Posted by: digibirder | February 18, 2012

Cyprus part 4

Feb 4th
Made some sandwiches for our packed lunch and then set off in the car towards the Troodos Mountains. We didn’t actually go right into the mountains, but mostly drove around the villages near to the lower levels. There is some stunning scenery in this area, and it is known for being a good wine-making climate and terrain.

On the way we stopped off at the Extreme View Café for coffee and cake, as recommended by one of our new friends, taking in the view to the snow-covered Mount Olympus and the valley below, where there was a lone chapel. Later on our drive we stopped off at another viewpoint to take in the scenery. It was the most peaceful location, except when a car passed by, and the views were wonderful. We did manage to spot a Sardinian warbler flitting around in the trees below us. In the layby where we were parked, there was a large puddle, and on closer inspection it was covered in ice – an indication that we were climbing to cooler heights.

Eventually we reached the village of Omodos and had a wander round the narrow backstreets and investigated the street market where there was all sorts of local crafts being sold. Of course, as soon as you stop briefly to look, the vendors come up and try to sell to you.

We drove on, looking for a suitable place to have our lunch, but we could not find anywhere that was not right by the road, and we drove past numerous hidden laybys, and eventually we ended up back at the coast and decided to come off the main road and head to Kourion. This is one of the most important archaeological sites in Cyprus, although we didn’t really have time to investigate the area. It also appeared that the main attraction at the top of the cliff was closed. Anyway, we sat in the car looking out to sea and ate our sandwiches.

On our drive back, we decided to continue through Paphos in order to take another look at the village of Peyia, where we had viewed the houses. We passed through a couple of other villages that looked promising too, but we did get a bit lost in the narrow streets and had to double back and start again. Eventually we reached Peyia and found a car park, then had a wander through the main streets, but it was not that exciting really. I suppose it could have been that a lot of places seem to close in the afternoon and so it seemed a bit like a ghost town. We didn’t stay long, but decided to go into Coral Bay and find somewhere to have a beer. In the end we popped into a supermarket and bought a couple of bottles to take back to the room.

We had a minced pork bolognese for dinner, followed by the usual evening ritual.

Feb 5th
We were now carless, and the buses were still on strike, so it was shank’s pony for the rest of the stay! We decided that we would have breakfast out this morning, as we had run out of cereal and it wasn’t worth buying any more for only a couple of days. The hotel bar breakfast, which we had on the first day, was quite expensive, so we decided to walk down to a café opposite Tea for Two, where we had seen a much cheaper breakfast advertised.

After sitting a while watching the world go by from the café terrace, we wandered down a side street onto the coast path. This led down to the sea-facing side of several large hotels, and the path had been paved and the surrounding areas planted with all manner of shrubs and plants, making it very popular for family strolls and for people staying in these rather expensive-looking hotels. As it was a Sunday, it seemed that both locals and holiday-makers were out in force. Once we had reached an area away from this main thoroughfare the birds reappeared, although we didn’t see many.

Back at the apartment we rested our legs and had a small apéritif prior to our feta salad for lunch. After lunch we managed to sit in the warm sunshine on the balcony for some time, occasionally spotting a Sardinian warbler flitting about in the nearby bushes. It started to get a bit hot, so eventually we had to move back inside.

Later on we had a wander around the hotel gardens, spotting the mystery warbler again (and trying to decide whether or not it was a chiff chaff). There was also a flock of Spanish sparrows (which we had seen quite a few of in various locations during the week).

We finished off the minced pork dish from last night, this time with noodles, then went down to the lounge for our final evening in front of the fire. The couple who we normally chatted with had gone home that morning, so we were on our own apart from a member of the hotel staff wandering in and out tending to the fire.

Feb 6th
Woke early and started to pack the cases, carefully padding the bottles of ouzo and brandy. We then walked to Lidl to get provisions to make sandwiches for later on. We found one of our fellow guests, who was staying for a month, and passed on our leftover items, such as washing up liquid, washing powder, salt, some salad items, etc., to save it being wasted. We then made the packed lunch, gathered our belongings, and checked out.

