The fact that I was the only one on the trail should have been a big clue. Aphrodite frolicked here on the Akamas peninsula in Cyprus with her various suitors, but I bet she gave it a miss in the blistering heat of August. I was torn between the pull of the local taverna to my right and tackling the dirt track before me heading up into the mountains. A 4×4 bounced crazily by throwing up a shower of dry earth and forcing me to step back. I was ultimately grateful; time to reconsider. The donkey sheltering beneath a nearby olive tree nodded sagely.
I stopped by this tree, snapped off a few photographs and retraced my steps.
My rucksack sagged under the weight of water bottles, suncream and various hats so, suitably prepared, I headed instead for the Tombs of The Kings in Paphos. It was not entirely coincidental that the route passed by my local village fournos (bakery) where I can never resist the tiropittes – feta cheese-stuffed pinwheels of warm, flaky pastry heaven. My bakery may not push out the best tiropittes in Cyprus but they’re definitely some of the biggest. Top of my list, then.
Way back in the 4th century BC, the top brass of Paphos were buried in elaborate chambers complete with private wells (presumably to quench their thirst in the event of an over hasty burial) and stashes of coins in anticipation of that great department store in the sky. Despite the name, no royalty is buried here. The title ‘Tombs of The Kings’ is thought to indicate the important social standing of its occupants. The tombs are impressive; just how did they create such precision without all the tools we have at our disposal today? It’s a question I ask myself often.
I had packed my audio recorder with the intention of creating a short podcast whilst exploring the tombs. I made three valiant attempts but eventually conceded to the cicadas who were in fine fettle that day. I had imagined that their vibrant sound would make a perfect background to my audio but I was completely drowned out! My family have voted it one of their favourite audios…