Holidays and Other Excursions

Category: Cyprus

Paphos Archaeological Park

Sunday 1 April 2017

Tomorrow we go home but first we have a major historical site to visit and it is within walking distance!  Jackie came here on a previous visit and was brought by coach – from the Anabel at the other end of the sea front – but did not go via the direct route!

Most of the Paphos Archaeological Park relates to excavations of Roman remains and typically dates from the first century AD when the Roman empire was at its greatest strength.

As the photos show here, as in Sicily and also in recent discoveries at Silchester, the high quality of the floor mosaics stands out.  It feels like there was a competition in progress between various rich Romans to demonstrate their individual wealth through the mosaics used in the flooring.

The photos are here.

The overall site is huge and many of the mosaics are covered at this time of year – there is obviously much more here than is on display at the time of our visit as a number of displays have explanation boards but the mosaics are covered by a layer of small stones (probably covering some protective plastic sheeting).  Some of the best mosaics are now under cover of buildings and this process will no doubt continue as money becomes available.

The Park is also close to the castle and the restaurants around the remaining port area (commercial port operations have all moved to Limassol).  Down in this area someone is playing music loudly  which is carrying up to us as we inspect the Saranta Colones castle.  We had not really noticed it but then they play “Somewhere over the Rainbow” – a piece we always associate with our daughter Stephanie and which I always feel means she is somewhere close by keeping an eye on what we are doing.

We cover only some of the site – it would take much longer to see the entirety if all of the mosaics were on display – in about two hours during the morning – and we feel a few spots of rain so assume it means it is lunchtime.  But in fact all we get are those few spots!

Lunch is taken in one of the many restaurants along the harbour seafront – and there is plenty of choice both of restaurant and then on the menus themselves.

We wander back to the hotel and try and enjoy a little sunshine; although the sun is there it is perhaps not quite warm enough as we might like.

Off home tomorrow so we pack cases this evening.  In the morning after breakfast we leave them locked away before heading into Paphos for one last meal before it is time to return to the airport.  Elephant are on the case this time to recover the car (the damage from the concrete ball seems to go unnoticed).  BTW I did not hit the concrete ball – we merely found it near the car and with evidence that someone had rolled it there – not easily as it was heavy and nor could we identify where the ball had been before it was moved as there were no missing balls!

And we arrive home early on Monday morning.  Next up is a short trip to Devon but with more posts than this.


Trip to Troodos

Tuesday 28 March 2017

One of the reasons for hiring a car was so that we could do at least one trip to visit the Troodos Mountains which are no great distance from Paphos.

The car has sat nav, there are maps on the internet and there are road signs – what could possibly go wrong?  Nothing does go wrong, I am pleased to report and we have an interesting trip.

We take the main road eastwards out of town and after a few miles there is a sign for Troodos Mountains so we take that exit and now the road seems to go uphill from time to time, although a lot of it seems flat.  We pass through some rolling farming countryside and not much other traffic so an easy drive.

We follow some signs and we get onto some real back roads, including finding a bridge between two valley roads which really is single track.  In accordance with our initial aim we find ourselves in Omodos which Jackie confirms she has visited before on a coach trip.  A cup of coffee is needed.  As we wander around the village we spy a couple of reasonable looking restaurants but it is a little early for us to take lunch.  But at least one of them has rooms so we could come to Cyprus again and stay for two nights eating in both!  There are also some interesting looking art shops and so on as we wander round – coach trips obviously stop here.

We carry on reaching Plano Platres at lunchtime where again there are a number of restaurants.  We park in the main car park and we are supposed to pay and display.  But we cannot get change from the Tourist Information so cannot pay for long enough.  We ask a couple of times but are told that the car park only tends to get checked in the peak of the summer season and indeed we do not get a parking ticket.  Always makes me nervous though if I do not pay enough for parking.

We have lunch in Skylight which is a huge restaurant – presumably with very heavy demand in summer from coach parties – it also has a swimming pool!  As with all meals the Greek salad which comes is almost a meal in itself and we keep forgetting this – we really need to order one to share between us but don’t!  Here is Jackie’s picture:

I had a better meal than Jackie.  Our waitress (and possibly part owner?) originally came from Leeds but had been in Cyprus for many years.

