Holidays at Cyprus 17.4.-1.5.2006


In fact there was no planning at all. Except that we had organized a "Training Camp" for our dog Otto (Beagle). That means that we did accommodate him for a weekend at a friendly dog pension. The owner is a dog expert himself and knows a lot about the education of nasty dogs contrary to our own skills. So the dogs are held in a prisonlike cellar kennel (Zwinger) and this is another thing but to snore on the sofa all the day.
In short: the experiment was successful and so we can plan for a shared holiday together - after years.

After we made a date for the journey we hurry to the travel agency. We think about Dalmatia or Croatia or something like that. But this will not work because there is no season yet and moreover no flight available. We are told that it is still cold at those areas and we are not willing to freeze any longer after a long winter with three months permanent frost or frust. So we must think about "Something like that".

So our experienced Mr. Mueller dives into his computer screen and soon offers a stay at the island of Cyprus, perhaps at the spa resort Agia Napa owning the finest beach of the area. Within minutes we are booked for the Hotel Limanaki Beach just there. Let us talk about the price: it's 664 EURO per person for two weeks including the flight and half pension with breakfast and dinner buffet, a room with a balcony and the view to the Mediterranian Sea is guaranteed. Back at home we immediately must ask the internet for more information. So we learn that Cyprus is a sovereign nation but seperated by a nasty border into the "free" southern and northern part controlled by the Turks. There is a special currency, the Cyprus Pound which is about 2 EURO. The traffic moves on the left side in memory of the era as Cyprus was a British Colony. We also remember the former head Archbishop Makarios with his full beard and a funny bishop hat.

The informations about the village Agia Napa are not so promising. It may be loud and crowded with youngsters in the main season, but tell us a place where you will not have those pleasures during the peak period. But now during April there will be no problems but may be a fine weather will wait for us. So we are very hopeful as it is to be read, that there is merely no rain at all.

At the beginning of our journey we enjoy some excitements. We have purchased a shuttle service to the airport of Hannover which costs less than the fee for the parking lot for a fortnight just there and may be less than the fuel charge of our son-in-law according to his thursty BMW if he would do the job. And it is in the middle of the night, our alarm clock controlled by signals from the universe or Albert Einstein's tomb (see below) is programmed to 0.45 am. It really works, but - nobody is perfect - we dare to put one ear or another back into the pillows. So ten minutes before the arrival of the shuttle we scare up, dress and switch on all enlightments around the house like the warden of a lighthouse. Everything is just in time, the van comes along and we throw our trunks, suitcases or rucksacks into it and finally sit on the back seats, nearly still  sleeping. Did I got my power supply for the laptop?  I cannot remember, but Heidi got the sandwiches.

Of course I can tell you where the signals for any radio controlled clocks come from. There is the PTB (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt) at our hometown Braunschweig. They run an extremely accurate atomic clockwork and send the exact time signals all over Europe.

So we arrive at the airport and can check in immediately. Thereafter we can dooze for two boring and useless hours. At last the dispatch of the hand luggage and the tickets for the flight starts. Heidi has no problems at the x-ray machinery because she even resigned to bunker nail scissors or nail files. The problem is my rucksack. There is the laptop (with power supply - so you can be sedated) but this is OK. The Swiss pocket knife is the trouble, it is a danger for the pilot, personal, passengers, and the aeroplane at all. Fortunately we have an additional bag, can put the knife into it and send it as usual baggage out of reach during the flight.

After all this trouble the flight is quite normal with breakfast and tomato juice, a view to the Greek Olymp, the islands of Lesbos and Kos and the Turkish coast. The airport of Cyprus is at Larnaca, it looks somewhat deserted around there as usual near any airport. We are forwarded to Bus 24 which will shuttle us to our destination. A kind woman from Holland welcomes the guests, though her name is not "Antje" but "Diana". The list of the passengers is checked and after all have cried their "Here we are" the result is that no one got lost. So we can start and set the time of the wristwatch to one hour later, not to be a back number.

