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May 30, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Cyprus (part 3)

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This week, we finish off our trip to Europeís southernmost country, Cyprus. Things get exciting when I try to escape my tour group and cross the "Green Line" border to the northern part of the island, which has been occupied by the Turks since 1974. If youíre in a hurry, thereís a 5-minute Johnny Jet video of my trip to Cyprus at the end of this weekís story.

The last few nights I spent in Cyprus were at the four star, (though I would rate it 3.5), 291-room Mediterranean Beach Hotel. Itís located on the waterfront in Limassol and is much nicer inside than it looks from the busy road it is connected to. The lobby was packed with business travelers and tour groups mainly from the UK and Russia. What I liked most, besides the friendly staff, was the location. Itís near lots of attractions and cafťs and is situated on a black sand beach with a breakwater that people fish off of. When I was there in late March, beach season hadnít quite begun (it usually begins April 1) so the pool and beach were desolate. The hotel offers free wireless Internet but unfortunately, its service is patchy and I had to continually call down to the front desk to ask them to restart it. Room rates begin at CY£45 ($103 USD) a night for a single and includes a decent breakfast buffet. Mediterranean Beach Hotel; Amathus Avenue, Limassol, Cyprus; tel.: +357-25311777.

A 10-minute drive from the Mediterranean Beach Hotel takes you to Istorikon Restaurant which is where I had my best dining experience in all of Cyprus. Istorikon is located in the center of Lemesos, in a 19th century wine cellar. Itís the perfect place to go for a fun night out with friends and family; they have a band playing both Greek and Cypriot tunes, creating a fun and festive atmosphere. On top of that, the restaurant serves an exceptional Greek meze (short for mezedhes which is similar to Spanish tapas) for CY£12 ($27 USD). You definitely wonít leave hungry! Istorikon Restaurant; Tel: +357 25 377700.

The following day, I left for the 45-minute drive to Nicosia (locals call it Lefkosia). Halfway there, I stopped off at the Neolithic settlement of Choirokitia. Itís been included on UNESCOís world heritage list and is described as one of the most important ancient sites in the Eastern Mediterranean. Itís the oldest Neolithic settlement so far discovered and dates back to about 5,800 BC. The Choirokitia people were small, with flat oval heads and died young (around the age of 40). Their livelihood was hunting wild animals, farming, raising livestock (sheep, goats and pigs) and trading with nearby countries. They lived in igloo-shaped huts made of stone, pebbles and sealed with sun-baked mud bricks. It doesnít sound like they had a good time so Iím just thankful God waited several thousand years to pop me.

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Pictures From

The Trip


Mediterranean Beach Hotel


My Room


Black Sand Beach


Istorikon Restaurant


Istorikon Food


Neolithic settlement of Choirokitia


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