Landing in Larnaca

Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 March

Larnaca was fast food, rain and a grey beach. One of the more popular holiday resorts in Cyprus.

We found a very nice apartment with a view to the beach and palms. Emily let us in and gave us the rules. Obviously they were very attached to the apartments they let out.

We walked along the beach. The number of fast food outlets amazed us. Everyone was there – hamburgers, chicken, coffee – all the major outlets.

As everywhere, drinking coffee is an international past time, as is eating cake or ice cream. But there was not much on offer for food other than the fast food outlets. We were starting to think this was a bad choice.

We bought breakfast food at a local mini store. We couldn’t find a large supermarket.

The Fortress in Larnaca is most famous. A small Byzantine fortification was built in the late 14th century by the French King James I. It was later strengthened by the Ottomans during their occupation between 1571 and the 19th century.

We then visited Kebir, the Grand Mosque of Larnaca, next to the fortress. It was built as a Gothic style church in the 16th century and has since been converted to a mosque. There was certainly no hiding its earlier life in its structure, although the mihrab had been realigned to face Mecca.

Next stop was Agios Lazarus (St Lazarus church). After Jesus brought Lazarus of Bethany from the dead Lazarus moved to Cyprus and was appointed Bishop of Kition (present day Larnaca). It is said he lived for another 30 years. After his second death he was buried in this church.

Unlike the churches we had visited in the Balkans, there was no entry fee and photography was allowed. The church was richly decorated with elaborate iconostasis.

Our next destination was some museums, but of course they were closed. It still isn’t summer yet. We did find the archaeological site. It was raining so the staff were taking time out, which gave us the opportunity to wander amongst the artefacts including an ancient olive oil press which had been reconstructed.

And to our delight, we found a restaurant area, away from the beachfront and its fast food outlets. It was far more appealing both to us and the young hipsters that filled its many restaurants and bars.