We had to check out by noon, but as our flight was not till 10.00 pm, we had the rest of the day to do as we pleased. We left the cases in a back room at the hotel and walked into Paphos town. We had a wander round trying to locate an apartment complex we had seen on a website advertising privately-owned apartments for rent. We eventually found it, but it proved disappointing as it was surrounded by busy roads. We continued back into the town and headed for Laona for lunch. We were a little early so we ordered a beer and sat and recovered from all our walking. We then ordered our meal – I had a chicken casserole and Keith had the lamb liver that I had on our previous visit. A half carafe of wine was also needed! Tom, our long-staying fellow guest, had mentioned a drink called zivinia, which surprisingly we had never encountered, given our previous trips to Cyprus. We mentioned this to Andreas, the owner’s son-in-law, and after our meal he brought us a small glass each to try. Well, I don’t think it’s a drink I will be in a hurry to have again!! It was rather rough.

After finishing the meal with some coffees, we wandered over to the market, which was winding down, this being past midday. As we were contemplating our walk back, we noticed a bus coming into the terminus. We toyed with the idea of catching one, but that would mean a bus to the harbour and then change for one to the hotel. We decided to stick with walking the 20 minutes or so, which would probably be quicker anyway.

For the rest of the day we sat in the lounge, fired up the iPad to check that the flight times were still on schedule, snoozed a little, and later sat by the fire for a while. At about 7.00 pm the taxi arrived and took us to the airport. He had other pickups to do, and then drove, in that mad way that is typical in Cyprus, to the airport. Thankfully we all arrived in one piece, but how we did, I will never know!

The flight was on time, but we got very little sleep during the journey. We arrived at Manchester Airport a little early, but it caught the ground staff off-guard, and the steps and luggage throwers were not ready, so we had to sit on the plane for another ten minutes until they arrived. Eventually we retrieved our cases and headed out to wait for the shuttle bus to take us to the car park. It was absolutely freezing outside, and we had to wait what seemed an age for the appropriate bus to arrive. The cars in the airport car park were covered in thick ice, so we knew we would have a job on our hands when we got to our car.

A big surprise while we were waiting for the bus was the sight of a barn owl flying over the airport. This was at about 2.00 am, and it was quite strange seeing the ghostly white shape flying over our heads. Eventually the bus arrived and we were dropped close to where the car was parked. As expected, we had to spend some time scraping the ice off the windows. We were finally driving off at about 2.30 am, an hour and a half after landing.

Thankfully, we managed to stay awake during the drive home, but only just. We opened the cases to check that the bottles had survived the rigours of the airport baggage handlers, which they had, had a quick wash, then fell into bed. It was 4.30 am! We are now resolved to never take a night or late evening flight ever again. We only managed about five hours sleep, but gradually caught up over the remainder of the week.

Mount Olympus from Extreme View Café

From café window looking down into the valley

Mount Olympus from road to Troodos

Typical Cypriot cemetery in Omodos

Main street shopping area in Omodos

A wander down the backstreets of Omodos

The vine terraces surrounding the village

Some abandoned leftover wine containers

More backstreet wandering

Mount Olympus in the distance

A part of the monastery in Omodos

Main street in Omodos

Coast at Kourion

Paphos coast path looking towards lighthouse

Paphos coast path view towards wrecked boat and Coral Bay from hotel gardens

So we’re back into the swing of normal life now, but the plan still remains to move to Cyprus if we can manage it. We are hoping to be able to manage another visit sometime to do more exploration and research, and have a more structured plan to research possible locations to live. We also have to research the possibility of continuing our businesses there.

Another new option that has recently come into play is that I have enrolled on a reflexology course. I saw the course advertised in our local paper last week, and I managed to secure one of the final two places. It’s a fully-funded course (normally £400, I was told), with only a £25 enrolment fee to pay, and leads to a qualification, so I couldn’t really miss the opportunity. I partly completed a reflexology course some years ago, when I was still nursing, and regretted not completing it and taking the exam. Recently, a member of my networking group, who happens to be a reflexologist, gave a demonstration at one of our meetings. I expressed my interest and she said I should look into it again. I didn’t take much notice, as I certainly don’t have the funds to pay full price for a course such as this. When I saw the advert, and discovered there were places available, I jumped at it. So by June I may be a qualified reflexologist. This might also give me another option for a business, either here or in Cyprus. Ooh, the possibilities are now getting ever closer!

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Responses

  1. some nice photos Di. And do I suspect some wine drunk 😉

    Hope you manage to get over there permanently

  2. Hope that all you wish for comes into being…. Sounds like a great time and some wonderful scenic shots too…… 😀


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