It’s funny, isn’t it? The things you remember – not to mention all the things that you forget, as time marches on.  I, along with my classmates, went to Cyprus as part of our Honours Year “Grande Finale” field trip during the Easter holidays, way back in 1995.

The objective of the week-long trip was to study Ophiolites – a sequence of igneous and metamorphic rocks that had formed due to the process of tectonic expansion (when tectonic plates move away from each other eg Mid-Atlantic Ridge) but had subsequently been thrust up and onto land during a period of compression.

Many a road cutting was inspected, many a field was trampled over and many an old copper mine was viewed from the mine dumps.

Weary students on the way back from a site of scientific interest

Abandoned Copper Mine

Many a monastery was also visited:  I think someone in the teaching department was particularly fond of the wine made in this part of the world.

Monastery I

Monastery II

Although we poor students hadn’t the budget for monk’s plonk (I’m possibly being a little harsh – I’ve never tasted the stuff, I just like the look of the words monk and plonk in the same sentence 😉 ) we all did our best to at least look as though we had over indulged on the stuff.

If it looks like carnage, it probably is...

Truth be told, we were probably all still hung over from the night before…(from cheaper plonk)

Pillow basalts with feeder dykes on each side (feeding more basalt extrusions above - now eroded away)

Apart from seeing lots and lots of pillow basalts (so named as they look like pillows, albeit not the comfortable type) with feeder dykes, we also did a spot of taste-testing of our own.  Strange as this might sound, rocks that contain a great deal of manganese (such that they have a lovely purplish hue about them) stick to your tongue.

Purple-mauve manganese-rich rocks that stick to your tongue

Can you imagine a class-load of students going about searching for the perfect size rock chip to demonstrate this peculiar trait?  It’s a wonder I don’t have a photo of this – but then again, we’d have all been giggling into our boots too much to be able to take any photos! Oh, the hilarity of youth!

Another fond memory I have was seeing a goat herder carrying a couple of new-born kids, with the entire herd following on quite happily behind him.  I don’t know who was most amused – us at him, or him at us 😉

Goat-herder makes a cameo appearance...