My last night in London was spent dancing into the early morning at the European Blues Invasion‘s Friday dance. I had such a blast! Sean, Lucky, and Elin from Norway were there and we had a little mini-reunion. And I was finally in a comfortable setting where I allowed myself one or two glasses of wine. It was so nice not to have to be “working” and just enjoy myself.
The dance ended at three-something in the morning and then it was off to sunny Cyprus!
Arriving Sunday morning, my host, Fani, and her mother met me at the airport and drove me to their beach house. Their beach house was this adorable blue house surrounded by a beautiful garden full of fruit trees and herbs. A veritable paradise. My afternoon was spent lazily lounging in their garden, having a late lunch, then a nap, and then dinner. (Very hard work, I know.)
Fani had prefaced my journey, stating that I needed heels and a nice dress. (More than easy, seeing as I came to Europe to dance.) When I asked why, she said her brother and she were going to take me out to a “typical Greek concert” with a very popular Greek singer.
It was very crowded, but very fun. Although I was a bit lost since everything was in Greek. Still, an awesome experience. And I also caught glimpses of authentic Greek dancing!
We stayed until about two or three in the morning, before Fani’s brother, Aris, suggested we leave. We ended up getting McDonald’s as an early morning snack (just like late night swing dances!) before we went to their city apartment, where we slept until noon the next day. (Such a hard life, I know.)
After returning to their beach house, we languidly laid around and I got to meet the rest of Fani’s family. (At this point it was only her father left.) And they were all so sweet! Her mother especially was wonderful. Conversation was a little stilted (as her parents only spoke Greek) but it was a wonderful
afternoon before Fani’s friend Panos picked us up to go to the beach! We took pictures with his underwater camera (photos hopefully coming soon).
After the sun went down, we went to a Summer Solstice festival and I got to try some more authentic Greek food and then we walked another beach and the moon was absolutely gorgeous! If it weren’t for the lights in the city, the entire island would have probably been illuminated just by the moon.
The fact that it was the Summer Solstice was significant in Cyprus/Greece, according to Fani’s mother. If you made a wish of love, it would come true and it was especially strong if the moon was full. So we made wishes and walked in the glow and I was just thankful for being alive.
Tuesday, we (along with Panos) went to Kurion, ruins from over 2000 years ago! And unlike any other ruins that I have visited, we were allowed to walk among the broken pillars and touch everything. It was a surreal experience, as I’m so used to at least rope dividing us (the spectators) from the ancient. Being able to interact with everything gave it a new weight, making it easier to imagine people lived so long ago and produced such beautiful things.
We went back to the beach house for lunch (and I discovered my sunburn, which I was determined not to get!) before languidly laying around talking about bits and baubles of our lives.
Wednesday, my last day, was spent traveling around her side of the island, visiting beaches while also lamenting how I should have stayed longer. We visited the birthplace of Aphrodite, which is as gorgeous as the name suggests. We stayed for some photos, but due to the rocky (and therefore painful) nature of the beach, we went to another beach to enjoy the surf and the sun (and I lathered myself in sunscreen twice over).
Determined to show me as much of Cyprus as possible before I left, Fani took me to the Apollo sanctuary. It was much more preserved than Kurion and the pictures of the past were clearer and more awesome than anything I have ever seen (outside of a museum).
We went back to the beach house so I could finish packing, lamenting more and more. After some much needed haircuts, we went out on the town. First at a cafe with Aris where we played cards (a Greek game called Bluff and then I taught them the similar game BS) and drank coffee. We then met up with Fani’s friend Anastasia (who I met in Vienna the year before) and we caught up and talked about anything and everything over some very delicious wine.
We moved on to another bar, celebrating my last night, and met up with one more friend of Fani’s, Elena. She was so sweet and said that I must come back to Cyprus so they could take me to a beach party. So I guess it’s a deal? Aris eventually joined us to take Fani and me home. It was a wonderful last night in the beautiful island and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
The next morning brought a teary goodbye with Fani and I was sad to leave. I definitely will be back. But whether that will be before or after my new Cyprus friends visit me in America is yet to be seen.
My flight was a quick four and a half hours before I touched down in Amsterdam. I made my way to Utrecht, where I was to be staying, without much rush. And I was reunited with an old travel companion, Katrina, also from Florida. It was so good to see her and I’m so excited to go to Lindy Swop for the second year in a row with her and our lovely host Maartje (who you might remember me mentioning in Americans in Amsterdam).
I can’t believe I have only one more month in Europe before heading back home to real life! And I can’t wait to make the most of it!