Post-Conference Journey to Cyprus

Throughout our time in Cyprus, our group will be accompanied by the Cypriot author and scholar Kyriacos Markides whose books, which include The Magus of Strovolos, The Mountain of Silence, Riding the Lion, and Gifts of the Desert, vividly convey the world of contemporary Cypriot esotericism and the mystical depths of Greek Orthodox Christianity.

Friday, 15th of June 2012:
We will be flying into Cyprus on Egypt Air, flight # MS 741, leaving Cairo at 5:10pm, and arriving at Larnaca Airport at 6:30pm.  A coach transfer brings us to our hotels in the traditional Cypriot village of Tochni where we will spend the night and enjoy dinner in a local taverna.

Saturday, 16th of June 2012:
We begin our first morning in Cyprus with breakfast at our hotel before a coach ride to the ruins of the ancient city of Kourion, with its magnificent amphitheater, whose history spanned the Hellenistic, Roman and early Christian eras.  We then will travel to nearby Limassol where we hope to meet with one of the eminent leaders of the Orthodox Church who figures prominently in Kyriacos Markides’ writings, and who will deepen our understanding of the mystical heart of Cypriot Christianity.  After lunch we will continue our drive into Cyprus’ Troödos Mountains, situated in the central part of the island, where we will visit some of its serene monasteries, including Mesopotamos, which are surrounded by silence and scented pine forests.  We then travel to nearby Agros in what is known as the Valley of the Roses, where we will check in to the Mt. Rodon Hotel.  Here, we will listen to Kyriacos himself speak to us on the forgotten path of Eastern Mystical Christianity. We then will have dinner and spend the night in this peaceful mountain village.

Sunday, 17th of June 2012:
After breakfast at our hotel, we will travel once again by coach to the renowned monastery of Kykkos, one of the most resplendent in Cyprus.  Originally founded in the twelfth century by the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos, Kykkos has an intriguing history, and we will have the opportunity to tour this monastery and have time for contemplation.  We will take our lunch in a nearby mountain village and then make the drive out to Paphos, on the southwestern coast of Cyprus.  Here, we will explore the mosaics of this site with an archeologist knowledgeable in the Greco-Roman culture of classical Cyprus.  After our time in Paphos, we will drive towards the northwest coast of the island to Polis, and to the Aphrodite Beach Hotel, where we will spend our remaining three nights on Cyprus.  Our evening will begin with a presentation in the hotel’s meeting room where our archeologist will draw a vivid picture of Cyprus at the time of Cleopatra and the Ptolemies and in the succeeding Roman epoch.  Finally, we will have dinner at the Aphrodite Beach Hotel’s beloved restaurant, to the serenade of nearby waves crashing against the shore.

Monday, 18th of June, 2012:
The morning begins with breakfast at our hotel, followed by a presentation given in the hotel’s meeting room by Kyriacos Markides who will speak to us on contemporary esotericism in Cyprus.  The heart of the day will be a boat trip to the nearby Akamas Peninsula, an area of outstanding natural beauty with its deep gorges, dense woodlands, wide, sandy bays, and  tremendous biodiversity.  Our boat will stop at the beach at Fontana Amoroza, or “Love’s Spring”, where Aphrodite is reputed to have met her lover Adonis.  We will have a picnic lunch on the beach before cruising back to port.  Back at our hotel, we will meet for a talk given by the figure known as Lavros in Kyriacos’ books, a person deeply attuned to the spiritual essence of Eastern Christianity. We will have dinner in a nearby village before returning to our hotel for a free evening.

Tuesday, 19th of June 2012:
After breakfast at our hotel, we will have another opportunity to hear Kyriacos Markides speak on the history, sociology, politics and spirituality of Cyprus in the twentieth century at the Aphrodite Beach meeting room. This remainder of the day has been kept open, as a day of reflection and restoration in the nourishing beauty of our surroundings, where you may enjoy the simple pleasures of the nearby beach, or of hiking the nearby trailheads, or of visiting the nearby Baths of Aphrodite.  We’ll have an early evening closing session in our hotel’s meeting room, and then travel by coach to a neighboring village for a farewell dinner, concluding, for now, our time together.

Wednesday, 20th of June 2012:
Our coach departs after breakfast, first for Paphos Airport, and then for Larnaca Airport.