Hotel Limanaki Beach

We are condemned to a hotel at Agia Napa just aside the harbour. This hotel has only 3 storeys and so is not such a monster building disfiguring the town or any region. So as we were on the route where now or then some tourists left the bus we saw this or that of those tourist machines and have thought better not to be buried around there. But it is quite normal that every guest is proud of his special choice and thinks to have had the best hotel of all. So the first view from our balcony is breathtaking. At one of the next days I will produce a panorama photo - look at that! The picture of the night view is somewhat dull, may be in consequence of the consume of a 1L Tetra Pack of red vine.

From our seats we just look ahead to Kap Greko at the end of the wide swinging bay. This headland is one of the south-west pikes of the island. Behind the outskirts of the village the local authorities could not resign to build some luxury hotels with 5 storeys and 5 stars. Our hotel has 3 stars only but this is OK because from our balcony we have a view to the stars at the sky and not to the 5 stars hotels.

Our first friendship starts around midnight with the neighboured balcony resp. a nice couple from Leipzig who just have arrived. They are very thirsty and got nothing to drink. Unfortunately our Tetra Pack with red vine is empty already but we still own a bottle of fruit juice from our ALDI shop at home. So thereafter we will have a nice contact during the following week and will tell each other what kinds of undertakings are announced. To speak about us: there is not so much activity, we feel very lazy may be caused by the fine weather. Our friends from Leipzig will stay for one week only, so they are not allowed to be too lazy. But with the fortune of Email- and Internet-connections we will stay to keep contact, exchange pictures or so. Back at home I immediately found a birthday congratulation which wireless flew up our stairway on to my screen.

Let us assemble around the Swimming Pool now. This is the nicest place to be lazy in the sun. You can look for a shady place under a fan palm or a common parasol. To the beach you will walk one minute in swim suits. The divans over there cost 1.25 C.P. the day and you will enjoy some more winds. Let us do this walk two or three times and than be as courageous to dive into the salty waves. The beach-stretch is about 1 km in a wide bow beneath the super hotels mentioned before. Behind all this there is a rocky cliff coast and we can promise that we will inspect this area some time later.

During all the day at the pool you can jump in the water and read, read, and read. And if you try to find a new book, you should look for it in the reception hall. There is a cupboard not with cups in it but with books and journals that others have deposited there. Once a neighbour at the pool offered a journal to us, that we had disposed there ourselves. On the other side most of the lost books are in Swedish language. Seems to be a keen reading folk. But Heidi finds a murder thriller in German and is not addressable two days long. But we have forgotten the title of the book. My favourite is Bill Bryson: "Down Under" or "A Walk in the Woods", and these books were a gift to my birthday from my daughter Verena in England. So I mostly stay in another world: Australia or the Appalchian Trail. Of course we would prefer a more historic literature about the island of Cyprus. Finally we learn from a pool neighbour named Bruno that there is a fine book of Lawrence Durrell: "Bitter Lemmons", but this is not available in any book shop where you instead will find Uta Danella, Heinz G. Konsalik, Kenn Follett or at last Dan Brown.

Let us talk about the supper buffet which starts at 7 pm. At first there is a splendid soup of asparagus, chicken, vegetables, or carrots. We then inspect the salad section with zaziki, goat cheese, tuna salad, tomatoes and olives. Somewhat more adventurous are some small intact octopusses with tentacles and suckers, or various mussels, or pink coloured shrimps - think about it. The warm dishes are sometimes a bit indefinable. So we take a heap of rice and put something else over it to be surprised, what's about it. We were never really disappointed.

Ii in the evening the air is warm enough we sit on the balcony and enjoy the view to the sea in the dark, which comes exactly at 8 pm - the dark. There is not so much to be seen of the sea but of the lanterns all around. And if you hear the whooshing sound it may come of a nearby aggregate on the roof for the kitchen or so. But accurately at 10.30 pm this sound ends and then you can enjoy a heavenly silence. Meanwhile there is the one or another visitor of a neighboured bar or restaurant stumbling home, sometimes just along the edge of the swimming pool, but until now no one fell into it - unfortunately!

