Friday, 5 November 2010

Monday 12th April - Limassol, Cyprus

The night had been quite rough on our journey to Limassol, so we were glad that our trip ashore today was not an early start. It was also considerably cooler, more like an autumn day in England than a hot, sunny day in the med. We spent the morning reading our books and had our lunch on the ship before disembarking at 1.15pm for our trip to Omodhos and Lania. This was a trip I'd booked selfishly, since the description in the booklet said Lania "has been an art centre for many years, with some studios mainly showing British artists" and "You may be able to watch some artisans demonstrating their crafts in small workshops".

Clearly I took this snippet of information too literally and fully expected to be chatting to some British artists during the day. This was not to be the case.

However, we started the excursion with a walk up a lovely cobbled street to the village square in Omodhos, which was a very pretty place indeed. We had a complimentary glass of wine in a cafe on the square before heading off with our guide to visit the deserted monastery and  church in the centre of the village. The church had some beautiful wooden carvings inside and supposedly held a piece of the cross that Jesus was crucified on within its walls - I suppose small village churches need a bit of a historical anecdote in order to bring in the tourists, or is that just me being cynical?

In some of these photos, taken of the village square in Omodhos, you can see the monastery in the background  - the archway in the lower half of the building is the way we entered.

Here are some images of the monastery itself, which surrounds the church we visited. Photography was not allowed inside the church, so we only managed to take one outside it.

The Abbott of the Monastery Of The Holy Cross obviously came to a rather unfortunate end, if this memorial is anything to go by:

Here's the one and only photograph we took on the way in to the church, since we weren't allowed to take photographs inside. It looks like one of those "sedan" type chairs, but I'm sure it's not - does anyone know exactly what the purpose of this is?

After our guide had shown us the main items of interest in the church, we took a walk along the narrow cobbled streets up to a wine press musuem. You can see how narrow the streets are compared to my hips on this photo, as I practically rub along each side of the street as I walk down it:

You will notice that I also decided to dress in camouflage that day - a lovely beige ensemble which was designed not only to make me look twice as wide and round as I imagine myself to look, but which also helped to hide said figure against the walls and ground of the streets we visited.

Considering Omodhos, according to the sign on this house above, is the "Land of Wine", the wine press museum was much, much smaller than I'd imagined.  We had to wait for a group of people to leave before we could even get inside - but I loved the old wooden apparatus and the style of the huge ceramic pots on the floor as seen here:

We were left to wander down the streets back to the main square at our leisure and I was pleased to see an old woman busily working on a traditional craft of lace-making, or tatting - I caught her on video camera, but here is a photograph of her, she reminded me of the Grandma in the "Giles" cartoon series that was popular years ago!

As you can tell from the photos of the streets, traditional crafts are still very much part of the way of life here in Omodhos - I could have spent a lot of cash buying ornaments alone, never mind the vast array of foodstuff on offer! I particularly liked the cat ornaments, but decided against buying one since I already have too many at home.

There's that beige clad woman again, trying to hide amongst the tablecloths and shawls!

All around the main square were some wonderfully gnarled trees, which I think were mulberry trees but am not 100% certain.  I loved the view of this garden, above, off the main street. The trees looked like they had recently been cut back and were just starting to bud.

We then set off for what I thought was going to be the highlight of my day - a trip to Lania (even the name sounded romantic - rhyming with Narnia) to see the British and other artists at work in their studios.

How disappointing then, to walk down the main street and be greeted by some other disappointed and rather disgruntled holiday-makers who told us that on Mondays, all the shops and artist's studios are closed! We managed to go into one gallery that was was open, but the owner was so annoyed at us all using the shop-owners toilet facilities that he made the visit very off-putting and I soon walked out without even saying a word to him. Such a shame. I believe that the area was known as the Pleiades Multiplex.

Here's a photo of me outside what would have been a very interesting studio, I'm sure! Ann Pays and Brian Oldfield are two of the resident artists on the Lania arts website here. I have also discovered that the artist whose house I am standing in front of below is Pat Thompson - you can read about him on this website dedicated to Lania.

The resident artists were mainly responsible for the erection of this large sepia photograph of Lania villagers- many of whom have descendants still living in Lania today. The photograph was originally taken in 1894 on completion of the bridge near the Royal Oak, on the main road.

The village itself is very picturesque and I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more had I been able to look at the work of the resident artists - our tour guide really should have known that Mondays were closing day for most of the village shops and studios, and I'm sure that's why she stayed on the coach while we all walked down to the village itself!

Anyhow, here's a couple of photographs of the surrounding countryside to convey the beauty of Cyprus in general and Lania in particular.

After a leisurely trip today , we had plenty of time to get ready for dinner this evening and had a couple of gin & tonics in our room before heading down to the dining room. For the first time on the cruise, we decided to watch the entertainment, since the star from "Britain's Got Talent" 2008, Faryl Smith was recovered from her bout of sea-sickness and all set to entertain us with her amazing voice. Not only was she a superb singer, she has a maturity for her age that I was astounded with. At only 14, she spoke to the audience with all the confidence of a seasoned performer. I can't even imagine what I would have been like in that situation aged 14 - too shy and nervous to talk to a filled auditorium, that's for sure! We thoroughly enjoyed listening to her, even if we were seated at the rear of the ballroom (the correct "form" for attending the entertainment was to bag your seat early on in the evening, I gather). Faryl Smith, you are one talented young woman!