Friday, 23 September 2011

Cyprus Adventure - Part 2

After a few more days of soaking up the sun in our fabulous villa we decided to venture out and take a day trip on Saturday to Nicosia.

We got up early in an attempt to beat the peak mid day sun.  Turns out its just hot all the time (not complaining though!).

We headed east across the island and up to the centre to the walled city of Nicosia. Nicosia is the capital of the island and the only divided capital in the world.  Divided by a ‘green line’ it separates the southern Greek Cypriot side from the northern Turkish Cypriot side.

The wall
We parked up just outside the city walls and headed towards the old town.  We entered through the walls near to the Roman Catholic Church, which was as far as we could go without crossing the border.
We wandered around the mixture of old and new streets and found a pleasant little cafe for some well needed brunch.

After brunch we went in search of the Harley Davidson shop (apparently the only one in Cyprus is in Nicosia) but to no avail. We actually found it as we were driving out but it looked like it had shut down.

Aphrodite’s Birthplace
We drove back along the coast to Pissouri where we pulled off the motorway and headed to Aphrodite's birthplace.  Legend has it that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, was born from the sea foam at this spot and the popular conception is that if you swim around the rock three times you'll get eternal youth and beauty.  I’ve just looked this up and it seems that you actually need to swim around the rocks naked and in the night on a full moon, which may explain why none of us look any younger!

Before we went down to the beach we stopped at the local restaurant for an ice cream.  The restaurant, and ice cream were slightly questionable, but it did have fantastic panoramic views of the coast and Aphrodite's rock.

Ooh look at the view
Not content with this spectacular view we decided to head further up the hill/mountain to see what was up there.  As our car, while fine on a straight flat road, struggled with some of the short steep hills around Paphos it was touch and go if we were going to make it.  We eventually got up the hill until the road appeared to come to an end, to a scene reminiscent of the film 'The Hills Have Eyes'. There's no doubting that it was an equally spectacular view however we had a slightly hairy moment trying to turn our people mover around on a cliff edge with large pieces of the dirt track road missing.  Alas, we made it and headed back down to the beach. I'm sure the restaurant owner was thinking 'see tourists, I could have told you there was nothing up there!'

The beach, a pebblely one, at Aphrodite's birthplace was strewn with hearts made out of pebbles. And although it was a bit painful underfoot to get into the sea it was refreshing and perfectly clear.  There were a number of visitors who managed to clamber up the rock for a photo opportunity before jumping off into the sea.

Hmm how am I going to get down from here now??
We dried off and headed back to Villa Bella, stopping off to say hi to mum and check out all the weddings going on at her hotel.

Another restaurant recommendation:  Fat Mamas on Tomb of the Kings Road, Paphos.  Advertised as huge portions we weren't disappointed. With two different menus to choose from – the Italian American Fat Mamas menu or her cousin Cowboy Willy’s Rib Ranch menu - the food and cocktails were extremely tasty.  I recommend the Hunky Pizza Boy.  That is a cocktail by the way. 

On Monday we drove down to Paphos to hire some jet skis from the Paphos Watersports centre. They seemed to be cheaper here than some of the other rental places nearer to the harbour and in Coral Bay. A bit of haggling and the nice lady on the desk gave us a good deal on 4 jet skis.  The boys had one each while Katie and I got on together (I was the designated driver) and after a quick safety and instruction lesson we jetted out to sea.  

With both of us holding on for dear life we whizzed, bounced and splashed our way up and down the bay. The screams and giggles were a sign of how much fun we had!

After docking up the jet skis we teetered back over the gang plank and sat down in a nearby restaurant for a cold drink to wash away the sea water taste.  A quick discussion about how much we'd enjoyed the jet skis and we were back at the desk getting ourselves a good deal on a speedboat.  Off we went again, this time altogether and in the words of LonelyIsland, 'on a boat' and hit the big blue watery road for another 20 minutes of thrills and spills.

Another restaurant recommendation: The Gourmet Taverna in Paphos.  Serving local Cypriot dishes as well as international cuisine the food was absolutely delicious.  The meze cheese starter was extremely tasty and the local Cypriot wines were delightful.  It’s an excellent restaurant and although looked like a more expensive restaurant it was actually fairly reasonably priced.

Final restaurant recommendation: Tea for Two in Paphos.  There are two of these in Paphos, one of Tomb of the Kings Road and one in the town near the sea front.  A great place for breakfast (they do lunch and main meals too) especially the one near the sea front which we visited a couple of times. 

Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end and it was time for us to get back to business and go home.  But we’d had a ‘stonking’ holiday – great respite from the stresses of work and life in general!  Villa Bella was an excellent choice and the owners, Marilyn and Dermot, were very helpful.  I would defiantly recommend this villa for anyone looking for somewhere quiet but not too far away from the local amenities and action.  Stevies Taxis were excellent – especially being one of the few taxi companies who knew where Villa Bella was.  Not very expensive to get into Paphos or Coral Bay of an evening and the drivers had some good tips and recommendations for us.      


Home time........