafnis will make you laugh, cry, and ponder significant issues of life.

Cyprus in Spring

I am seriously considering postponing my Cyprus tour from November 2022 to May or June 2023. Would you be interested in exploring Cyprus with me next spring? Because of the possible change of date, I need to know soon.

Cyprus is one of the safest places in the Middle East to visit. Rich in scenery, history, and culture, the island is a tourist magnet for Europeans. Although the population of the island is only a little over one million, nearly four million tourists visit Cyprus each year. Traveling to Cyprus before the peak season begins will allow us to avoid large crowds and summer heat—and get better deals on lodging and food.

Airlines have improved air circulation on their jets, thus reducing the threat of catching diseases during trans-Atlantic flights. And Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses no danger to Cyprus, which is far to the south of Ukraine.

Let me know what questions you have about this trip. Cyprus is one of my favorite places in the world.


A cellar in Bella Pais Abbey. Those who have read Lawrence Durrell’s “Bitter Lemons of Cyprus” will know about the village in which this abbey is located.
Cyprus is a great place to experience a Greek culture. I took this photo during a special liturgy at a small, mountain church.
Cyprus has many interesting Medieval structures, such as Kolossi Castle just west of Limassol.
St. Nicholas Cathedral in the old city of Famagusta.

In two minds about travel

Okay, I admit I am of two minds. On the one hand, when traveling to new places, I like the freedom of choosing where I go and how long I stay there. On the other hand, I enjoy being with a group of interesting people and letting a knowledgeable tour guide decide the itinerary and take care of housing and transportation.

When my wife and I have our own adventures in other countries, invariably we get lost and frustrated. We sweat and fret and try not to get too frustrated when dealing with the difficulties that always arise with transportation, locating places to stay, finding places to eat, and in general navigating cultural differences—including language barriers. I hesitate to estimate how many times I have been frustrated at taking the wrong road, wandering aimlessly trying to find a café, or finding a museum and paying museum fees—not to mention remembering to drive on the left in Cyprus. But we have had some wonderful, memorable, serendipitous experiences amidst the messiness of navigating other cultures—things that simply could not happen if we were part of a tour group.

We have also had very positive experiences in countries such as Israel and Turkey while being part of a tour group: relaxing in a bus while an experienced driver took us to set destinations, not having to decide where we were going to spend the night or where we would eat (and negotiating prices), and having a guide explain where we were going and then leading us around each site. No worries. Just enjoy the trip. Of course, I have to conform to a schedule set up by someone else, which limits my freedom of how long I will roam around the sites we visit. I have griped about that more than once.

I have decided that, for the first exposure to another country, being part of a tour group has a lot of advantages. Then, if I want to return and explore the country at my own pace and go to places that are not on the main tour routes, I can return and do my own thing with more confidence and less initial frustration. I wish I were independently wealthy and could afford to travel more now that I am retired. I also wish this COVID pandemic would end so that making travel plans could be more predictable again. Soon! Let it be soon!

We got stuck in Boaz, a rundown town in Turkish occupied northern Cyprus. Not one of our pleasant memories. This collapsing structure in Boaz was once part of a nice beach community.
Walking around Famagusta in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, photographing St. Nicholas Cathedral and other ancient buildings, was a lovely experience. We took our time and walked on top of the fortification wall, etc.—a nice memory, except for the fact that I got dreadfully sick from our lunch on that outing. I will not divulge the details!

Cyprus: Island of Aphrodite and Barnabas: November 4–13, 2022

Join me for an adventure in the Eastern Mediterranean.

I have been recruited to lead a ten-day tour, and I would love to have you join me. Get out your hiking shoes, renew your passport, and prepare to fly to the beautiful island of Cyprus, legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Saint Barnabas, the founder of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. If you appreciate history, love to experience customs and cuisines of people in other countries, relish opportunities to take stunning photos, like to spend time in a warm climate in November, and can afford ten days on one of the jewels of the Mediterranean Sea, you should join this trip. For details click on the following link:

Rare sighting of Aphrodite ascending from the Mediterranean Sea in front of the rock named after her, and I was there to capture the moment.
Monastery Church of Apostle Barnabas in northern Cyprus—one of the many fascinating sites I will take tour members to see.