When studying abroad, it is nice that there is time given to explore other locations and sites. While participating in the study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel, students are encouraged to do a little bit of exploring, and given time to do so. Classes are held Monday through Thursday so my weekends last from Thursday evening until Sunday evening. Recently I decided to take this opportunity to, as many friends here suggested, go on a quick jaunt to the island of Cyprus.
Cyprus is considered to be culturally Greek but is not an actual part of Greece. The entire island and the Republic of Cyprus are part of the European Union, though this does not quite apply to the northern portion of the island under Turkish control. The area I visited on my little jaunt is called Paphos, the capital city of western Cyprus.
This area is also considered the be the birthplace of Aphrodite. That’s right, Cyprus is the mythical birthplace of the Greek goddess of love and passion! Before she reached goddess status, Aphrodite was a beautiful young girl who was born and lived on the island, near Paphos. I and a few close friends of mine had the wonderful opportunity to explore the island of this goddess.
During our explorations, we decided to visit The Tombs of the Kings, an extremely large necropolis which stretches about two kilometers north of Paphos Harbour. The sunsets over this area are awesome, as well. The tombs are considered to be the most important archeological site in Cyprus.
When visiting, I sat in awe as I imagined that I was in the Hellenistic and Roman period when the tombs had been established. The tombs were not actually built to hold royalty, but they were given the name based on the grand stature in which they were built.
My friends and I had a wonderful time exploring the site. After, since bus transportation is provided every 15 minutes, we were able to return to the shore in a matter of minutes to enjoy a nice dinner by the seaside.
A lovely restaurant called Tea for Two, located directly across the street from the sea, is a wonderful eatery that we frequented quite often on our excursion. We were able to enjoy our meals on a window enclosed terrace while enjoying the beautiful sunsets Cyprus had to offer. The place itself, the staff and the awesome food are all wonderful. The prices are so inexpensive; a full meal can range between five to ten euros at the most. The dishes are not only exquisite in flavor, so much food is given on one plate that two to three people can share one meal and feel well fed.
Being able to take this jaunt and explore was a sweet experience. So not only does studying abroad allow me time to study and interact with the wonderful people of Israel, but it also allows me time to explore some close, and historically significant, locations that I have always see. I mean come on … who wouldn’t want to take their weekend homework to one of the most beautiful, historic and relaxing places in the world?
I challenge all of you reading this blog: Go visit Cyprus or other similar locations. It will be an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget.
Elizabeth Jones is a transfer student majoring in criminal justice and international security and conflict resolution (ISCOR). She is studying at University of Haifa in Israel for an entire academic year.
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