Three Years Gone in a Blink of an EYE!!

Well it is 31st August 2019 and we have been here 3 full years today.  We boarded the plane at Stansted exactly 3 years ago on our new journey.  Can’t believe where the time has gone.

So what has this year been like???


Once again it has been a fabulous year …..

We are still continuing to learn about the island we live on….snakes, chameleons, growing vegetables and learning about all the bugs that we are pestered with during some of the humid months.

Snakes

So last week Phill stumbled across a snake skin in the garden…we are still trying to find out what type of snake it is.  The general consensus is that there are ten species of snake that are established on the island and they are as follows:

The Large Whip Snake (Coluber Jugularis) The Cyprus Whip Snake (Coluber Cypriensis) The Coin Snake or Ravergier’s Whip Snake (Coluber Numifer)
The Blunt Nosed Viper (Vipera Lebetina) The Montpellier Snake (Malpolon Monspessulanus) The Cat Snake (Telescopus Fallax)
The Cyprus Grass Snake (Natrix Natrix Cypriaca)
Pink Worm Snake  (Typhlops Vermicularis)
Dahl’s Whip Snake or Arrow Snake (Coluber Najadum)
The Dwarf Snake (Eirenus Modestus  

The Blunt Nosed Viper is the bad boy of the island’s snakes; the only potentially lethal snake in Cyprus. That said, despite an average of twenty attacks on humans each year, no one has died from its bite for nearly fifteen years. It’s easily recognised being a large fat snake, around 1.3 to 1.7m long with offset semi-rectangular markings along its silvery beige back. It is also discernible from the black spots on its head. Many bites occur through lack of care as the snake is used to remaining motionless to await the approach of the birds it preys on and its well camouflaged markings mean that walkers often get too close.  The snake is on the endangered list mainly because ignorant people see it as a dangerous pest and kill it forgetting that it is an important part of the Cypriot ecosystem. Additionally it often falls prey itself to Whip Snakes and birds of prey.

Chameleon

Another chameleon ventured into the garden last week too.  It was walking slowly along the bottom of the gate.  We managed to intercept it and look at it…..

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What a little cutie – Phill held it for a minute to take the photographs and then let it go into hiding in the hedge.

Gardening

We tried our hand at gardening this year again with the introduction of a few new vegetables including corn on the cob (well when I say we tried our hand I actually mean Phill).  We had a lovely mint plant which grew like mad over the early part of the year but due to the heat and the humidity in Coral Bay it has stopped growing and is looking a bit ill.  However, the good news is that it will recover soon.  I love having mint in the garden and is great for lots of dishes that I make including tzatziki. We had a few tomato plants too and had a few tomatoes for our salads and some chillis and peppers which also have been great for salads and barbecues.  

There are many things that we cannot grow as we slowly discover as the heat and humidity is too much for many of these plants especially in the summer months.  I wanted to grow blueberries for my porridge but alas no we were advised against it due to our location and of course we are slowly discovering what we can and cannot do.  

Phill is currently trying to grow an Avocado Tree from the seed of the avocado – it is really doing well but of course could be around 4 years before we do get fruit from it but definitely worth doing.

We are also trying to grow ginger as I use quite a bit of root ginger when cooking especially in my Indian and Chinese recipes.  So we shall see what happens – the plant is currently about 1 foot tall at the moment and looking good.  

We have had copious amounts of strawberries from our plant this year – too many to eat but we did do our best to get through them.  Next year I think I will be making strawberry jam to have with my scones and clotted cream – can’t wait!!

As always we have a problems with some of the insects that live in the warmer climate especially the Mealybug.   Every summer Phill spends considerable time treating our hedges as they seem to love the Hibiscus – unfortunately some people do not bother to treat their hedge and the bug takes over and kills it and they then move on to the next healthy plant.

Mealybugs are white, tiny little guys that form cottony nests where they are feeding.  These bugs suck the sap out of the leaves and stems of plants, resulting in stunted or deformed leaf growth, yellowing of the leaves, and leaf drop.

Archaeological Sites

We have also been visiting some of the archaeological sites, The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates  and the ancient city of Kourion.   A visit to Omodos has to be done at least once.  It is a beautiful traditional Cypriot Village which has been carefully restored and is car free (at least to tourists).  Great day out visiting it and the little art shops and cafes which are dotted around the square and the streets.

