Cyprus: Day 2 (22/5/13)

Eventually, I got to sleep and woke up at about 8-ish. My throat had decided to give up on allowing me to speak and my chesty cough was in full effect. Apart from a brief dip in the pool, I’ve done no exercise since arriving. I’ve brought my running kit but don’t know yet if I’ll get to use it!!

Once D was up and about, we got ready to go down for breakfast. Before we left the room, I shut and locked the balcony windows……..at which point the air con sprang back into life!! Turns out, it turns off automatically when the windows are opened. Why did nobody mention this?? On the plus side, we’d saved ourselves an embarrassing conversation at reception….

Breakfast is a buffet affair. All the usual stuff was there – fruit, bread, cooked items. I opted for some scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with a piece of bread, a glass of orange juice and some tea. I also nabbed some fresh fruit to have for ‘lunch’. D & I are still being careful about what we eat and decided not to have a large meal at lunchtime, but instead save our appetite for the evening. 

After breakfast, we picked up some towels and headed for some sun loungers. This time, we opted to head for the small beach. There, they have double sun loungers. The beach is very small and sandy. The sand is black, so at first it looks like some sort of volcanic ash:

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I didn’t go for a swim but I paddled at the water’s edge. The water was clear and I could see it was very stony underfoot. A small pier (pictured above) jutted out, from which people occasionally hurled themselves into the water.

After my paddle, I wandered along a bit with the camera and took some pics. My eye was caught by a large, black plume of smoke rising in the distance and staining the clear, cobalt sky:

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It seemed obvious that something was very much on fire. Eventually, the smoke subsided, so I assumed that the emergency services had it under control. 

Wandering back along the path to the beach, I spotted a couple of places where some cheeky souls had left their mark long ago, in the the path’s wet cement:

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In a place that has a world heritage status archaeological park, I wonder how long these traces of human presence will remain….

Mid afternoon, we decided to get a bus into Paphos itself and wander around, eventually finding somewhere for dinner. Distance wise, it’s only a couple of miles into town and perfectly walkable, but my energy levels weren’t up to it, and the bus fare is cheap (€1 single fare). The buses (which are just like the single decker ones in the UK), terminate at the main station right in front of the harbour. From there, D and I walked along the harbour front towards the “castle” (an old fort). The area is lined with stalls selling all manner of tat (“sea sponges”, items of jewellery “with your name on”, copyright infringing toys, etc ….)

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… and then there are people selling trips on boats for sight-seeing/diving/fishing and the like.

We walked through a corridor of open fronted bars/cafes, each of which had someone outside, touting for business: “would you like to come and have a free drink?” said one, smart and obviously English young man (probably from Surrey). We said we were were just wandering through (and anyway, there was bound to be a catch to his “free” drink offer). 

We went as far as Paphos Castle. It’s actually a ruined fort but is one of the many recommended archaeological attractions. In September, it’s the venue for the Aphrodite Opera Festival and, on one side of the shallow moat, is some raked stone seating (to create an amphitheatre vibe):

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The Castle itself is an empty stone shell. You pay €1.70 (per adult) to get in. We climbed to the top for the view and then examined what was left of the inside, which isn’t that much.

After that, we wandered back through “bar alley” and out the other side. A short distance away was another major archaeological site. This time, it was the ruins of a 4th century Christian Basilica: Hrysopolitissa. It was one of Paphos’s largest religious structures:

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A raised walkway allows visitors to walk round and look at the remains of the stone pillars and mosaics. In one corner, perilously close to the car park, lies the spot where a former King of Denmark (who died on route to the Holy Land), was reputedly buried:

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By then, we were ready for a pre-dinner drink, so we headed back and stopped at a harbour front bar called Alea Lounge. It had shade, reasonably priced drinks and free WiFi (which I took advantage of to text my Dad):

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It was there that we learned of the horrific events back home in Woolwich. A terrible contrast to the enjoyment of our surroundings.

Dinner was at a guidebook & TripAdvisor recommended tavern called “Hondros“. The oldest tavern in Paphos, this year it’s celebrating it’s 60th anniversary. We dined outside under a canopy of vines:

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We ate too much. We shared two starters, roasted aubergines with some hummus and pitta bread (which was warm and fluffy). We were pretty stuffed before we’d even had our main courses! Since the souvla was still cooking (on an open spit), I had the kleftiko. It was delicious but I couldn’t finish it! We also had a bottle of the local white wine, “Thisbe”. The service was friendly and attentive and it was great value. 

The bus station was less than a minute’s walk away, so getting back to the hotel was easy. Having stuffed myself of food, I vowed to have nothing but fruit for breakfast the next morning….

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