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Euro Trip Day 5: Relatives and Monasteries

Part of our 2008 European Trip. See the explanation and summary entry.

We have spent the past few days on another part of Cyprus staying with Des' relatives.

It's funny, because in making the journey we have almost crossed the entire island, and it's barely a couple of hundred kilometres. We had this big map, which looked quite big geographically, but when you look at the legend, two finger widths equals 20km! The distance we drove would barely get us past the Tweed in driving south from Brisbane (although it did take a lot longer than that trip because of all the mountain roads etc.).

Yesterday we saw Kolossi Castle and went swimming on a beach near there. The water was awesome but the sand was really a substance closer to dirt. We are quite spoilt living in south-east Queensland having the best beaches in the world less then an hour away from us.

Today we took the lengthy mountain drive up to Kykkos Monastery. The basis of the monastery is around an icon that St Luke painted, and the iconography there tells quite a story (see below for a sample).

Icons at Kykkos Monastery

The church there and the monastery in general is quite amazing, but unfortunately it is also quite a tourist magnet. There were hundreds of people there, and i can't seem to escape the pushing-old-greeks from church in Australia: as when we went to venerate the inconastasi we got exactly the same treatment (people pushing-in, pushing us in the back when there is no room to move in front, etc).

Me with an Arsenal pillow for sale outside Kykkos MonasteryI was quite surprised and disappointed by the commercialism directly outside the monastery too. Not only did the adjacent stores sell stuff related to the monastery (eg prayer ropes, icons, etc), but lots of largely unrelated wares too. See me pictured with an Arsenal pillow for sale in the store there. It reminds me of the part of the Gospels when Jesus goes nuts in the bazaar and money-changers adjacent to the Temple in Jerusalem.

After today and visiting Des' relatives tonight, I'm not feeling too great, so it's an early night in for us.

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