A Walk at Agia Napa

Since we arrived on Easter Monday at about noon, of course we did not immediately enter the pool but started for a walk in this town. May be in some respects the tourist resorts all over the world look in a similar way. You are sure to find a Mac Donald's, a Pizza Hut and other Global Players. And the price level is extraordinary. If you like to enjoy a Boat-Para-Kite-Glidingfly or so you have to pay about 100 EURo, and Speedgliding, High-Mast-Bungee, Giant Wheel or Glass-Bottom-Boat are worth to have a thorough view into your purse. We (or I?) are interested in the costs for the beer - the prevailing beer is named KEO and brewed in the town of Limassol. The other beers are Heineken or Tuborg and so on. We soon find out that 1/2 L Beer is nearly as expensive as 1 L vine (2 EURo), which is presented in paper bags named Tetra Pack. So may be you convert from a beer-consumer to a friend of some ordinary vine. We are sorry to tell that we are not able to decant the vine properly, because we have no adequate carafe with us. So we will have to decant the vine into the toothbrush glasses and be curious about the short time until those glasses are empty again.

Sorry - I think we had started for a walk. After those inspections of supermarkets and souvenir shops we finally stumble around the old monastery. There is a very old tree, they tell this to be around 600 years old. On a signpost you can read various names of the  kind of the tree and let us agree to the name Fig Sycamore. The inner courtyard of the cloister presents nice flowers and plants and a shadowed arcade. When you enter the next street up the hill you will understand, why this monastery is not used any longer. It would be too noisy around here. For now you find lots of Beer Bars, Discos and adventurous restaurants, all decorated by imaginative fassades made of gypsum or foamed plastic.

One is named Jurassic Bar and framed by life-sized mockups of dinosaurs. Somewhat macabre or impious is the decoration of the Titanic Club. They have had the idea to make a model of the Titanic catastrophe formed by the fassade of the oceanliner and the iceberg which just rips the body of the ship. Did anyone remember the victims of this catastrophe about a century ago? Moreover the drinking and chanting masses will in no way think about the matter. At the moment there is no season and they paint or pave or level out all around. When the season will start here we will sit on our terrace at home again and enjoy the sun with our dog Otto - and this will be a good thing.

A Bus Tour to Paralimni

As usual at the second day of the holiday the travel operator invites the newcomers to an information hour. If you have not learned, that we are real fools sometimes: learn it now! For we sit down among a tourist group in the reception hall and await the curious things that should follow. After lots of hard consonants around us we finally realize that we have joined a Russian tourist group. At the reception desk they tell us that the German event is down in the cellar at the seminar room.

This time we don't get any fresh squeezed orange juice or so and the instructor is named Marc. May be he is new in the business because he is somewhat nervous with some drops of sweat on his brow. I think we can suppose that this task may be not the dreamjob as it is argued because a great deal of the mission is to deal with reclamations and discontented guests and after the work is done he may feel like an old doormat. So to delight the matter we purchase a round trip on the island for the next Tuesday. And as we fill out the form we find out that next Tuesday there will just be my birthday! But we have to wait one long week for it.

Today we continue to look for a bus station where no one of the crowds knows which bus will go in any direction and more less at what time. When a bus - riding on the left side of course - comes along, all waiting guests change over the road to realize that just this bus will not go to the desired destination. But nearly one hour later we got the right bus and enjoy the adventurous driving style of the driver who cheers for everyone known to him along the route and so he often is forced to use the brakes apruptly because he has forgotten to take care of the oncoming traffic. Besides that we pass the tourist area Potaras where they have built as many hotels as possible which do not look rather good but have fine names like Golden Coast, Silver Sands and so on.

