We had the most amazing week at the beach with Jess and her parents. Beautiful weather all week and only a few storms that skirted by or hit in the evening when we were already off the beach. We had a lot of fun with Flow the Flamingo in the Pool, walking on the large newly replenished beaches, going for runs, cooking hot dogs, eating outside, golfing, and otherwise relaxing and hanging out.
Jess and I got to enjoy a weekend in the Outer Banks spending time with my ECU friends and getting to celebrate the wedding of Courtney and Preston.
Our final day of the trip was set up to be a long one. We checked out of the hotel and headed to a donkey farm and went for rides.
Next we stopped in the town of Lefkara to admire the old architecture, a few old churches and to have lunch.
Our next stop was Fig Tree Bay for some time on the beach to relax.
Some folks swam while others chilled on the beach and some folks from our group went paragliding. The day continued with a stop at a sculpture garden.
We stopped for dinner and then hit a beach club in Larnaca to hang out before our flight that boarded around 3am.
We started today in Cyprus with a visit to the University of Cyprus. We heard about the University’s founding as the first university in Cyprus in 1989 and it’s path to becoming an institution of over 6,000 students today. We got to hear leaders of the computer science department tell us about some interesting and innovative programs and their new innovation center was especially compelling. We also got to eat in a dining hall for what was my first time in over a decade – it was like any other dining hall food.
From there we went to the old town to meet with an Architect entrepreneur and to hear about his experience running a small business in Cyprus and the challenges and opportunities faced.
The rest of the evening was spent hanging around the hotel, working out, running and having dinner and then packing to leave in the morning.
This was our travel day from Athens to Cyprus and it started out with a slightly delayed flight that was otherwise uneventful. After arriving in Cyprus we drove into the old town of Larnaca where we had lunch. It was 5 or 6 courses of small and very tasty family-style dishes that we spent a couple hours on.
Due to the late flight our tour of Larnaca was cut short due to some places that closed in the mid-afternoon so we went to a church and then to the beach and walked around a bit.
From there we took the 30 minute drive to Nocosia where we would be staying the next two nights.The town is the capital of Cyprus and sits right on the line where the island is divided between the southern republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. That evening some folks hung out at the hotel pool and bar while I went with Vengat and Chris down to the Pivo Microbrewery in the old town for some beer and food. We got to walk around and see the dividing line as well as the shops in the old town.
Wednesday was our day to visit University of Piraeus Department of Digital Systems. After sleeping in an extra hour we went to the University and saw one of their computer labs while having a discussion with the professor we had done a project with over the past couple months and was presented at one of the companies earlier in the week.
We had lunch at a sea-side restaurant that required the bus driver to navigate some extremely tight streets to get to.
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and doing some souvenir shopping.
Tuesday in Athens Greece was our second day of company visits. I again started the day with a run around the historic part of town and got to see a few more ruins that are a little father out of walking range.
The visits went well and we got to see a some more parts of town including a few big sports stadiums that we drove by.
In the evening we enjoyed the hotel’s rooftop pool and then we hiked to the top of a tall hill in town to see the views and have dinner.
Monday started with a run around the Acropolis. It was amazing how deserted the streets were early in the morning compared to the bustle they have in the evenings.
Our class went to visit a couple companies for some presentations. We had lunch along the coast and got to walk along the beach.
We ended the evening with drinks at the pool at dusk before going out for a nice dinner. We stopped and checked out the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Old Royal Palace.
Sunday was a day of touring Athens. We started out with a bus tour visiting Panathinaiko Stadium – this is where the first modern Olympic games were held a little over a hundred years ago. We saw how the seats were rebuilt with marble and how the competitors and judges entered through a cool tunnel.
Next we headed to the site of the acropolis and climbed the many steps to the top. The place was crawling with tourists and it was cool to see what had been built there so far and what was still there or had survived.
From there we took the bus through the city center seeing the business district and some other government buildings and art installations.
In the early afternoon a group of us got lunch in the old town and then went for a walk to the Temple of Zeus. Vengat and I walked through the Acropolis museum and saw all of the smaller and more detailed pieces that had been removed from the acropolis and were on display. It helped to fill in some of the details not seen when up on the hill.
For dinner the group took a bus to the coast on the water to the Moorings Restaurant where we got some more greek food and wine. We capped off the night with drinks at a bar near the hotel.
For the past 14 months I’ve been working on a Master’s Degree in Information Systems at Virginia Commonwealth University and one of the final parts of the program is an international trip to Greece and Cyprus. We left VCU Friday night flying to Germany and then to Athens.
It was a lot of travel without a lot of sleep and it went about as well as it could have. Once we arrived in Athens we checked into our hotel that is located in an old part of town very close to the historical sites. Several of us went out to explore just after dark and went around many of the historic and tourist sites. There were so many restaurants and we found one quaint street with nothing but small restaurants with outdoor seating and live music in a cozy atmosphere. We made plans to go back there later in the week.
View from the top of our hotel: