A tale of two museums

I visited both the archaeological and the ethnographic museum in Paphos which were both excellent, but very different.

The archaeological one, like its counterpart in Larnaca, was really well interpreted. The various displays were informative, and there was very clear signage, with illustrations and some great mock ups of things like burial pits and kitchens.

It made the whole of the experience really interesting, something I have not really found with previous Neolithic collections. I loved this display of different sized needles, the smallest was about an inch long.

One of the most interesting, and unique, was this set of terracotta hot water bottles, shaped to fit various parts of the body. They dated from the Roman era and were fascinating. Not so very different from what I do now when I’ve got a bad back!

The timeline display made it easy to follow the development of things like the pottery, and the way that devotional figures were used, and it made it a very interesting experience. You really got a sense of the people who had made these things.

The second museum was the Ethnographic Museum, which is in the centre of the town. It is the collection of one man, George Eliades, who in 1958 opened his home to show off his collection to the public.

It is an amazing place to visit, not only to look around a traditional house, with room underneath to store wagons, and I assume stable horses. There is also space for workshops, one of the rooms was set up as a weaving workshop.

Outside there is a millstone, and a bread oven, water troughs and underground storage.

Three of the upstairs rooms are open, the library, dining room and entrance hall, all crammed with textiles and collections.

It is a beautifully eclectic place, a huge contrast to the carefully displayed and interpreted archaeological museum, but what a fascinating place.

As always my favourite part was the textile collection. There were some gorgeous woven hangings in the upper rooms.

One of the lower ground floor rooms was set out as a bedroom, with hanging garments and some splendid and unusual seat covers made of pointed scraps.

The interpretation was limited to framed information taken from reference books, and some photos like this one of a woman spinning.

However, it was the sheer enthusiasm of the original collector, and his family in keeping his collection, that was the real star of the place. It was an amazing collection and I am so glad that it has been preserved by them.

Both types of museums have a place to play in heritage, they represent very different aspects, and both have their merits and disadvantages. I am so glad that I have the chance to visit all of these wonderful places.

I am now back at Ellen’s for a little while, leaving Katy behind at my sister’s until July. I have been spending a lovely afternoon booking my campsites for the summer, and my channel tunnel crossing πŸ™‚

I am so excited for that, and for all the lovely adventures yet to come. It will be great to get back to Spain, especially as I am going to do lots of research on my trip through France and Spain in October when I return to Spain.

I hope that you all are looking forward to the rest of the year, it really doesn’t seem possible that it is another season here in the UK, time is going so fast. I hope you are enjoying whatever you are doing, and are able to plan nice things for the months ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A wander around Wolverley

The planned visits to Trust properties didn’t happen due to some heavy rain so instead I have been taking advantage of the time to organise the van and have a walk around the village.

This is what I love about being able to travel with no time restrictions, I can spend my life being able to not worry about seeing everything at once, and just enjoy where I am. I will be back in this area in the summer so will add the properties to my list for then.

Wolverley is a very cute little English village, and had a couple of unusual features that make is special.

The first is a local legend concerning the Lord of the Manor, Sir John Attwood, who went off to fight in the early 1200s in the Middle East. He was injured and captured, but was then allegedly mysteriously returned home by a swan.

The legend is commemorated by a carving near the river and the knight’s effigy can be found in the local church.

The Manor House is now a nursing home, but there are many other beautiful old houses, showing this has always been a place of importance. This one below was built in 1876 and reminds me of Lacock Abbey, another Trust house.

There are also some very cute cottages in the middle of the village, some made even more special by the matching garlands on the doors!

I love the idea of spring or Easter wreaths as well as Christmas ones, these tulips are so pretty. It was lovely to see all the trees in blossom along the river.

The village is dominated by a beautiful church which sits high on the red rock outcrop, with a winding path up to it.

As with all old churches there were some gorgeous headstones.

There was also some beautiful embroidery done by the local Mothers’ Union and WI.

I have seen a similar Mary stitching in other churches so maybe it was a common thing for the Union to make.

In the church there was also this very unusual stitched map. There were cross stitched pictures done from photos of village locations with an embroidered map of the village, and information about the houses.

It was there I discovered that the village had some old Rock houses. Similar to the cave houses in Spain, these are a feature of this area.

There were two old ones in the centre of the village, clearly long abandoned but it looked like one had maybe been used for a Nativity or Santa’s Grotto.

