Destination = Aphrodite's Sanctuary, Palaepaphos, Western Cyprus -
I’m visiting the birthplace of Aphrodite in western Cyprus – a sensational beach near Pafos, with an immense sense of beauty and peacefulness and ... can one say it, love!
They say that if you swim around Aphrodite's rock, for every time you complete a circle you regain one year of virginity. Well there's a lot of lost virginity under the bridge, so a metaphysical swim representing X years is all I can muster.
Newly charged with love and beauty, and having affixed my somewhat tattered prayer ribbon for new love upon the Aphrodite prayer tree, I head inland to Aphrodite's Sanctuary. Again, a significantly sacred and beautiful place overlooking the Mediterranean, a scene completed by the lushness of full fruiting pomegranate trees, rosemary and myrtle (Aphrodite's very own symbols of fertility).
Thoroughly sated by the beauty and mystery of the Aphrodite cult (wherein orgiastic ritual and sacrifice was supposed to take place) and thoroughly parched by the 40-degree heat, I plunge into the nearest village taverna for some well-deserved refreshment. Ok, so it’s not quite a taverna – more a local coffee shop, but spotlessly clean with small tables bedecked by blue and white tablecloths. There sitting at the tables are at least 10 men! With their eyes focused on backgammon, cards, coffee and newspapers and with a median age of 70, my stumbling entrance does not so much as raise a hairy, Mediterranean eyebrow. So much for my Ursula Andress coming-out-of-the-sea moment.
Quickly recovering from their total disinterest, I order a beer and toasted sandwich from the cheerful Bulgarian barmaid. Note to self: reconsider metaphysical swimming and always travel with brand new prayer ribbons.
Photo: Coffee and Cards - Palaepaphos, Western Cyprus _ Brenda Addie