The Pig Yard

Cyprus 2004...

Holiday Locations

Our Cyprus holiday was the first package holiday we had taken for over 20 years and the reason for booking it was that it seemed straightforward and there was minimal stress involved. Although this was true you can never get away from the stress induced by travelling. We flew out of Birmingham so the journey there was straightforward however airports have become over crowded and involve one queue after another.

We arrived at Paphos (Pafos) airport after a four and half hour flight. It was after ten o'clock at night and by the time the bus had delivered all of us happy package holiday makers to our respective hotels it was after eleven o'clock.

As in many things in our life we were very lucky with the hotel we were allocated. The deal we had was that it would be one of three hotels and we didn't know which one until we arrived. The hotel was a complex of 600+ apartments and we had an upstairs apartment with a balcony with a sea view. The hotel was right on the coast with a rocky beach and a swimming pool that was within 10 metres of the sea.

The apartment had a small kitchen so we could store drinks in the fridge, make cups of tea etc so there were many occasions when we sat on our balcony drinking, reading and relaxing.

We were pleased to see that a very short walk from our apartment was the hotel pool. This looked very inviting as the heat of the day started but we found the water temperature very cold. At least at this time of year there was no competition for the sun beds and there was a strict rule about reserving seats with the "German towel".

The clear, cold water was rarely crowded but we opted to go in at the end of the day when it was hoped the temperature was a little warmer.

Paphos harbour was a fifteen minute walk away from the hotel. The ancient fort had been a small part of the ancient town of Paphos. We went into the fort and because it was Euro day (Cyprus joined the European Union on 1 May) as Euro citizens we were allowed in free.

We stopped in a cafe and had lunch over looking the bay, it was as near to perfect as it gets, particularly drinking very cold glasses of the local brew.

We have been to Roman remains in Nimes but the remains in Paphos are truly superb. We spent several hours wandering around the site marvelling at the constructions and the various mosaic floors some were pre Roman Byzantine mosaics that were made from different coloured pebbles rather than clay tessera.

These particular mosaics were not undercover so they were open to the elements all year round and it seemed that the people in charge were happy to sit down and give them a bit of a scrub if they thought they needed it. If these artefacts were on show in Britain they would be covered over and treated with great care but in Cyprus they are nothing special.

Thankfully this area is now a World Heritage site and is becoming a great tourist attraction so perhaps the local archaeologists will treat them with more care in the future.

We decided on a trip into the Troodos mountains to see a monastery and what we hoped would be magnificent scenery. We've never done this before and it seemed a good idea at the time particularly as we were determined not to hire a car - bad move. We turned out to be almost the youngest couple on the coach and whenever we stopped, it took ten minutes to disembark and another ten minutes to get everyone on board. If there was a 45 minute stop then it didn't leave a lot of time to explore some of the villages we stopped at.

Perhaps the day will come when a coach trip will be all we can cope with but that day hasn't arrived yet so next time we go abroad we will undoubtedly hire a car and see the places we want to see when we want to see them.

whenever we are on holiday we always want to walk and Cyprus was no different. The temperatures were in the high twenties Celsius but as "mad dogs" we decided to catch a bus and take a walk away from the coast. The area had changed from when our walk book had been written ten years previously. What had been dirt roads before were now tarmac and so inevitably we got lost. We found ourselves walking past an army barracks that had notices up all round forbidding photography and to top it all the road ended. We took our courage in both hands and wandered off down a gravel track that eventually brought us round to a well driven track leading back to the sea and eventually Coral Beach.

Well this picture shows that you don't have to go to the Caribbean to find banana plants. Jane had to let her hair down, a rare occurrence these days, because it was so hot on the back of her neck. No need to say that Steve was wearing a baseball cap to cover his balding head.

The Tombs of the Kings is a a bit of a misnomer because the occupants were never kings but they were wealthy merchants and nobleman, so what's in a name. We spent several hours on a very hot day wandering around photographing the catacombs, the flowers and the lizards. In 2000 years not a lot has changed because these people were interred in the belief that there was an after life and they would take things with them for the journey. Let's just hope the baggage allowance was more than the 15 Kilograms allowed on our flight.

The whole area was like Raiders of the Lost Ark although it was too warm to be rushing around like Indiana Jones.

So how was it for you? Overall we enjoyed our holiday, we came back with a sensible tan, relaxed and happy. It was warmer than we would normally like but we soon got used to that, you just have to learn to slow down and that's what holidays are about - slowing down. The people were very friendly, that's if you could find any locals because the place is over run with Brits. The food was very good provided you didn't mind having chips with everything - do Greek dishes traditionally come with chips? We don't think so. Even the lunchtime sandwiches came with chips.

Keo beer, the local brew, was excellent at the end of the day and we found ourselves drinking pints purely to keep cool and pints were better value than half pints - honest. Next time we'll go further up the coast towards the North West of the island where it is quieter and there are better walks.

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