Cyprus: Day 1 – Gatwick to Paphos

At 5.40am we surfaced from our night at the Gatwick HIlton and blearily dragged our cases and bodies the few minutes walk to the terminal building. The EasyJet check in queue snaked round, in lanes guided by the flimsy elasticated ‘fencing’. Every now and then, an EasyJet employee would yell out “Anyone travelling to…” and then the name of a destination. Some hands would shoot up and the lucky few would then be plucked, like competition winners, from the midst of the throng, and be herded towards the nearby available desks. The rest of us were left to look on with jealousy as we shuffled forward, like baggage carrying zombies, to close the gaps left by the recently departed.

Meanwhile, more destinations were being called out and Hamburg had more “last and final” calls than a Frank Sinatra farewell tour!

Eventually, we reached our first destination milestone – the front of the check in queue!

Check in didn’t take long and then it was on to security. There was an electronic gate asking for a barcode and I thought the barcode on my baggage sticker was what was required (it was the only one I could see). It took several goes, and the kind help of a total stranger, to point out to me that it wanted the printed barcode on the paper boarding pass! Nobody tells you these things!

Then it was the usual routine of shoving stuff through the x-ray and walking through the metal detector. D’s bag got taken to one side after they spotted something “unusual”. The “unusual” thing was the electric milk frother jug that D had decided to bring with him to make coffee in the room. It had to be routinely swabbed for “explosives” but the chap was nice about it and advised D to just remove the item from his carry on bag in future, and place it in full view in the plastic tray for x-ray. Point duly taken!

The 4hr flight was full and uneventful though my British sense of patience was tested early on when I could see that the woman in front of me was still texting, Facebooking and tweeting on her phone, long after we’d been told to switch off our electronic devices! My internal debate raged over whether to say something to her until finally, she turned it off, but only literally when the pilot was about to put his foot down for take off!!

Anyway, despite her best efforts at potential sabotage, we landed safely in Paphos (or, if you prefer, Pafos).

The first thing to greet us off the plane was the heat but, although it was in the mid-high 20s centigrade, it wasn’t humid. Just nice, in fact.

Baggage reclaim thankfully didn’t take long and then it was out to meet “Rocky” our pre-booked driver who was to take us to our hotel.

We found out about Rocky via various reviews on TripAdvisor. Lots of people recommended his services and one reviewer said they’d named their cat after him (a fact by which Rocky was most amused when we told him – though he said he’d have preferred it to have been a dog)!

Rocky actually hails originally from North London (Tottenham), and was brought up in the English county of Essex. He’s what we (in the UK) would call, a proper “geezer“. His cab was nicely air conditioned and during our 20min trip to the hotel, he explained lots about the local area and said we should call him if we ever needed any information. He & D also chatted about the woes of Tottenham Hotspur football club for a bit.

As we sped along the (not so well kept) roads, there were obvious signs of the current economic turmoil. Lots of empty or incomplete property developments lined the way like sorry monuments to economic fortune. I didn’t ask about these and Rocky made no comment.

On arrival at the Elysium hotel, Rocky had to go in search of a porter: “Usually, they come runnin’ out!” he said and went off in search. Eventually Rocky located his prey, and a uniformed man came walking out meekly behind him, like a naughty schoolboy, and duly collected our bags.

After checking in, we were encouraged to sit and have our complimentary welcome drinks (some sort of fruit cordial, I think), before being shown to our room:

Image

This isn’t peak season for the hotel and it showed, as the place was almost deserted. On the plus side, that did mean more chance of getting a sun lounger in the shade!!

Our room had a balcony and sea view although we were slightly disappointed that our “double” bed was just two single beds pushed together. We thought, briefly, about asking to change rooms (I’m sure we could have had our pick) but in the end, our “Britishness” won out and we decided it was all fine after all.

We reserved a table for dinner at one of the hotel’s many restaurants, and then D popped out to the shop to buy some milk. No, you read that right. D went to the local store to buy some “nice” milk to keep in our room for teas and coffees (even though you’re not supposed to keep your own stuff in the room’s mini-bar fridge). Should the milk be removed, D declared that he’d simply buy more and therefore, if necessary, have a dairy based “war of attrition”. To try and placate matters, he went to the effort of using Google Translate to write a polite note, in Greek, asking that the milk be left alone and explaining why it was there.

Meanwhile, I got changed and headed down to the pool, bagged a couple of sun loungers, ordered a bottle of water from the roaming bar waiter, and settled down in the sun.

ImageLater, when D arrived, I christened by new swimming costume and goggles in the pool while D called his Mum on Skype (the WiFi here extends poolside).

Eventually, we went for dinner at the hotel’s Mediterraneo restaurant. We ate under the stars. It was lovely.

Later, back in our room, we noticed that the carpet by our bathroom was damp and, on further inspection, realised that water was dripping from the ceiling and down one of the walls! D called reception and they sent someone up with some tools and a ladder to take a look. It was the air con at fault and, after a few minutes of tinkering in the roof space, the chap left. Then we realised that our air con had stopped working……

We thought about calling reception again, but by then it was late and we were both tired. However, we resolved that in the morning, we’d tell reception either to get our air con fixed, or move us to another room!

It was a very warm night and we slept with our balcony windows open. My sore throat (I’d left the UK with a cold), seemed to be getting worse and my mood was doing the same as I lay awake in the small hours. At 3am, some local cats even decided to have a bit of a rumble in the courtyard below. Great…

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