We’ve also been to the beach a few times visiting Corallia Beach, Latchi Beach and our fullsizeoutput_13b8favourite beach Kourion which sits below the archaelogical site.

Winter Months

The cooler months this year were very wet which was great as most of the dams filled and overflowed.  Definitely something that Cyprus needed.  Last year the large dams were only filled to 13% of their capacity and this year what a difference as the large one near Paphos Airport actually overflowed.  Look at the difference:-

 

Outdoor Life

Well so far it is all good here and we are really enjoying being here and lapping up the culture and the outdoor life that we so much enjoy – we can have a barbecue any time we want without thinking about whether it will be raining.  We can also go out for dinner in the evening and not think about taking a jacket, coat or even an umbrella.  

Lots of beautiful restaurants to enjoy and lazing by our beautiful pool.  What’s not to like!!!

What will our fourth year bring for us?  Who knows but definitely lots of sunshine and fun to be sure !!

Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates

With temperatures soaring we decided to brave the heat and take a trip in the air conditioned car to visit the Sanctuary of Apollo and to tempt us all a  cool down afterwards an ice cream and picnic on the beach.  What else  !!

Getting out of the car the hot air hit us but fortunately the wind was also blowing so it took away the direct heat and helped us to enjoy the visit walking around the archaeological site.  Not quite as big as Kourion site but long enough to spend in the direct heat in the height of the summer.

The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates lies west of the ancient city of Kourion (which we visited earlier in the year) and is one of the most important sanctuaries of ancient Cyprus.

Apollo Hylates was considered God of the Forest and was the protector of Kourion and is believed to have been worshiped in the area since the 8th century BC. – in the 4th century AD.

This sanctuary was built in the Copper Age and was destroyed in 365 AD due to a strong earthquake in the area which also destroyed the ancient city of Kourion.  Of course this was not the end of the Sanctuary of Apollo as much of it was rebuilt again.

Today’s ruins date back to the 1st century AD. The site of the sanctuary is a palaestra (a wrestling school or gymnasium), a gallery, a treasury, the baths, the Archaic mosque, the circular monument, the central courtyard and the temple of Apollo.

The Baths

In the southeastern part of the sanctuary is the palaestra, a central courtyard surrounded by colonnades, which was the place where the athletes practiced. In the sanctuary there are also Roman baths. Both the baths and the palaestra are outside the main sanctuary.

The majority of the monuments, as they are today, belong to the restoration that took place in the temple in the 1st century A.D. and consist of the Temple of Apollo, the pilgrimage halls, the palaestra, a bath complex and the sacred enclosure.

 

Have a look at the attached YouTube video to get an idea of the size of the area.

Definitely worth a visit.  If you haven’t had enough history just further along sits The Stadium.  Kourion Stadium is the only ancient stadium found in Cyprus and dates back to the 2nd century,  the stadium had a capacity for 6.000 spectators and was the site of pentathlon events in ancient times.

 

And of course to top it all a visit to Kourion Beach for our picnic

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Just Loving it, Christmas Day 2017 and 21 Degrees

An amazing morning to wake up to.  Not only was it Christmas day but the previous days coptic storm was gone and the skies were clear!!  There was a stillness in the air, everything was quiet and calm and most importantly clear blue skies and a blazing sun shone down as we sat on the terrace drinking coffee.  We could also hear the waves lapping the shores of Coral Bay which just showed us how quiet it was.  What a difference from yesterday!!

A walk down to the beach is what is needed on Christmas day so off we went.  Temperatures were rising as the morning progressed and we started to feel the sun beating down on us around a staggering 21 degrees.  What’s not to like !!

Coral Bay Beach

We passed Coral Bay Beach and onto Corralia Beach where as with lots of Cypriot beaches there was those who had come to the beach for the family ritual of a Christmas Dip in the Mediterranean and those mad enough to do so for fun.  It has to be done they say!! and it couldn’t have been a better day for it.  Christmas Day 2017 and 21 degrees.

Corralia Beach in Coral Bay

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Lara Bay in the Akamas Peninsula

What a day for a swim and lunch at  Lara Bay….

September is here and slightly cooler now but still in the 30s of course but the humidity has gone and it is Sunday after all so what more could we want today but to spend time at the beach with our friends Jan and Keith.