I love little wanders like this, off the main tourist trail, it is so interesting what you find. I ended with a nice pint of cider watching a boat go through the lock, all in the name of canal history research you understand!

The van is now sorted properly, I needed to live in it again for a while to work out where things would be be stored and maximise my space.

I will be going back to my sister’s tomorrow and leaving Katy behind for a few months. I still have lots of adventures planned though so will be back here with more of those soon.

Hope you all have a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

‘Here within the Severn Valley ‘

The secondary school I went to was a very traditional one, with a founder’s day and a school song which started with this line. I do also remember something about it being ‘bright with gardens and rich in streams’.

We also had four different houses that you belonged to, a bit like Hogwart’s, and my house was Severn. The others were Avon, Bredon and Cotswold.

So I grew up knowing the Severn Valley quite well, at least my part of it, but have been keen to explore other areas on my UK trips. I am currently camping in Worcestershire, just outside a little village called Wolverley.

I chose this location as it is right by the canal as well so I’ve been doing some canal walks and visiting some canal heritage sites. There are also squirrels that play in front of the trees and I love seeing them.

The River Severn was a very important one in terms of trade in the area. It is the longest river in the UK and runs from its source in Wales, through the major cities of Worcester and Gloucester to join the sea near Bristol. This meant that the river, and the canals that joined it, were vitally important for trade.

I have always loved visiting canals, living so close to the one in Marsden I walked there a lot. It was doing the history of canals course with the WEA last autumn thar gave me a new appreciation of what feats of engineering they are. I love all heritage and appreciate industrial heritage just as much as the grand houses that I love.

Walking alongside this part of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal you can only marvel at the rock that had to be cut through to make the route. Many routes followed contour lines and so this canal has many bends in it.

It is also very wide in places, making it good for trade, though there are lots of locks that can still only take one boat at a time. Ultimately it was these delays that made the new railways so much more competitive, and so many were closed.

Happily there has been a lot of restoration for leisure purposes and so boats can be seen up and down this canal. Many of the houses also have their own moorings. I love the decorations in the second photo from one of the canalside houses.

I also visited Stourport on Severn, which in the Georgian era was the second biggest inland port in the UK. The canal linked with the river and with the Trent and Mersey canal, enabling goods to be transported north.

The river was very high, probably as a result of all the snow that we had last week melting. There are often floods in this area.

Thankfully the canal basins have been saved and although there is no trade now, there are places to hire narrow boats and the surrounding wharves and canal hotels have been preserved.

It has been lovely being back camping in Katy and I have not been too cold at all. There was one night where it was -3 and I woke up to ice on the inside of the windows, but I was warm and toasty with my fleeces and hot water bottles.

I have a couple of new things in her, the mandala I stitched looks very lovely and I have a cute new storage tin. A friend had a similar one which I loved so found this on Ebay.

I was also given these cute lavender sachets for Christmas and they have the same fabric as my cushion backs. So all is very pretty in Katy!

I am also planning a couple of National Trust visits and some woodland walking so will hopefully be able to post about those before I return to Ellen’s next week.

I hope that you are all having a good weekend, the sun is shining here and it feels very spring like, there are so many daffodils around which is lovely.

Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A little rest stop

I am currently enjoying a longer than planned visit to my old home village of Marsden. I spent a week at my sister’s getting Katy sorted, and then had a wonderful drive to Ellen’s. It was brilliant to be back driving Katy after 5 months away. At Ellen’s I was able to volunteer at the food bank for a day.

They have so many new projects starting. They have recently set up a mobile supermarket for rural areas. They are also planting an allotment and orchard, and have plans for fixing donated white goods, such as washing machines and fridges, to donate to families in need. Although it is not good that they are still so needed, it is brilliant to see everything that they do.

I drove over to Kerry’s last weekend, and we went to Hardwick for a research visit. I have written most of one character timeline for my first novel, and am now starting on the other, which is set in the 1940s. I wanted to see what interpretation they have for Evelyn, the last owner of the house.

There were some really interesting display boards referring to the notebooks she kept when she started conserving the textiles. I am going to contact Chatsworth, where the archives are held, to see if I can visit in the summer to look at these.

One of my favourite displays was of Evelyn’s reproduction of one of Hardwick’s most famous pieces of embroidery. The original has ES in the centre, for Elizabeth Shrewsbury, Bess’s last married name. Evelyn’s had ED, for Evelyn Devonshire.

