27 Feb 1928

The Swedish archaeologist Alfred Westholm writing to his parents from Cyprus

The Swedish archaeologist Alfred Westholm writing to his parents from Cyprus:

I shall go on now to describe the usual major event of the week, namely how our Sunday was spent. Gjerstad had planned a journey up to the Karpas peninsula. I therefore went by foot in the most wonderful spring weather over the field to Gypsou where the car was to fetch me. In my company were, among others, the muchtar and a loyal worker who carried my food basket and my camera. When I had waited a short while at the café, the car arrived, carrying Gjerstad, Erikos and Gudrun in addition to a Greek guide. We set forth for Karpassia, perhaps the most beautiful place on Cyprus. The spring air was beguiling, lilies and anemones lined the roads, while here and there crocuses, cyclamens and plants familiar to us from home sprouted up between the stones. As usual, Gjerstad, aided now and again by us, was in charge of the learned presentation, while we others enjoyed the landscape and chatted and joked amongst ourselves. At Hagios Andronikos we disembarked and hiked up onto the mountain and into the pine forest, where we stopped to look at a couple of large grave fields. Once we had reached the highest ridge we were met by a curious sight. To the east and west, the awesome mountain range faded away in misty rays of sunlight, but to the north and south the sea shone brightly, salty and blue. How amazing to see the sea on two sides in this way! Beyond the sea to the north we saw massive sharp mountaintops, shining white from new snow. It was the Taurus range and the mountains in Asia Minor. Beyond the sea to the south was a soft, light blue silhouette that gradually sank in terraces toward the sea. That was Syria, with the mountains near Tyrus and the borderlands of Sidon. It is undeniably a strange sensation each time to see a new country rise up in the east, and if you know the name of the country is Syria, the imagination is spurred all the more when it is only perceived as a misty vision. Gjerstad returned to the car while the rest of us made our way on foot down to the village Litrankomi by the southern road. It was no small amazement to the villagers, when they saw three anglesi arriving on foot from up in the mountains, without so much as hats, coats or baskets of provisions. As mysteriously as we had arrived, we soon departed, having rested a while at the coffee shop without letting our secret be lured from us. We went to join the car when it had come around the mountain. Then we ate our lunch together in a pretty olive grove, whereupon we drove home. In Gypsou, I took a boy who carried my things to Milea. There I was invited by the muchtar to join him for the carnival dinner together with his extended family. Great quantities of wine were drunk, music was played and there was dancing, the cottage was full of people and the fleas were all over me like falling stars in August…