Having been to the Akamas Peninsula quite a lot of time but never gone to Lara Bay I was really excited about going to see the turtle nests there.  If you have never gone to the Akamas Peninsula it is definitely worth a visit for the beautiful scenery.  Of course be prepared for a bit of a bumpy ride as it is all off road and most definitely not a smooth ride. Hold onto your hats!!

These photographs below are of the coastline we passed on the way to Lara Bay and as you can see it is beautiful and rugged – with the exception of the blue sky it often reminds me of the west coast of Scotland with its rugged look.

We finally got to Lara Bay and parked the cars – you can either park at the beach (which we did) or stop before the beach at the beach restaurant on the hill.  Towels and umbrellas to the ready we headed to the beach for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water of the warm Mediterranean Sea.  It is so peaceful here with very few people on the beach. So perfect.

We sat close to one of the turtle nest but unlucky for us there was no activity so didn’t manage to see a baby turtle head to the sea on this occasion – maybe one day if I can get the day right.  See Cyprus Insider for lovely photographs taken in August of the turtles hatching and heading to the sea.

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Turtle Nest

Time for a little snack at the restaurant where the views were amazing.  As it was a Sunday the restaurant was full of Cypriot families having lunch and enjoying their time together.  Some were having a celebration and the men were doing a bit of Greek Dancing.  We were so pleased we had gone there.

Lara Bay and the surrounding area is definitely worth if you visit Cyprus.  Our next venture to Lara Bay is next week when we are going to go out on a kayak with our friends.  I’ve never tried kayaking before so should be fun – I hope – will of course have the life jacket on just in case.   Watch this space ……….

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Year 2 – Day 1 – another beach visited

Well here we are now into our second year in sunny Cyprus so what more could you wish for than to celebrate our first year here on a lovely beach that we had never been to before with a nicely packed picnic?  A bit different from last year on this date as we were flying high in the sky heading here ( see Can’t believe it!! A YEAR AGO – WE MOVED TO CYPRUS!!)

Today’s outing took us to Kourion Beach.  We had passed it many times on our way to Limassol and from high up on the hill it looked absolutely amazing so today in celebration the start of our second year here we thought we’d head down to this beach.  

There are 3 restaurants on the beach if you happen to want something to eat or drink.  There are also life guards at certain points along the beach too.  The walk into the sea is lovely and sandy and you can venture out quite far before it starts to get deep.  We had a great time wave jumping today.  

After playing around in the sea it was time for our picnic and out came the sandwiches and drinks.  It was lovely just sitting there watching the waves and the world go by.

Picnic time over and it was time to read…………

Heading home it was time to have an ice cream and we knew the perfect spot to stop with the most amazing view……at the top of the hill looking down towards the Birth Place of Aphrodite (see Aphrodite Greek Goddess of Love, Beauty, Pleasure and Procreation).  It was the perfect way to end our perfect day.

One thing we missed doing today was to visit the Kourion Amphitheatre which sits high on the hill above Kourion Beach so if you do happen to venture there make sure you visit it as it looks absolutely amazing. 

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New Beach Discovery!!

From Coral Bay why not take a scenic drive over to Latchi and visit one of the beaches there.  My 17-year-old nephew Robbie was visiting for a week so what better opportunity to visit a beach that we hadn’t been to before.

We were originally heading to the beach at the Baths of Aphrodite as the view there is spectacular when looking down from the restaurant into the beautiful clear water below.  Ideal clear water for snorkelling and the beach is small and quiet.  On the way and just about 1/2 mile from this point we saw a sign saying “Best Beach this way” so always trying to find something new we turned down the road that lead to the beach and to the Aphrodite Beach Hotel.  What a busy day it was a Cypriot Bank and the beach and car park was so busy.  Luckily though we were able to park the car and get onto the beach.  We walked along the beach a 100 yards and found a lovely spot right at the edge of the water.

We had a fantastic day out stopping at a restaurant in Latchi for a snack on the way home. What more could you want !!

Well we loved it so much I bought a cool box and yesterday we went back with a picnic just like the old days, sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and drinks – and even better this time we took an umbrella with us!!  Clever thinking I hear you say!!

Watch out now for the next beach we find on our travels…….almost been here a year in a few days and still learning each day.  Loving it !! 

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