Can you believe this view? Waking up to the waves of the Mediterranean - Limassol Cyprus - by Anika Mikkelson - Miss Maps - www.MissMaps.com
Can you believe this view? Waking up to the waves of the Mediterranean – Limassol Cyprus – by Anika Mikkelson – Miss Maps – www.MissMaps.com

 

I’m not one to stay out until 3am. I’m not one to drink anything but red wine or beer. I’m not one to dance the night away on a pulsating dance floor. I’ve been sailing once in my life, when I was ten, mainly choosing to be in the water splashing around rather than on the water. I’m not one to sit and talk for hours to shop owners when I’d rather be taking photographs. I go to sleep early and wake just as early. I’m not one for rides with strangers. Especially motorcycle rides. I’m not one to stick around when others smoke around me. I’m not one to talk about life’s more intimate details.

I’m not one to do these things.
But who’s to say I can’t?

In Limassol, I became all those “I’m Not”s and proved that I don’t have to be just one ‘me’. Especially not now. Especially not while traveling. Why should I be? Each day, each place, I’m given the opportunity to reset my past. To live how I want to live. To try something new. To test the limits. To learn and to grow.

This journey is an education. Not just about the world, but about others and about my self. It’s true, it’s raw, it’s real. Every day I have the ability to start anew, and that’s something extremely unique about this experience. In Limassol, I was able to, for a few short days, become a part of a lively culture of people and mingle with locals who are more than happy to talk for hours on end over cup of coffee after cup of coffee.

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I started my trip to Limassol on a motorcycle. A stranger went out of his way to take me an hour south of where I was previously, in the country’s capital city, Nicosia. A ride on a motorcycle, with a backpack strapped to my back left little room for error or for comfort. Our helmets clashed against each other whenever I tried to turn my head, so ultimately I opted to look left and found it to be a great choice as we drifted over a hilltop and found ourselves with views of the Mediterranean Sea. My elbows grew stiff and my fingers shaky as I literally held on for dear life, racing past traffic toward Limassol. We stopped for gas and the driver offered to take me farther, then told me he was due back at our starting destination for a meeting in just over an hour. “I took you because I was looking for adventure. I like this kind of thing. Doing the unplanned. Going with the flow. Thank you for letting me drive you here, but now I have to go.”

He thanked me for letting him give me a ride. That’s the true Cypriot spirit. Giving with no expectations.

Then he left. Not five kilometers from where I needed to be, with just thirty minutes until I needed to be there, I got a wave. “Just to Limassol” I told the driver through a rolled down window.

“And no one wanted to take you?” he replied shocked, as we were on a road leading directly to city center.

“Not until you! Thank you,” I said and off we went. Ten minutes later, I was right where I wanted to be. I popped inside Starbucks to use their wifi, sent a message to my host to let him know I’d arrived on time, and waited for him to meet me. A few minutes later, he showed up and off we went.

Three days of nonstop entertainment.

 

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We started with a trip to his sailing school nearby, where he played the role of hardworking sailing coach and I played the role of excited tourist. His role involved working feverishly throughout the shop, with other coaches and athletes. My role involved taking a stroll on the sand, stopping to pick up red and green sea stones. It also involved the more difficult task of changing into a knee length wetsuit. It wasn’t so tough, as the suit fit perfectly, but it was embarrassing as it’d been several months since these winter-ready legs had come in contact with the sun or with a razor.

After relaxing on the wooden lounge chairs marked “All you need is love” and trying not to blind others with the whiteness of my skin or the sun’s reflection off the golden hue of my leg hairs, we were ready to go.

In we went, him, me, and a sailing instructor who’d just arrived from Greece and brought with him a mile-long smile. Calm winds made for an uneventful day of sailing, and we waited in a little orange boat as three teenage boys played in their sailboats around us, taking the time to overturn their boat, then remembering an upside boat must be turned right-side up in order to work correctly. In to the frigid waters they went, laughing all the way.

That night, I met Limassol’s excited bar scene for the first time. Everywhere we went, my new friend knew several others and greeted each with open arms. Even in the winter months, the city is alive with free spirits until early morning hours; imagine when tourist season is in full swing! Beer and wine were offered, and Cyprus’s own fruit brandy, Zivania. I learned to always leave a little liquid in the bottom of my cup, because “In Cyprus, no means yes and yes means more!”

 

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The next day I woke up to a seaside view of waves crashing against the shore. The sun was shining its magnificent rays onto the waters as we again hopped aboard a boat and headed into the Mediterranean winds. This time, we were sailing aboard a yacht: a racing boat used in international competitions. My superstar sailor and his team worked in perfect mechanical rhythms: turning, pulling and running as we skimmed on one side and then the other. This was only the second time I’d ever been on a sailboat, and while they each knew how to roll with the punches, I was found scrambling on my hands and knees as the boat tipped at incredible angles that left me questioning if we, too, would soon be overturned.

It was exhilarating and insane. And I loved every minute.

There is a magical spirit in Cyprus. It’s the spirit of enjoyment. It’s impossible to escape, and in Limassol this spirit was more alive than anywhere. Those late nights, no’s turned to yes’s, long talks with strangers, motorcycle rides and sailboat surprises are part of a spectacular beachside city. It doesn’t matter who I was last year, last week, or yesterday. The me I am is always changing and in Limassol, this little mermaid turned to a sailor.

Last night in Limassol - Miss Maps - www.MissMaps.com.JPG
Last night in Limassol – Miss Maps – www.MissMaps.com.JPG

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