We walk across the courtyard to the Archbishop Makarios Cultural Centre to pay the €4 each (excellent value, well worth it) to visit the Byzantine Museum and Art Gallery. It is full of icons, the largest and most valuable collection on the island. Well over 200 icons that span the 8th to the 19th centuries, many from churches we have been in or seen on our travels, including the reconstructed apse full of 14th century frescos from the Ayios Nikolaos tis Steyis Church we visited in the Troodos. The star attraction is the 16th century Kanakaria mosaics stolen from the Panagia Kanakaria Church in North Cyprus in the 1970s and, following a lengthly court battle, recovered in 1991. Many of the icons have been recovered after being taken from churches on the northern side and sold on the illegal arts market; there is one room totally full of such items, some recovered as recently as August 2015, so an ongoing process.
There is also an art gallery on the upper floor, mostly 20th century and by Cypriot artists. There are some lovely paintings of villages and churches.
We thread our way back to the pedestrian buffer zone crossing, enjoying some of the quiet back streets and restored buildings. Once back on the northern side we sit in a cafe enjoying drinks and people watching , very relaxing. We manage to find an internet cafe to print off our return flight boarding cards. After a late afternoon chill back in the hotel we go out for our final evening meal, deciding to have a traditional meze at the Mosaic restaurant again, sitting in the lovely open courtyard. We enjoy extra deserts and Paul tries raki – the owners are really nice and helpful.
I feel sad the next morning when we have our final breakfast and have to leave our lovely Cypriot Swallow hotel. The taxi driver arrives early and we have no problems on the return journey. A fantastic two weeks exploring Cyprus, it felt like a real adventure,. I surprise myself by coping well with the heat and the regular moves.