What was even more exciting than seeing that piece, was seeing her sewing bag. It is often these little human touches that mean the most when looking at textiles, and that is really what the novel is about. I have always been interested in the people behind the textiles, whose stories are often lost.

The plan was then to do a short tour of friends in Yorkshire before heading off to Derbyshire camping, but snow has altered that somewhat.

My lovely friends had all offered me accommodation for my stays, but when I got to Marsden on Monday it was clear that the forecast was not good for the rest of the week.

Two days of snow later and we were digging the cars out of 14 inches of it. In the picture below you can just see Katy buried in the snow!

So I am still at my friend Jane’s house, where I am house sitting for the weekend, and looking after her lovely Frankie, who is not very impressed by the snow as it is so deep. We have been cuddling up on the sofa in fleecy blankets.

Jane managed to get away to see her family by train, but was delayed by 24 hours. The snow has caused a lot of problems here with road closures, as the village is surrounded by moorland.

This has meant though that I have had chance to catch up with everyone here, and go to the new knitting group, which is located at the new wool shop in the village.

Woolly Tap is a gorgeous place, and they have knitting and crochet groups three times a week. If you are in the area do call in, they have so many beautiful things, including accessories and very cute bags.

The wool shop is located in one of the old mill buildings, very near these original tenter posts in the photo above, which were used to stretch the cloth as it dried. This is the origin of the phrase ‘on tenterhooks ‘ as the woollen cloth was hooked between the posts.

I am currently working on a little dress to go with the rainbow dolls that I shared with you a while ago. This yarn is from a friend and is a lovely variegated denim colour. As I will now be here until next week I am hoping to get the last bits of the other set of reindeer knitted, just the feet to go.

I am still hoping to do one week of camping, further south, weather permitting. I will then be back a Ellen’s for a while so can post the last pictures from Paphos then.

It will not be long until I am back in Spain, where it is currently 24 degrees, rather than 1, but I have really enjoyed being back here for a bit.

I hope you have all had a good few weeks, and have coped with any strange weather. Have a good week ahead, and see you all soon. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Paphos – old and new

My last few days in Paphos were spent visiting the local museums and the last of the archaeological sites. There are some wonderful things at both of the main sites, Tomb of the Kings and Nea Paphos.

I hadn’t expected such a wealth of ancient history and it was very well interpreted with QR codes to access a detailed guide and audio tour.

I was also very lucky with the weather, it was beautiful both days and there were stunning blue skies. After visiting the Tombs of the Kings I went on a walk along the coast as the sea was so beautifully blue.

The Tombs of the Kings are hugely impressive structures, it is not known if any actual kings were buried here, there may have been an Egyptian Ptolemy, but they were probably built for local dignitaries from the 4th century BC.

The scale of the site is very impressive. There are a range of different types of tombs, all carved down into the limestone.

My favourite one was this with the beautiful columns, the light inside the tomb was fantastic.

The second site, Nea Paphos, is near the harbour and the castle.

It contains remains of Roman villas, and a medieval castle. The site has been used for thousands of years and contains the most beautiful mosaics.

The largest house had mosaic floors in all of the rooms and this was in a covered structure.

Of course I kept seeing quilt inspiration everywhere!

It is very clear to see where the architectural inspiration comes from for modern Paphos, and indeed the world.

These fragments below were part of the collection at the Archaeological Museum in Paphos, which I will write more about in the next post.

The iconic architecture of columns is everywhere and there were some beautiful examples on the official buildings in Paphos.

I had an absolutely amazing time in Cyprus, I feel that I really managed to see a lot of the country in my five weeks,and really enjoyed all of the different walks I did, and the museums that I visited.

I have been back in the UK for a week now, briefly at Ellen’s, and mostly at my sister’s in Worcester. We went to a very good music festival at the weekend. I have also been getting the van MOTed, insured, and sorting out booking campsites for the rest of this trip, and when I return to the UK in the summer.

It has been wonderful to be re-united with Katy, I have bought her some new seat covers which go beautifully with the latest mandala embroidery. When she is all set up again in a couple of weeks I will take some more pictures of her. I also bought a great new sticker for her from the festival.

I am off back up North tomorrow, spending a week catching up with family and friends before setting off on my next set of camping adventures. I’ll be doing some walking, hopefully, and a little bit of visiting canals, following upon some of the things that I learnt in my recent history of canals course.

