Previously, I wrote about a trip that several friends and myself took to Paphos, Cyprus last semester. You can read that post here.
However, how many of you have ever ended your semester feeling completely drained and realized you needed a time of rest, peace and relaxation? How many have ever wanted to just set that heavy backpack down and fall flat on your back and not move your body for at least a week?
Well, I was feeling that way. That’s why I took the opportunity to do a return trip to the Island of Cyprus!
“Just like Aphrodite, I decided to treat myself as a Goddess, too, during the week.”
I did not get enough of Cyprus the first time, so I decided to do a return trip and use this time to do a complete body, brain, and system reboot. I literally fell flat on my back and, at many times, did not move from one spot for hours.
The opportunity came at the best of times because it had just started to constantly pour rain in my host city of Haifa, Israel. Most of you know how it is with we Californians: If the weather dips below 70 degrees, then it’s time to pull out all the stops on our winter gear. The boots, fur coats, sweaters, leg warmers and anything else we can find comes out. So you could only imagine how I felt when, when Israel began to have a downpour. I mean, it came down like a flood and continued off and on for several weeks.
And, oh my yes, it was beyond freezing.
I quickly took this time to hop on the first plane out to Cyprus.
Cyprus is a beautiful island country located in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is also known for being the third largest and most populated island. The area of Paphos is where many tourists from all over the world frequent to get away from the cold areas where they live.
During my stay, I was invited by several people to visit the Medieval Castle of Paphos. What an interesting place to explore! The castle is located right at the edge of the Paphos Harbour. It was originally built as a fort by the Byzantine to protect the harbour. After a major earthquake destroyed and demolished the fort in 1222, it was rebuilt as a castle by the Lusignans during the 13th century. It then was demolished again by the Ottoman invasion, and rebuilt by the Ottomans, upon their capture of the island in the 16th century.
The castle still stands today. I learned that, throughout time, the castle had been used as a prison and a place to store of salt during the time of British colonies. The place was very cold and damp on the inside. I decided right away that I would have rather been dead than held as a prisoner in this place.
But in all, it was a nice piece of history to learn about and to be able to share with each of you.
Near the castle I noticed something a little strange laying stretched out on the rocks. The sun was setting and it was just shadowed enough to catch the silhouette. I swore up and down that a mermaid had stretched herself across the rocks. It was getting late, so I decided to come back the next day to explore.
The next day, after eating a wonderful breakfast at Tea for Two — a quaint little restaurant — I took the long stroll down the harbor to see if I could find that mysterious silhouette from the previous evening.
Upon finding her, still laid out on the rocks, one of the locals explained to me that the area is called Petra tou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite’s Rock. The place is a sea stack of rocks located off the main road of Paphos to Limassol. It is a vision of beauty during the day as the sun gleams off the statue, adding a sense of mystery to the mythological story of the Goddess Aphrodite having been born there, as she still suns herself on her rocks.
Just like Aphrodite, I decided to treat myself as a Goddess too, during the week. Many times I just sat out and soaked up the sun as I drank white chocolate mocha coffee in the morning, and ended my days with drinks made of a mixture of fresh oranges, apples and carrots — all freshly squeezed.
I also enjoyed the best food ever. We have where I’m from in the Southern United States that goes: “The food is so good that if you get any on your forehead, it will make your tongue slap your brains out trying to lick it off!” Well, I found some of the best food I have ever tasted here in the places I have had the opportunity to study and explore.
By the end of my trip, I was fully recharged. The computer in my brain was fully functioning again and ready to take on the new spring semester of languages and additional studies. I returned ready to go, with a new look and glow.
I advise all to take some time out from your heavy workload —and just life in general — to give yourself a chance to rest and relax. It doesn’t have to be long, but give time to yourself. You will find the old engine will keep on tickin’ with a little maintenance of rest and relaxation.
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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