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Trip Report Trip Report: Cyprus, Rome, and Athens in Feb

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We had a fantastic trip to Cyprus, Rome and Athens, thanks in large part to the wonderful advice I received from Fodorites. I will start by saying that this trip was initiated by my DH's business trip to Cyprus. Roughly, he needed to be in Cyprus on two consecutive weekends, with some free time in between. Perfect opportunity for a trip for me! So I started researching easy flights from Cyprus, and Rome quickly became the obvious choice. Our theme of our trip turned out to be "we wait in no lines," which again was mostly due to the great info I received from this forum.

We flew easily from Newark to London to Larnaca. Not much is written on this board about Cyprus, but we found it to be lovely. Of course, it is primarily a beach destination but we were there in February, so did not get to enjoy the typical tourist areas. We were also staying in Nicosia, which is an inland city, so did not really see the coast. Coming from the US east coast, though, we found the weather (15-20 C every day) to be spectacular. I enjoyed several days strolling around Nicosia while hubby worked. Ledra Street is the main shopping street in the old city and has lots of cafes, shops etc. One of the main social experiences of Cypriots is drinking coffee... it seemed like every other business was a coffee shop. Frappes or espresso freddo (ice coffees) are especially popular, and I must say I quite enjoyed sampling them. I walked all around the old city, including the walls and Famagusta gate, and crossed the green line several times into North Nicosia . Nicosia is a divided city, as the north part of the city (and country) are Turkish-occupied. It was very easy, though to cross between the two sides just by showing your passport. On the Turkish side, we had a delightful lunch in the sun, eating within the walls of the Buyuk Han. I also spent an afternoon at the hammam, experiencing a Turkish bath for the first time in my life. Magnificent!

One day I took the bus from Nicosia to Limassol. It was an easy and pleasant ride, and I got a nice view of the water as we rode along the coast. I wandered around the old port area, and enjoyed the castle/ medieval museum. A very nice day. On another evening, DH's business associates treated us to one of the best meals of my life. We went to a traditional Greek taverna. It was the kind of place we never would have known existed if traveling on our own... we walked through a non-descript, unidentified door into an open courtyard with an outdoor stove, then indoors again to our table. We were a group of 8 (4 couples). After the wine was poured (Cypriot wine is really good!) the food started arriving... and arriving and arriving. First there were several different vegetables, then pita and tahini, then cheese, more vegetables, sausages, and then plates and plates of meat (souvlaki). More wine, more toasts... we felt really welcomed to this small little country and made new friends in our wonderful hosts.

We really enjoyed Nicosia, though after a few days I felt I had really seen and done everything there was there. I'm guessing most visitors to Cyprus would be satisfied with a day trip. I should add that the economic difficulties of the country are apparent in the number of empty storefronts throughout the city. Ledra Syreet and several other areas are bustling, but there are many streets in the old city that are essentially abandoned. I should add, though, that I always felt completely safe everywhere I went, including walking by myself at night.

After a long weekend in Nicosia (Thurs- Mon) we were off to Rome! Just like on our flights over, no lines at the airports, sailed right through. Oh the joys of traveling in February!

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