Cyprus has to be one of my favourite places, despite only going the one time. I went Christmas 2009 with my friend Emma and we did the Thomson all-inclusive package, staying in a Riu branded hotel, with predominantly German residents. The weather was warm but not barmy-warm; with the hotel mere steps from the beach - not a great beach, being more rocks than sand, but empty during our stay.  Other hotels along the way were closed and it was off-peak, you could tell.  The Riu class of hotel left us our usual satisfied.  The adventure began as we flew into Cyprus, having to be diverted

from Pathos to Larnaca (the other side of the island) due to horrendous storms as the plane came in. This meant a coach trip along the coast to the hotel having many implications such as an extra 2-3 hours travel and upon arrival at the hotel, no food!

The interesting and shocking part was in the airport awaiting the coach. The wind rose so badly it blew in some glass doors and made my case rise to horizontal to the floor (which I was luckily holding by the extendable handle or else

it might have killed someone)

Anyway, recovering from the shock of experiencing this weird phenomenon, we boarded the bus in cyclonic winds and blistering rain and made the journey along the coast.

Luckily the rest of the time the sun shone.

Our hotel was pretty nice, but as we had stayed in the Riu chain we knew what to expect and weren’t disappointed.

As I said, the only problem was the lack of food on arrival.  The rest was sorted and was always a self-serve arrangement from buffet selections.

Entertainment was provided during the evening and there was a sort of Christmas atmosphere.

Some guests were staying for new year as well.  We were sat next to a couple from the UK in the dining room.

Pathos wasn’t that far and one time Emma walked along the beach. I stayed near the pool and did some “tai chi”, a.k.a. sunbathing.

We both ventured to town on the local bus-cum-coach.  While there we had a good look around and took a few photo shots, had a drink and did quite a bit of walking.

ABOVE AND LEFT: photo opportunities in and around the town including the ancient site “tomb of the kings” and the cannon.

RIGHT AND BELOW:  the hotel facilities and beach were quite nice and as it was off-peak, reasonably empty for the entire time.

Accessibility is excellent, paths and walkways level and paved.

BELOW: We went on a paid excursion to the north part of the island currently held by the Turkish, and we spent a lot of time at an ancient ruin to see the restorations being made and to walk around the site. I do remember thinking this would be a killer in the real summer heat, because it was quite hot in the winter heat of 22-26 Celsius!

Somehow I was volunteered (by Emma) for an appearance on stage with the entertainment staff doing something or other stupid. All I know is I was a little drunk and nearly didn’t make it down the steps and back to my seat.

It was an ABBA tribute act so Emma was like a pig in mud, right up her street!  She loves Abba and the Wurzels, go figure!

The island is divided (so-called) illegally and there is an actual border with armed guards.  The coach had to go through a check point to get to the ruins and the town where we stopped off.  I have ex-“karate students” who live in the north of Cyprus and are frequently in the UK even though their country is not recognised as such.

We were taken around the town of Varosha that was cut off and abandoned in the neutral zone and is now falling down. It is in the north-eastern part of Cyprus.  The port and the built up areas, which was the prosperous tourist district (photos above) are now in the occupied part of Cyprus.  The UK government do not recommend travel to the north except via the south (as we had done).

The fortifications overlooking the port are worth a look but by then, the heat had taken it’s toll and I was happy just to sit.



22/12/2009 Cyprus…