I will be back soon with the final one of the Paphos posts, until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A cluster of cloisters

I don’t know what the collective term for cloisters really is, but I saw so many on my trip to the Troodos mountains. The trip specifically exists to visit three of the many monasteries in the Troodos mountains here in Cyprus, and was an excellent day out, combining two of my favourite things, mountains and religious architecture.

As you may know if you are a regular reader, I love going on coach trips. Even though I now have the van, being on a coach trip with a knowledgeable guide, and a driver who can cope with the endless, very twisty mountain roads, is an excellent way to see the area and the trip was brilliant.

I was picked up at one of the local hotels just 10 minutes walk away, and we also got to stop for a delicious buffet lunch, and visit one of the mountain villages as well. A very worthwhile day out that I highly recommend if you come here.

The drive through the mountains was well worth the trip alone, it was brilliant to see such a different side of Cyprus, including quite a lot of snow.

They have actually had less snow here than previous years, however there are four ski resorts in these mountains. We drove all the way around Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Cyprus.

The first monastery was the very small Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery, in a beautiful location overlooking one of the dams.

This monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the legend of finding an icon in a golden pomegranate tree.

The monastery was a beautifully kept stone structure, and you can see how life there would have been peaceful and allowed for lots of contemplation.

The second visit was to the Kykos monastery, where the icon in the church is said to have been painted by St Luke.

There are lots of representations of this icon, in mosaic and wall paintings. I bought a small version to bring home with me as well.

This is one of the largest, richest and most famous of the Cypriot monasteries, as it is where the first president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios 3rd, was educated and was a monk. Our guide told us a lot about his life and filled in some of the gaps in Cypriot history for me.

The archbishop was heavily involved in the fight for Cypriot independence from the British and in the later invasion by the Turkish army.

It is a stunningly beautiful place, everywhere you look there are courtyards and wall paintings and the most incredible mosaics.

I think these are my two favourite paintings, the Annunciation and the Nativity, both from this painted ceiling.

There is just so much to see and take in.

Cypriot monasteries, and churches, are not without turbulent histories. Many have been damaged by earthquakes, the last large one here was in 1953.

There have also been long periods, such as during the Ottoman Empire, when the dominant religion has changed, so monasteries have been abandoned or heavily taxed. This monastery is the fourth rebuilding on the site and dates from the mid 1700s.

There were no pictures allowed inside the church so I found this one on the internet.

It doesn’t really do justice to the absolutely stunning ceiling, which was painted in the most gorgeous shade of blue. There was also an amazing reliquary display next to the church. Many items have been donated to the monastery by visiting officials, and there are multiple saints’ bones in decorated caskets here.

The final monastery was in the village of Odomos, a wine region village which has been restored.

The village houses around the monastery square now host cafes and shops, as the area is very popular with tourists.

It was lovely to see some of the traditional old buildings, as I have not had the opportunity to do that before now.

This monastery is now closed, though its church still remains open. Here there is a piece of rope which is said to have come from when Jesus was tied to the cross.

This was reportedly given to the village by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, while she was travelling through Cyprus from Jerusalem. There is also a piece of the cross that she gave them as well, both relics encased in silver crosses within the church.

They also had a great little museum with some 18th century Russian goldwork.

I found a lovely shop selling actual traditional lace so bought a little doily. I plan to frame it for the craft space at home. Truly a wonderful day with lots of my favourite things πŸ˜‰

I have been to see the Roman sites here over the last few days as well, and visited two very different museums. I’m hoping to squeeze another couple in before my return to the UK the middle of next week.

I have also spent time with my friends from Spain and we are having a Cyprus branch of our Knit and Natter group on Monday afternoon. Lynne has promised to teach me how to finally crochet flowers, so I am very excited about that!

Will return with some more loveliness for you soon. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Reflections

Now that I have been retired for 18 months I have had plenty of time to think about my life, where I have been and where I am going, in both a literal and metaphorical sense.

I have spent a large amount of that time outside, because I am now able to do that. This is in stark contrast to the year before I finished work, where like many people, I was at home more than ever, stuck at the kitchen table in front of the laptop. We didn’t go into the university at all for 6 months of that year, a fact that seems unbelievable now.

It is especially strange as my job used to involve so much travelling. To and from work every day, two days a week out doing placement visits, and sometimes even to places like China, which I was lucky enough to visit three times for work.

