Cyprus: Day 4 24/5/13

Today we got up early for breakfast in order to go to the Tomb of the Kings. The “Tomb of the Kings” is one of Paphos’s most famous historic sites and the guidebook recommended that we visit in the morning (allowing 2 hours to get round), in order to avoid the main heat of the day. 

As it turned out, the Tomb of the Kings is only 5 minutes walk up the road from our hotel. It costs €1.70 per adult entry (guidebook an extra €4) and then you emerge into a vast open area, strewn with large, stone structures. The ground is dry, rocky and dusty (so you need a sturdy pair of shoes if you go).

No actual “kings” were ever buried in these tombs. Instead, it’s reckoned that high status people were put there instead. So much is unknown about the place and bodies and treasure were looted long before the archaeologists got to it. 

There are 8 main tombs and many smaller ones, all containing “loculi”, or alcoves recessed deep into the rock, that once housed bodies. Some tombs are little more than small caves

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but a couple more were of grander appearance, with large stone columns:

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I couldn’t help but be reminded of “Tomb Raider”. Many local pigeons have made their nests in small recesses in the rock. We saw two nests – one had some live baby pigeons in it:

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and the one above had a pair of adults. Further along was another nest with an adult pigeon but a couple of metres or so below on the ground was a small egg:

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How it got there we don’t know, but something inside was moving…. We left it alone though a group of American tourists briefly debated putting the egg back in the nest – though the nest was actually out of easy reach and anyway, as one of the group pointed out (probably rightly), that the mother may have rejected the egg or, at least, if it were put back, she might not want it. 

We spent about an hour and a half on the site and saw as much as there was to see.

Back at the hotel, we spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool. The sky filled with cloud and the wind got up a bit (blowing over a parasol) and eventually, spots of rain began to fall. We headed in and D and I discussed where to go for dinner. D wanted to try a well reviewed place called “The Lodge” which had an African themed menu but specialised in steaks.

To get there required 2 bus rides. So we bought a “day ticket”. These are great – they cost €3 and allow unlimited bus travel during the day. The restaurant’s on a busy strip of road with many other bars/eateries vying for attention. As we arrived, something called the “Exclusive Wedding Bus” pulled up. These are open-topped, red double-deckers (like the sight seeing buses in the UK), and are hired out to wedding parties. A bride and groom were visible on the open top deck and the guests milled about, waving glasses of something. The bus stopped right outside our chosen restaurant and my heart sank but thankfully the party (English), piled into the venue next door, which was obviously set up for a reception. My inner tacky-ometer was going off the scale…

The Lodge is lovely. Run by a very nice South African lady. The sturdy wooden tables have black metal bits on them (slightly Gothic):

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Initially, we sat outside in the closed courtyard. Rush matting lined the fence, there were grasses and reeds growing in pots and in the corner was a silent widescreen TV showing the BBC’s “The Planet” series.

Our waiter was a young Scottish gentleman (picture actor Daniel Mays but Scottish and with glasses). He brought us some nibbles, which were strips of some sort of fried bread with a mango sauce dip. Very tasty.

D & I shared a starter of grilled mushroom and halloumi. By now, the wind was getting stronger so we asked to be moved inside (which was no trouble). For my main course, I had a grilled chicken fillet with “African rice” and “monkey gland” sauce (don’t worry, no monkeys were harmed in its making!) 

The rice was bright red! I asked how they’d done that and was told they use a Chinese spice, though she said they’d originally wanted to make it black but couldn’t figure out how:

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The rice tasted delicious, as did the chicken and sauce (I forget the ingredients but it involved fruit and ginger). 

We both decided to skip dessert and settle up. There was a slight hiccup when it turned out that Alex (the waiter), had inadvertently charged us for a bottle of the house wine when we’d only ordered 2 glasses. The South African lady apologised, saying it was Alex’s first time entering stuff into the till.

Then back it was to the hotel and to bed. 

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