The car is unclamped when we return to the car park and we head on up to Troodos which is the highest point around here.  We pass snow/ice blocks by the side of the road as we ascend – it has not yet all melted at this time of year.

My few photographs of the day are here.  Mainly Omodos and the view from Troodos when we briefly stop.  It is definitely a lot cooler up here than down by the coast.

The journey from here is inevitably downhill and we are heading in the direction of Limassol as we use different roads to those used on the outward journey.  What feels different about this journey is that I can tell we are going down, going down and down and definitely down all the time we are moving.  This morning it was not so obvious we were ascending, but this feels relentless – constant use of brakes and so on.

We reach the outskirts of Limassol and then pick up the main road westwards back to Paphos.  A very nice day trip.  We know we did not see all the sights (missed waterfalls and so on) – but it is all part of an excuse to return here in the future.

One more post to come on our Cyprus trip.

Paphos Cyprus

Sunday 26 March to Monday 3 April 2017

A cheap week away in the sunshine.  There will be this post on the holiday and then two more – one on our trip to the Troodos Mountain and another on our visit to the Archaeological Park in Paphos.

The holiday is cheap because we travelling on Air Miles (or Avios Points as they are known these days) reflecting a pay back for our trip to Australia.  We have merely paid the taxes and the flights are “free”.  Jackie has been to Cyprus previously with Veronica and stayed at the Annabel, so she should know her way around and where we need to go.

We are not staying at the Annabel but across the road and round the corner in the Anemi which is a little less expensive.  But first we have to get there and Elephant who are supplying our hire car are not waiting for us.  A lady from another company enables us to make a phone call and they turn up with the car and we are off.  It is now after 10 and we know the hotel locks up at 11.  We make it!  We do take a wrong turn as the final part is a paved area and it is not obvious it is a road to take.  The sat nav then takes us round in a circle to get us to the right place!

The area around the pool is in reasonable order and from the outside it is clear that some rooms in the hotel have been refurbished as the external windows have been changed – and it is equally obvious that the refurbishment work has not yet reached our end of the hotel.  It is therefore a little old and a little worn but the owners are obviously re-investing as the funds become available.  We are there for B&B only and we have a small kitchen area as it is an apart-hotel.  Towards the end of our stay we do establish that the main restaurant can serve a decent evening meal (and entertainment).

To Jackie the biggest surprise is that we can walk out of the hotel and along on to the main strip and there is a profusion of restaurants from which we need to make a choice most days.  Although she had been here before she was staying on half board terms and when she left the hotel the coach did not go along the front and so she was unaware of all the restaurants that exist.

A fish restaurant is selected for the first night and a Chinese for later in the week.  We have also booked St Georges which has been mentioned in the Sunday Times recently as being very good.  One lunchtime we eat in the beachfront cafe of the Almyra which is one of the very upmarket hotels.  All good places to eat.  Lot of seafood of course!

On Tuesday we are heading to the Troodos Mountains (which is a separate post) and on Friday 31 March we drove along the coast to Limassol which is a big port and the weather is wet, so when we get there it does not look terribly attractive, nor do we fancy wandering around in the rain!  Some photos taken along the coast road are here.  We head back towards Paphos and then find Melanda beach where Jackie found some prawns in the restaurant:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday are days spent doing very little – mainly finding different places to lie in the sun by the pool and absorb the sun.  We also do some observing of the local cat population.  The photos around Paphos are here.

During the week we wander along the front at Paphos and have a drink in a few of the many bars.  However it is not until nearly the end of the week that we find that there is a further group of restaurants right along at the far end by the castle – we did not go that far initially.  Also in the bit of town close to us we have a look at some of the other hotels and apartments to investigate possibilities for future visits.  A number of these have not opened up yet for 2017 and at least one is being redecorated in readiness for the main season.  So in the full season the choice would be almost mind bending – we had difficulty choosing from the selection that was open!

Generally pleasantly warm it is only the end of March.  A nice rest and not too expensive.  1976 miles by air for the single journey, so in total over 4000 miles covered this week.  There are other sights and other places to go, so we may well return to Cyprus in the future.