Well I certainly can’t believe that a year ago our new adventure began. We loaded our shipping container and put the car in for “roll on roll off” and made our way to Stansted Airport for a 5pm flight to Cyprus. AND it certainly has been an experience for us from loading the container, to it going missing (see my blog How Did We End Up In Cyprus? for more details on our missing container) to our new life here. It has been an amazingly quick year with lots learned and lots more still to learn. We have met new people and made new friends too in our new country we now call home.
More importantly we have learned so much about life in Cyprus from culture to nature and also about living here. Things are different here in lots of ways from Scotland and England ……….. I have listed our experiences and discoveries so far as I know we waken every day to something new.
Well “of course”, I hear you say you would definitely expect to have a big difference in the climate in Cyprus as it is in the Middle East. You are most definitely right!! Summers are hot and dry – July was the warmest month this year and wasn’t sure I could cope with it but hey I made it through the warmest days and even more so the high humidity.
The cooler months – can’t quite call them winter months as they are so much warmer than our winters at home – they are probably more like a summer’s day in the UK warm during the day and cool evenings. Ideal for anyone who likes walking and cycling. There are some great walking trails around the island and there are some great cycling events here too in March/April.
We have been lucky to see lots of new insects and animals this year from chameleons ( refer to Gardening Discoveries) to snakes all in close proximity of our home. A few long-eared hedgehogs have also been spotted whilst out driving as well as finding one in the pool. Cicadas have been so interesting this year as it is the first time we discovered what actually made the noise. ( see Cyprus Cicadas). One insect which we loved and we found regularly in our hedges and a few plants was the praying mantis ( see Baby Praying Mantis in the Garden!!) And of course the insect which I guess most of us hate “The Cockroach” !! We have seen them around the garden and the odd one or 2 in the house – fortunately dead as Phill has learned everything there is to know about pest control out here and we are lucky that when we do see them they have died. Of course living in a mediterranean country it is only to be expected at some point throughout the year as they do fly.
Houses in Cyprus are not built with insulation so of course the houses are cold in the evenings in the cooler months and way too hot in the summer months. We have a lovely log burner which we use in the cooler months which keeps most of the house warm – and puts you to sleep by 8pm if you sit too close to it.
4. Living in Cyprus
Cyprus living is quite different from living in the UK. The roads are so quiet when travelling around the island – it doesn’t matter if you drive on the motorways or the B-Roads you can probably count the number of cars you meet on 2 hands. OK so the town is a bit busier but nothing compared to my daily commutes on the M25 when I travelled 25 miles to work and the same back. One day I recall it took me 5 hours to get home – just in time for bed as there was an accident on the M25 and we were all diverted onto the M11. One of these journeys never to be forgotten.
Our local supermarket Philippos is an amazing place. You want for nothing when you visit this store – it has absolutely everything – I can even buy haggis and potato scones if I want. There are Tesco products and even Waitrose goods as well as every other brand we have in the UK. But even better is the bakers, the butchers and the fish counter where everything is fresh and hasn’t been ferried up and down the motorway a few times. When I buy meat it is so fresh I can keep it in the fridge without freezing it for 4 or 5 weeks – I couldn’t believe it when I saw the use by date on it. Of course don’t just take my word for it come to Coral Bay and pop into the store – you will love it.
5. Ministry of Transport
The Ministry of Transport is a bit different and well worth the experience. Cars are taken there when we need to register them when we bring them from the UK. A bit like DVLA but we can go in person. Mostly everything in Cyprus is paper driven and no one really uses a computer here although progress is being made where organisations are trying to use computers instead of paper processing and stamps with signatures.
The main crops which we have seen growing in Cyprus in the Coral Bay area are wheat, water melon, oranges, pomegranates, lemons, limes, grapefruit, figs, grapes, but predominantly bananas due to the humid climate in the Coral Bay Area. Many of these crops are not ripe until the first quarter of the year. Oranges can be seen falling of the trees from Christmas time onwards. In Kissonerga they can be seen rolling down the hill towards Potima Bay.
6. Growing Season
We have been trying to grow some herbs, including chillies and peppers. Also we tried tomatoes too but it has proven to be difficult so far and just when you think you have succeeded something happens. It was really exciting for us when the tomatoes started to grow and begin to turn red but then they were attacked by an insect and we had to start learning about what to do and what type of insect was attacking it. The peppers of course like most things don’t like too much direct sunshine so these have to be hidden at the back of the house. However, we are learning so much and the garden centres and other places we now visit to purchase insecticide and pesticides are so helpful. Phill has a shed full of different chemicals for treating different things. Of course all in Greek so he has to put his own labels on the bottles.
So as you can see we are settling into our life here in Cyprus and learning lots of new things. Lots of shops take half days on Wednesday, especially if they are not tourist shops. Also Saturday is early closing and Sunday the shops aren’t open. This is only shops away from the tourist area where you can buy beds, cars, outdoor furniture and electrical items.
We have grown to love the Cypriot People who are very friendly and giving. We love the traditional Cypriot restaurants especially those that we have found in the old town in Paphos. We like the way in which the Cypriot families spend time together. Not on a phone, tablet or any gaming device but instead interacting with family over dinner. This brings home what used to be our true values years ago in the UK before commercialism won us over.
Below I have chosen some of our photographs taken during our first year.