Yesterday I covered the first part of our bus trip from last week, and today we continue the odyssey towards Aphrodite's Baths! This was the main reason we took the trip and we were so excited to get there .
From Karavella station we took a bus north to the town of Polis. From there we had about a half an hour wait until another bus arrived which then took us north to the bath. There was a lot of beautiful scenery along the way but we were itching to get to our final destination. I'm not quite sure where we got our mental image of what the place would be like, but we both had a specific expectation in mind. We were picturing a tall, gorgeous, natural waterfall. We pictured getting to swim in the water and go stand under said waterfall (we even packed our swimsuits!). I'm pretty sure I was directly picturing a scene from a movie we watched recently, Like Father, in which the characters visit a waterfall and get to swim and even jump off of the top.
When we arrived at the location we got off the bus and still had about a five minute walk ahead of us. We didn't know exactly where we were going so we just followed the crowd. We went through a gate, and then followed a stone trail through what appeared to be a national park. There was some shade (hallelujah!) and gorgeous greenery and flowers all around. It was a quite beautiful and peaceful walk even with all the people around.
As we got closer we saw a big sign from the Department of Forests that told us the baths of Aphrodite were just ahead. Yay! We were getting close! But as I read the sign my heart sank as I saw these words... "Please do not swim". Wait, what? No swimming? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PRETEND TO BE APHRODITE? Why can't I swim where a goddess swam? Noooooo! I was so disappointed. (Also, why didn't we do our research and know this beforehand? I don't know).
We walked a little further and came to a dead end at a small pool of water where about thirty people were gathered. There was a small trickle of water from the ceiling, where one could take a shower I suppose, but definitely not what you could call a waterfall. Joel and I looked at each other. Is this it? Is this what we just spent all morning on buses for? This?
Granted, it is beautiful, especially in this photograph; but it wasn't what we expected. I think this is a good example of how travel can seem really glamorous and amazing when you are watching it from the outside. When I posted this picture on Instagram it was the highlight reel of our trip, and we got some great reactions from people. The reality is, when I took this picture I had scoot as far as possible to the left of the crowd to get a picture without other people in it. There was a crowd the whole time so we never really got close to the water or got to spend any quality time there. We were super hot, dripping with sweat, and exhausted from traveling almost six hours to get here (we left our house around 6AM and it was now around noon). We glanced at it, I snapped some pics, we left, and that's all she wrote. To us it felt like a big ol' let down.
Now lest you think we are unappreciative of our ability to be in Cyprus and take trips like this, we did move on to discover some other amazing views in the area. I am so grateful that at this point in our lives we are getting to travel full time, it often feels like just a dream. We were disappointed that the baths weren't what we expected, though that could have been mitigated if we had done any research beforehand! (Lesson learned!). As we left the baths we found some nature trails and decided to walk along those for a while (we still had an hour and fifteen minutes till the next return bus to Polis).
It was hot (have I mentioned that yet?) so we tried to stay in the shade as much as we could. Eventually as we walked we stumbled on to some amazing views. Now this is what ended up making all the time and effort worth it. And since the actual bath of Aphrodite only took about five minutes of our attention, we were able to sit here, in the shade, and enjoy this view for almost an hour.
So even if travel doesn't take you where you expect, or if when you get where you wanted and it just doesn't meet your expectations, keep your eyes peeled for the opportunities all around you. There is always something to enjoy even when things don't appear to be going your way. Travel is really a lesson (among many other lessons) in learning to go with the flow! Eventually our return bus to Polis arrived, and we got back to the city. Now we had 3.5 hours to kill until the first return bus to Peyia, the little town where we are staying. I'll talk all about our adventures in Polis tomorrow!
Have you ever gone somewhere expecting one thing and found it to be something entirely different? Are you the kind of person who researches a destination before you go or do you just head out on adventures anyway? I'd love to know what kind of traveler you are!