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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Can’t believe it!! A YEAR AGO – WE MOVED TO CYPRUS!!

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View of Paphos from the Castle

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.

  1. Climate

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.

2. Nature

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.

3. Houses

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.

6. Farming

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.

 

 

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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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Paphos Kennedy Square and Municipal Gardens

Kennedy Square and surrounding roads are so interesting and well worthy of a walk around if you can stand the heat during the day and want to escape lying by the pool. Of course it may be even better to go there in the evening if it is too warm during the day as there are many nice restaurants away from the tourist areas.

Let’s start at Kennedy Square and progress from there:-

Kennedy Square

As part of the re-generation of Paphos Old Town Kennedy Square has changed dramatically in the last 2 years and is almost in its final stage of completion.

There are now many beautiful restaurants and bars around the square which have a very cosmopolitan feel to them and are so busy in the evenings.  The buildings that house these venues still have a very traditional feel to them too but definitely more modern on the outside.  Kennedy Square has been beautifully paved and new lighting added to give it a truly modern feel.

 

Off Kennedy Square you can do some shopping in the narrow paved streets of Paphos whether it be a Cypriot souvenir something to wear from the many unique little shops which are opening their doors now that the major part of the re-generation has been completed.  Maybe find yourself in the Place, which I mentioned in a previous blog Revival of Paphos Old Town  or try one of the boutique shops for something new to wear.

Government Buildings

Paphos Government Buildings (containing the town hall and library) are located just off Kennedy Square and surrounding the municipal gardens, are quite a spectacular sight to see with their Roman columns and traditional Cypriot Buildings.  They are set around the municipal gardens where there are fountains and lovely bars and restaurants.  These bars/restaurants come alive at night with Cypriot families enjoying quality time together. Rows of tables set up to hold families of 30 (it is fabulous).  Music plays out into the streets and couples and families alike enjoy themselves.  Click here to see more Photographs of the Municipal Gardens and surrounding Buildings

Omnia Espresso and Wine Bar

One of the bars surrounding the municipal gardens was this one, we loved it, we visited the bar during the day for coffee and watched the world go by.

During the day if you visit this bar and venture inside you will find many Cypriots sitting indoors under the cool air-conditioning playing Bridge !!  We discovered that this place is home to a local bridge club.

In the evening it comes alive and turns into a buzzing bar, frequented by lots of people, locals and tourists and provides a fabulous cosmopolitan feel.  Take a look on their Facebook Page Omnia Cafe to find out what goes on.

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Omnia Espresso Wine Bar

Spectacular views out over the square towards the various fountains, restaurants and of course not forgetting the beautiful buildings.

Day Time

Evening

Now I am keeping the best for last we went to a beautiful restaurant called Agora Tavern it is situated on Kennedy Square next to the traffic lights coming up from Kato Paphos at the Kings Mall.

We hadn’t booked a table in this restaurant but I had always wanted to go.  Fortunately there was two tables  that hadn’t been reserved so we were given a lovely table on the terrace.  This restaurant has no menu and you order either a meat or vegetarian meze.  As each dish was served the girls who served us explained each dish and told how it was prepared. An absolutely delightful experience.   I don’t want to tell you anymore about our experience as it would then not be a surprise for your visit.

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The Majestic Palm Tree

Cyprus has many different types of palm tree and far too many to mention here.  In our garden alone there are 3 species of palm 1) The Royal Palm, 2) the Sago Palm and 3) The Fan Palm.  They are all very interesting once you start to learn about them and how each one differs from the other.

  1. Royal Palm

Royal Palms are one of the most splendid species reaching 70 ft in height and can be seen all over Cyprus.   In spring these palm trees grow pods which once grown to their full height they split open and bear their fruit.  The pod sizes vary and can be very heavy ranging from 5 kilograms upwards depending on when they are harvested from the palm tree.

 

The photographs below show the pods prior to it opening as well as one pictured before it splits open.  These have been removed from the palm tree prior to it opening.  The weight of the pods below were circa 15 kilograms.  So heavy to hold as I found out.  The photograph with my foot in it gives and indication of the size of these pods.