A large part of my professional life, as a teacher trainer, and working on an early years degree, was encouraging students to reflect on what they were doing. It was an essential part of their assessments, writing reflective journals, summarising what they have learnt. I have spent hours teaching people how to reflect, using theoretical models.

My novel, which I have been spending lots of time working on recently, has as one of its main characters a newly retired teacher who is passionate about embroidery, (not an autobiography I promise!), who spends a lot of time reflecting about her new life and the contrast with her old one.

So what have I learnt? I have always loved being outdoors but have realised that it is absolutely essential to me to be out, seeing hills, clouds, rivers, the sea. I know I am very lucky to have been able to travel extensively, but am just as thrilled by the Peak District that I spent 35 years living next to, as Cyprus or Spain. A beautiful forest or sky can be found anywhere, most of these pictures were taken in accessible parts of the UK.

I have learnt that I love being by myself. As a teacher you are always surrounded by people, you talk to them all the time. There are many days now that I don’t talk to anyone at all. I stay alone in my house in Spain, or my van, or the apartment I am staying in, and I am perfectly happy being by myself. After so many years of talking, talking, talking every day, I was often sick of the sound of my own voice. The silence in my life is wonderful.

I have confirmed that I am a creature of habit, even in a new place I like to quickly create a little routine for myself. That may sound strange given that I am travelling so much, and constantly changing things but essentially each day comes to have a similar structure.

I also know that I am still very goal oriented. However, the life that I used to have was all about completing targets set by others, and how I could make that work. Mark eight assignments today, prepare two powerpoints by Wednesday, write 4,000 words of your doctorate at the weekend.

My goals are now directed towards my crafting, my novel and general self improvement. That last one makes it sound as if I think there is a lot wrong with me πŸ˜‰ but by that I mean studying, such all the courses I have been doing, and improving my fitness by walking, cycling and swimming.

I have learnt that other people consider me very brave, to learn to drive at such a late age and go off in a camper van, to travel alone so much. That has surprised me, as I consider what I am doing as very normal. Millions of people travel all the time, and the fact that I am technically on my own doesn’t really concern me as I am always surrounded by people on the planes, trains, buses, roads and campsites. I always work on the basis that people are generally kind and someone would help me if I needed it.

I have learnt that I need to work on being more flexible in my approach to the future. I used to be a big fan of the 5 year plan, but a bit like when governments try it for the economy, life often gets in the way. The situation with Brexit, visas, political events, and post Covid situations, have meant that I am not really sure where I am going to be next year, or the year after. And that is ok, if a little mind blowing to someone who always knew what she would be doing at every point in a year!

I am not sure where I will be in the future, but do know that it has to involve lots of opportunity to be by the sea, or moorland, or in the woods, or just anywhere that is not a building. My life has become focused around the line from one of my favourite poems, ‘Leisure’, by William Henry Davies. He had a very unconventional life, so if you are interested in finding out more, follow the link.

The poem starts , ‘What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?’

This post has been illustrated by some of my favourite stand and stare moments over the last 18 months. All those moments where the place that I am in so beautiful in some way I could just stay there forever, standing and staring, watching the clouds or the sea.

Thank you to all of you for reading my blog posts, and for all the lovely comments and likes that I have got from you. It means so much to me to have this blog, and to know that other people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I hope that you also get time in your lives to appreciate what is around you and just enjoy being where you are.

I have been exploring ancient Paphos today, and have an exciting coach trip planned for tomorrow, so will be back soon to share all of that with you.

Meanwhile have a good rest of the week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A walk around Paphos, and surprise, I found crafting!

I have now been in Paphos for a few days and am loving the small town vibe here after being in such big cities for the past two weeks. I am back in an apartment which has a lovely balcony where I sit every morning in the sun and write.

Much as I loved Larnaca, and at the risk of sounding spoilt, hotel life is fine for a little time, but it’s lovely to have somewhere you can just chill and not go out if you don’t want to. That is part of what this trip is all about, I will be spending winter somewhere new each year, so I want to work out what suits me best.

I have met up with friends, from Spain and Cyprus, and am looking forward to seeing them again before I leave next week. The rest of the time has just been beach walks, trips up to the old town and practical things like doing my washing and shopping.

