One of the very first places my friend Despina brought me to on my inaugural trip to Cyprus back in about 2000 was Aphrodite's Birthplace on the south west coast as you approach Paphos. This popular site has several names inclusding Aphrodite's Rock or 'Petra Tou Romiou' ('The Rock of The Greek') which I will explain a bit shortly. On my many trips to Cyprus since (7 so far) it's become a little point of pilgrimage for me each time I come, if I can fit it in.
There's no particular reason for this I guess? At the end of the day guys 'n' gals it is nothing more than a small collection of rocks sat upon the coastline, some a few metres out to sea. It is the power of myth draped around them that has elevated them in the public conscience and interest over the centuries and so it goes with myths and legends and socities and superseding civilisations I suppose.
There are some very pretty coastal views here too. Very calming. And over the years I have been here many times with good friends, my mother on what was to be my last holiday with her and latterly my sister, aunt, grandmother and cousins. A holiday to Cyprus now doesn't feel complete for me without this view.
The Myth(s) : There are a couple of variations on the myth of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of beauty and love's birth but the most recounted is that when the ancient Titan Kronos ('Time') castrated his father Ouranos (at his mother Ge or 'Earth's request) he cast his genitals out into the ocean. It is from the resulting foam that swirled all around this dismembered member in the ocean's waters that Aphrodite (Aphros meaning 'foam') is said to have risen out of naked and fully formed.
The latter myth applied to the same rock(s) and bequeathing it the title 'Petra Tou Romiou'
relates to the legend of a Greek superhero figure Digenis Akritis who is said to have picked the large rock (that now rests in the water) from atop the Troodos mountains and cast it at the enemy Saracen ships at sea.
One can really relax here on the pebbled, stoney beach. Today there is a calming breeze cutting across the shore, deceiving people in to fogetting just how punishingly hot and burning the sun above truly is! One of my family and I's favourite things to do on this stretch of beach is to hunt around and collect the many coloured pebbles that carpet the beach. Whilst initially dull shades of dusty brown, chalky white and grey they may appear there is much more to them.
Aphrodite's Birthplace in the distance.
This is just the ones dried beneath the sun. As you approach the waters edge you will notice that seemingly every stone and pebble has a unique colour and patterning of its own. This is a beach-comer, pebble-collector's Heaven believe me. The colours are so rich and vibrant, revealed once kissed by the ocean waves, their surfaces tattooed with intricate veins of white quartz and other darker materials. Great sun can be had picking a dull white stone from higher up the beach, taking it and dipping it in the water to reveal what treasure you may have discovered! Remember though folks!... you can't take them all with you. Your excess baggage weight and costs will soon ramp up and you'll probably get at first quizzical and then accusative glances from the customs officials at the airport as you try and explain away what is technically a substantial chunk of soverign Cypriot land in your spare suitcase! :)
So I'm sat here on a rock right now with the beautiful combination of the sun, the breeze and the waves and Aphrodite's spirit to my side.
And I'm writing just a little note to you guys - the Travbuddy Gang
- just to say a big, BIG
thank you really!!! The European 'first phase' of my big adventure comes to an end when I fly to Cairo tomorrow night and it's been wonderful every step of the way. I have been very blessed in many ways, not least with your kind attentions, time out of your lives (significant
time given the rediculous length of my journal entries to date!) and your kind, intelligent, amusing comments and smiles. You really
making it worth my while. I take the opportunity here to offer special thanks to those whose observations and thumbprints upon my online journey are most frequent, thoughtful and supportive so far, acts that I'm really lost for words to express my gratitude for : Patricia
(KeikoCreative) and m'darling sis Kate
(Ladywes) "thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!"
to you all.
There are so many of you. So many I have not yet been introduced to too. So those of ya readin' it but not yet sayin' "HI",
don't be shy, I'll be nice and always get in touch. I promise :)
On that last point contact for a while may be a little slacker than it's been so far as tomorrow my baby laptop has to fly home to the UK having fallen down with a bad case of 'f**ked battery-itis'. This combined with the fact of heading further from home and not knowing what communication options will be available to me going forward mean blog entries may now become less frequent and (you'll be releaved to here! ;) shorter... probably :D Still in my silences ther's probably half a lifetime's reading already in the first 40 entries so happy browsing and I can't wait to hear from you.
My Threads and message tied around one of Aphrdodite's trees.
.. whoever, or wherever you may be.
(and Aphrodite) xxx
'Threads' : (Reprise)
(The original parts 1, 2 & 3 of 'Threads' are to be found in journal entries 6 (Paris), 10 (Meppel) and 16 (Vienna) respectively.
One last act before I leave you. Before I leave Cyprus, Europe and what is my 'home' continent and comfort zone. The other thing that many people like to do at Aphrodite's Birthplace is to tie little votive ribbons, or twists of paper around the branches of the various olive bushes down on the beachside. These may be just gestures of honour to the Goddess herself, or messages to loved ones etc. Today I have quickly penned a little note of thanks to my family and I feel at this stage of my journey it is apt for me to leave something of some signifcance behind also.
TB lovin' on the shore of Aphrodite's Birthplace.
Something than just my words. Of which there are often many :) And so it is that for the second time I loose my cotton-coloured Parisian threads from off my wrist and use them to tie my message to Aphrodite's tree and there, for a time, through rain, wind and sunshine they shall remain. I shall remain. And my thoughts and love of my family. For families are tied together. Multifarious characters and colours of personality and emotions all entwined together to make a richer pattern, a stronger circle of threads when combined. And many of my family have passed this site, and will continue to do so I feel through time. So whilst I have left my threads now far behind, yet it is I still feel their loving bind.