 

The pods once left to dry turn a beautiful dark colour and can be painted and used as decorative ornaments.

 

2.  Sago Palm 

(Cycas revoluta)

The Sago Palm is much smaller than the Royal Palm and grows very slowly.

 

Although a very interesting species of Palm the Sago Palm is extremely poisonous to animals and humans if ingested.  All parts of the plant are toxic; however, the seeds contain the highest level of the toxin cycasin.  Cycasin causes gastrointestinal irritation, and in high enough doses, leads to liver failure so best to avoid eating the nut like fruit on them. 

Yesterday (21st September) I took more photographs of the sago palm to show how it has grown in the last couple of months.

 

3.  The Fan Palm

Aptly named as the fronds of this palm actually look like a fan that we often use to fan ourselves when the weather is warm.

They too grow pods like the Royal Palm but look entirely different.  They resemble tentacles of an octopus which grow large and when they develop to their full size they open and produce hanging berries which ripen and fall.

 

For all palms the fronds grow continuously although growth is much slower in the winter.  Of course as fronds grow and sprout from the top of the palm the older fronds below die.  Once dead they are removed and the tree trunk begins to get longer as new growth continues. This of course takes a very long time.

Today 6th July 2017 Phill cut further dead fronds from the fan palm as well as the tentacles I mentioned above.  This should make it easier to see what they are like when they are cut from the tree.  When they grow they are all green and then as they develop they break open with these white flowers – the bees absolutely love them and sometimes it is difficult to get very close to them as there are bees crawling all over them.  The tentacles are very long and grow in excess of 5 foot long.

Keep your eye out for the varying types of palm when you are on holiday even if you go to the west coast of Scotland as Palm trees are known to grow in the west of Scotland thanks to the effects of the Gulf Stream, which transports warm tropical water to the area.

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Villa Corrado Update – Fly Screens

Don’t you just love hearing the waves lapping the shore as you lie in your bed at night?  Well here is your chance!!   Instead of having the doors closed in the evenings to prevent these annoying bugs getting in we have had fly screens put into the villa.  You will now be able to enjoy the lovely cool breeze blowing lightly through the bedroom and listen to the waves lapping the shore of Coral Bay Beach.

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Master Bedroom with new fly screens

Fly screens have now been placed in the patio doors of  both bedrooms, the windows of the en suite and family bathrooms and also the downstairs living room and kitchen patio doors.

What more you could you wish for?  Except to be here in the lovely Cyprus sunshine ♥

 

Cyprus National Day

Got up this morning to discover yet another Bank Holiday here in Cyprus………………………..

Cyprus National Day is a public holiday in Cyprus and is recognised on 1 April each year. It is also known to some as Greek Cypriot National Day

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Public Holidays in Cyprus

Cyprus was under British administration since 1878 after the island was handed over in an agreement with the Ottoman Empire for British military support, if needed, against Russia.

On 1 April 1955, a guerilla organisation was established. It was called Ethnikí Organósis Kipriakóu Agónos (EOKA), or the National Organisation of the Cypriot Struggle, and fought for Cyprus’s independence from colonial Britain, and for union with Greece (known as enosis). The organisation was established by Archbishop Makarios III and led by General George Grivas.

In the four years following, EOKA fought against British installations in Cyprus with bombings and armed warfare. The British troops were temporarily depleted due to the Suez Crisis but, in 1957, the British Army sent in extra forces and sought out the hideouts in the mountains.

During this time, Archbishop Makarios III was exiled.  In 1958, he agreed to accept independence only for Cyprus, rather than union with Greece, which was becoming more difficult to attain.  In February 1959, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece signed an agreement with Cyprus in Zurich and the EOKA guerilla forces disbanded.

The agreement declared that the State of Cyprus would become a republic with a Greek President, a Turkish Vice President, the national languages of Greece and Turkey, and its own flag. The agreement came into practical effect later in 1960.

In addition, many schools also hold tributes and programs in their classes around this time to educate the students about the history behind this event in the country.

Today the public holiday is largely a day of rest and relaxation for the people of Cyprus. In the lead up to the holiday, schools reinforce the lessons about EOKA and the Zurich Agreement. On the day, many attend religious services.