The coast here is beautiful, very much like Aiya Napa, as it is mostly rocky coves with the most gorgeous hotels and houses along the beachfront. The sea is wonderfully blue again, I have been so lucky with the weather, it was even a bit too warm at points yesterday!

More million euro plus houses to admire!

The old town has been extensively restored, unlike Larnaca and Nicosia there are few derelict buildings, and one of the things that I really love is that all of the buildings have been painted different colours. Around the old market hall there are lots of cute little shops and cafes in pastel colours.

As with all of Cyprus there is a great focus on the arts and one of the places that I came across was the old caravansary or han. This is a resting place for long distance travellers who were travelling in caravans with their animals.

There were several in Paphos and this one was operational until the 1950s, having accommodation upstairs and stabling below. The building then fell into ruin until it was restored in 2017, and now is full of craft shops and cafes, as well as hosting events on a stage built within the complex.

It was brilliant to see photos of the restoration outside the building and great that it has been preserved for other uses.

I was busy taking pictures and initially didn’t notice that one of the external walls was covered in crochet mandalas.

They covered the whole wall, and they have all been made by a group called Peace2Peace who work to promote crafts amongst women of different cultures. That is such a brilliant idea, a friend in Marsden runs a similar group through her refugee support project and a lot of my old craft room stash went to them.

The display looked fantastic, and reminded of the gorgeous mandalas I bought from my friend Gale in Spain for mine and Ellen’s bedrooms. They were all beautiful designs and it is hard to pick a favourite but I think these two are gorgeous.

I love mandala designs and have just bought some new seat covers for Katy with a mandala print on that I can’t wait to fit next week.

One of my targets for when I get back to Spain must be to get someone to teach me how to crochet flowers. We have some excellent crocheters in the group, and I have had this book for about 10 years now. Just think of all the places I could put crochet flowers in Katy!

Because there has been so much restoration there were not too many old doors and balconies but I did spot a few, along with many lovely shops selling arts and crafts.

This was the entrance to a gorgeous little taverna, with a courtyard garden. It reminded me of the one described in the novel I recently read about Cyprus, ‘The Island of Missing Trees’.

I loved these hand painted shoe makers lasts.

I will be spending the rest of my time in Paphos visiting the archaeological sites and museums so will be posting about those before I leave. I also intend to wander along many more beautiful bits of coastline before I leave to go back to dear old England next week, just so I can remember what sun looks like after I have been there a while πŸ˜‰

I hope that you are all having a good week and have nice things planned for the week ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Ancient history, with a very comfortable bed!

I am now in Paphos, and treated myself to a night in a very special hotel before going to the apartment where I will spend the last 11 days of my trip to Cyprus. Paphos is famous for its earlier period history, so I am looking forward to seeing more of that while I am here.

I came across this hotel on my booking site and couldn’t resist it as it is so wonderfully themed. It is called the Roman Boutique Hotel and is located just near the archaeological sites.

It is very beautiful and the attention to detail is amazing. This is the main entrance.

The lobby has so much bronze, with amazing chairs and light fittings.

All of the walls are painted , with images from Roman and Greek mythology and everyday life.

I came across these beautiful paintings of women embroidering and spinning. In terms of these crafts little has changed for many years, spinning wheels were only commonly used from around the 1600s, before that the drop spindle was always used.

For embroidery, the only real difference between me and the Roman women is that I have access to a wide range of very sharp needles, courtesy of the development of the needle making industry. Everything else is the same, which is quite amazing.

The exterior has been given the same attention to detail with paintings.

There are also lots of wonderful mosaics. I will be going to see some of the original ones later on.

The room boasts one of the largest beds I have seen, outside of China where the beds could also have slept four people, and was lovely and comfortable.

Sadly there was no step in bath like all the ones in the movies, with hand maidens and scented oils πŸ˜‰ but they do have a spa on site, and the most beautiful pool area.

There was also, as seems to be standard in Cyprus, a very friendly cat!

It was a lovely experience, although I’m looking forward to being in an apartment again and doing some cooking. I will be spending the next few days looking around the archaeological sites and the museum here.

I am also going on a coach trip into the mountains to see some monasteries, which will be very exciting! By coincidence, one of my friends from Spain is staying just up the road, so we are meeting up later today as well.

Although not periods I am familiar with I enjoyed my visits to the Cyprus Museum and the Larnaca Museum of Archaeology last week. It is just fascinating to see things from thousands of years ago and realise that the fundamentals of life have really not changed at all.

