"" Writer's Wanderings: Limossol, Cyprus

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Limossol, Cyprus


What a morning! It started out normally. We rose at our usual time and went down for breakfast, eating leisurely because the free shuttle bus into the city was not scheduled to begin its run until 9 AM. The view from the ship told us that Limossol was a large city but the Old Port area was supposed to be worth the trip in.

By nine, we were ready to leave and made the long walk past our ship and halfway past another to the terminal (there were five huge arched terminals in port) where our shuttle bus was to be. The bus filled quickly and we started out to the Old Port area of town where the major sights and the tourist area was. 

Not quite halfway there, traffic backed up because of an accident up ahead. Several times as we inched forward our bus stalled. The driver turned off the AC hoping, I'm sure, that it would help solve the problem. Eventually, we were the traffic problem as we realized the cars were no longer backed up but going around our bus. The driver tried and tried to get it going but it kept stalling out.

We looked up the distance on Google Maps and found we were about 1.4 miles away from the Old Port. We've walked that much often so we decided we'd get off the bus with several others who were getting out of their seats and asking to be let out of the bus. The driver indicated that another bus was coming.

The bus it turned out was a city bus who graciously pulled over and let everyone crowd onto his bus without paying. He let us out near the church and castle that were the landmarks we wanted to see. Traffic was horrendous but we managed to cross the street safely and get our bearings. 

We found the church first. The Ayia Napa Cathedral was a majestic building with clean lines and a marble fountain in its courtyard. With a couple of other tourists, we entered the courtyard and went up the few steps to the door and stepped inside. You always do it cautiously because you're never sure if there might be a service or people praying or even an entry fee for visitors. There were none of those and we lingered a bit to look around and take in a small moment of peace after all the confusion to get there.

Using Bob's phone, we followed the map through some of the streets of the Old Port. There were quaint shops and restaurants tucked into mostly nicely renovated buildings. The area was just coming alive. It wasn't a place you went for breakfast obviously. 

Eventually we found our way to the major landmark, the Limossol Castle. As with so many of the historic old buildings that have lasted for centuries, it is a structure that was built upon another and another and probably another. It had many uses over those hundreds of years. 

The castle as it exists today was rebuilt in around 1590 during Ottoman rule but according to tradition it is said that Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre here and crowned her Queen of England in 1191.

The inside has been turned into a Medieval Museum with all sorts of weapons, armor and other artifacts from the period. Somewhere I read that it was used as a prison at some time and there were indications it may have been built upon an old church. Several places open in the floor or walls show that the castle you see today is actually layers of other previous structures.

The castle was more interesting than the last one we'd seen but there was little airflow through it and while it wasn't as hot as outside in the sun, it was very uncomfortable. We explored all the rooms but didn't linger.

Outside we found an interesting reproduction of an old olive oil press. And nearby, was a gnarly old olive tree that actually had olives on it. It was the only one we'd seen in these weeks of traveling though olive countries that still had olives.

Both of us decided we'd had enough exploring plus we had no idea where the shuttle to the ship would pick us up since we'd transferred to the public bus. All we knew was that it was supposed to be near the castle. Now usually we see others from our ship who have their key cards on a lanyard around their neck. I thought if we could find someone who got dropped off at the shuttle stop we could ask where it was. No such luck.

We wandered back and forth for a while on the street where we'd been dropped off. While we searched for anything that looked like a shuttle bus or a group of people waiting for one, we witnessed a lady get hit by a car and a few moments later near that accident a truck and a taxi mixing it up. With all that going on, the weather heating up and little breeze for relief, we made the decision to get a public bus back to the New Port where our ship was.

Bus number 30 we were told in a port briefing the previous night went back and forth to the city and the Old Port so we looked for a bus stop near where the bus had dropped us off. We saw three bus 30s pass by before we found a stop and figured with our luck we'd have a long wait.

Thankfully, we spotted the bus up the road and watched as it neared us through the stop and go traffic. We had just enough euros (3) to cover our ride and we enjoyed an AC ride back to the ship. There was still quite a walk from the terminal to the ship in the sun but it was good to be out of the traffic.

There are a few ports on my list where I'd rather stay on the ship than contend with the port. This one goes on the top. The alternative would be an excursion out of town. The upside of this is that we can put another pin on our map for a place we hadn't been before. 

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