We all agree there are plenty of reasons why one should visit Vatican City, here are some usual & unusual ones:
- It is the smallest country in the world by area (only 0.44 sq. km.) and population (less than 1000). For me, that kind of superlative is reason enough to go someplace, don’t you agree?
- It is right next to or rather surrounded on all sides by the lovely Rome, which makes it both easy to and silly not to visit if you are already in Rome. Everybody should go to Rome, but more about that in other posts 😉
- If you enjoy watching people and observing crowds, this is your heaven. Disregarding the size of this tiny nation millions of tourists from around the globe flock here – the Vatican Museum alone welcomes about 1.5 million each year.
- Even if you are not a religious person keen on a pilgrimage to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, you’d want to take a look at the great works of art by giants like Michelangelo, Bernini, Botticelli and other Renaissance artists housed within and upon the walls of the vast St. Peter’s Basilica, Apostolic Palace and Sistine Chapel. There is no joy like spending hours walking through immense collections of art, sculpture and history, is there?
- Vatican City is also unique in that it is the only country that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in entirety. Incidentally, neighboring (or surrounding) Italy is the country with the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the current number being 53. Obviously, all that art and history that makes it a valuable center worth conserving for posterity to observe, enjoy & learn from.
Have you been to Vatican City? What were your reasons to visit?
Cyprus trip : Day 2 & 3
We made it to Cyprus! After our unplanned sleepover in Oslo, we were happy we had lost only about 18 hours. Given that there aren’t daily flights between Oslo an d Larnaca, our worst fear had been what if the next flight was in three days? 😰 Luckily, Norwegian airlines put us on an early morning flight the next day & we were back on track! 😎
We picked up our car from Larnaca airport and drove straight to the Stamatia Hotel at Ayia Napa, by the Pantachou Beach. I have some really nice things to say about the staff here who helped us get in touch with the local Booking.com personnel and changed our booking dates without any extra fees, isn’t that so very service-minded of them?! We predictably spent most of our two days by the pool and in the shallow sea, which was perfect for me since I’m not a very confident swimmer. And at 30ºC, these tepid waters were all we needed!
We lunched at the Ocean Basket both days, their seafood and sushi were simply to die for! A first for us was their olive cake, with alternate layers of pastry, cream and olive jam, so yumm 🤤 Dinners were relatively okayish in comparison, although we selected some of the more famous meat restaurants. We didn’t let ourselves be too disappointed – we made up by gorging tons of guilt-free gelato 😆
For Mr.A and I a little bit of sightseeing is always on the agenda. On our second morning we were up at 5:30 to watch the sun go up at the Sunrise Beach, which lays claim to the first sunrise of Europe! Might be true, maybe not, but serene nevertheless. The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park was a good surprise with many artistic works. We also drove around the seaside to check out Cape Greco for its cliffs & sea caves. Cliff divers were having a grand time as we cheered them on! The Monachus Monachus Arch is a natural sea arch that the wind and waves have carved out over millions of years. Reminded us of the Twelve Apostles in Australia. We climbed a steep flight of steps up to the Ayios Elias Church in Protaras, and took in the sights from the hilltop. Following the customs of the church, we tied ribbons and made wishes upon them…what a romantic thought to trust your faith upon little strings of satin…
As evening fell, we were back walking the streets at Ayia Napa, watching people and enjoying the cooler atmosphere. We came by an amusement park agog with frolickers having a go at roller coasters, giant wheels, bungee jumps and an insane 360degee spinner called Booster. As luck would have it, we chanced upon a free viewing of traditional Greek dance performance put up by troupes from Cyprus and Greece. What an authentic experience! Mr.A found a little kitty by the bushes and contemplated for a while if we should adopt it right then & there, but better sense prevailed 😉 After getting mandatory couple photos snapped at the I ❤ Ayia Napa sign in the city center, we capped the night with more gelatos and called it a day🍦 😊
Next stop : Paphos, another resort town in the southwest of Cyprus!