I don’t know how much wifi I will have in the apartment but will post about the rest of Cyprus when I get back to the UK, if not before. Until then have a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Nicosia part 2 – more doors, and more textiles!

I am definitely loving the Cypriot doors, and balconies. Again most in Nicosia had the dates on, and all seemed to be from around the same era as in Larnaca, which I found very interesting.

I did find one dated to 1718, and part of the city walls with a gate, but all the others are a very similar style and from the early 1900s.

Being an amateur building historian I can only assume that they was a lot of building in all of Cyprus at this time, and that possibly a lot of older buildings were destroyed to make way for these ones.

Unlike other cities that I have visited there seems to be no specific medieval area, though the Venetian walls do date from the 1570s which is the later medieval period. I did see a medieval hall near the walls as well.

I can only assume that when the British occupied Cyprus from the 1870s there was a lot of building from that point, which may explain the lack of older buildings apart from things such as the forts and castles.

I visited three museums on my second trip. The first was the main Museum of Cyprus ,which had lots of pottery and statues. I am not normally that interested in the different types of ceramics, they just don’t get me as excited as textiles do. However, there was an amazing display that was all found together.

These 2000 figurines were found displayed like this in the sanctuary of Aiya Irini, and date from the 7th and 6th centuries BC. There are mainly soldiers, waggons and horses, and there are only two female figurines.

I love the face on the bigger bull at the front of this picture above, he looks as if he is smiling!

The other really interesting thing was this jewellery display, dating from the Byzantine period of the 6th century. As well as being beautifully detailed it was interesting to see how the designs have not really changed at all, even down to the way we fasten earrings all these centuries later.

My favourites were the winged creatures in the top left picture, they were so detailed at only about one inch tall.

The second place was, The Shacolas Tower , which has a panoramic view over the city and a small exhibition and video about the history of the city. It is well worth a visit as it so interesting to see some of the landmarks from above.

I spotted the church and archbishop’s palace that I had visited in this first photo.

The one below looks towards the occupied part of the city where you can see the towers of the Selimiye Camii mosque that was once a cathedral, at the back right of the photo in front of the mountains. It has been a mosque since the Ottomans came to the city in the late 1500s so is very much part of the very diverse history of this city.

The final museum was the Leventis Museum, which is housed in three restored buildings within the city centre. This was a great museum for giving you a timeline of all of the different cultures that have lived in Cyprus, showcasing Venetian glass, Ottoman jewellery, and having some excellent examples of textiles.

There was a whole display devoted to maps and books written by the many people that had travelled to Cyprus, often on their way to the Middle East. I love old maps and the history that they represent so colourfully.

There was a costume display, and also some excellent examples of Cypriot embroidery and lace.

I think the motifs on this beautiful piece below are pomegranates, which reminds me that I really must get started on my pomegranate goldwork that I have been promising to make for about 20 years!

The lace is described as crochet lace on the label, so I am not sure how some of it was made, although they do show bobbins as well. I think there may be a mix of techniques used.

The embroidery examples were very interesting as well, Cypriot embroidery takes many forms, there is heavy influence from the geometry of cross stitch, but also flower motifs.

This top piece seems to use gold thread as well, as far as I could see through the case.

The final section of the museum looked at the influence of the British occupation from the late 1870s. There were some of the magazines published at the time, and this very interesting book. I would love to have read this to see what the impression was of Cyprus at this time by the British public.

The cross over of fashions was also mentioned, contrasting the traditional dress of the Nicosian people, with that of the Victorians who came to live there.

As with the kimono exhibition we saw recently in New York, it was interesting to see pictures of how the dress became adopted by the Cypriot people. There are few differences between the garments really, in terms of style, but dress was very much linked to social status and religion, so at first there was little mixing of fashions.

I just had time for a short wander before getting the bus back, and found another church, not hard when Nicosia is full of them!

This one was particular interesting for a mosaic of Mary, (I assume), with a distaff spindle in her hand.

Images of Mary spinning are knitting are quite common and I found this interesting blog post with more information and additional pictures.

I will be travelling over the next few days and settling into my next accommodation, so I will return soon with more adventures. I am loving this nomadic lifestyle and really looking forward to the last couple of weeks in Cyprus. I will then be reunited with my beloved Katy Kangoo for further adventures in the UK.

Until I see you next have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.