The village of Paralimni where we finally arrive is not so attractive - sorry. May be we have missed the right scene so let us take a foto of the central market with an old and a new church. In the streets we find aseptic shops offering jewelry, textiles, leather products, Fuji Film and  a Dream-World with kitschy toys for children. But we have our fun as a nearby takeaway booth sends clouds of smoke from inside and soon some people run out with steaming overheated tubs. May be the Döner Kebab has turned out badly.

Finally we are glad that the bus for the return comes up in time. This time the bus seems to suffer of broken shock absorbers and we sit just above the rear axis. And when the bus jumps over one of those numerous traffic calming ramps everyone inside the bus nearly flies to the ceiling. There are many cries of joy around and we all save the costs for the expensive bungee attraction in town. As some guests leave the bus at the tourist desert Potaras we murmur for ourselves: "A nice place for you - have a good time". And so at the end we find the outlining slogan: If we had resigned to make this tour, we would have thought to have missed something. After we made it we know that we would not to have missed so much.

Nissi Beach

Before we disappear for this or that Cappuccino at the pool for ever let us talk about another undertaking. We could walk along the coast in western direction and so we do. There is a comfortable paved path with the promising name E4 - and the E stands for European Hike Trail. Naturally we will not see so much of Europe this day. At first we must try to use the correct side of the path when someone comes from ahead. As a proper globetrotter I prefer the left side - but Heidi is used to go on the right side and will not abstain from this practise. So when an Englishman comes along (he walks on the left side), Heidi must jump off the path. If there are German, Scandinavian or Russian walkers (they walk on the right side) it is my turn to give way. So we always have difficulties to cross a road for we are insecure from what direction a vehicle could approach. The worst thing is to be caught in the center of a roundabout: you nearly get vertiginous there.

But now we are on a foot path and come along more or less scenic hotels, clubs and estates. At many places they present a pretty vegetation and colourful flowers. At last we end at a little headland and there is a small hut behind some bushes where you can have a drink or coffee if you follow the inviting "Hello". Above this place there are two peculiar cavities similar to former quarries. But there are stairs in the rocks and on the map is to be read: Necropolis of the Hellenistic and Roman Period. So let us enjoy this and take some fotos before we return.

Later we got some brochures from the Tourist Information (all costfree). There we find some informations about the Makronissos Graves, an antique cemetery or so. But these should be some distance ahead - so we do not know what we have seen exactly...

On the way back we surround a big bungalow resort with a fine but not remembered name ending with ...village. We are glad to find a supermarket there, so we can buy a bottle of limonade and another Tetra Pack for the evening. So with a well filled rucksack we stroll back along the main street which is not so romantic. At last a special urgency comes up and the salvation comes with the Mac Donald's institution where you can find a "Ladies and Gents". May be we return to this place another day when the metabolic reactions after breakfast have not come to their end.

Let us include that the breakfast is available in "Full English" with beans, bacon, susages and fried eggs. But we did not consume any beans - may be the yoghurt was the reason for those metabolic curiosities.

To end the informations about Nissi Beach: there is a small island which you can reach by foot. The music shall be somewhat loud there - so they told us. And there is the elegant hotel Nissi Beach with 5 stars, marble halls, a splendid park and the dinner buffets in an international style like Mexican or Asiatic - so they told us. And another hotel shall be occupied by 90% Russian guests - so they told us.

Lazy Days

We have mentioned already that we are indeed very lazy people. So this time we cannot present any cycle tour, in spite of that Heidi once had the urge to rent bikes around the next corner which would work for an acceptable price. But once bedded on the sunlounger at the pool I am not able to arise again.

So let us talk about the pool. In the morning the sunloungers are all free, the annoying reservations by bath towels before breakfast is not common hereabout and so it is not necessary. Before you enjoy the sun you should use a good suntan and then wait for 30 minutes, so it is to be read on the wrapping. After "Would you creme my backside?" we can only await 5 minutes, then we leave our room and go down to look for a proper sun shade or fan palm. If available you choose the place of the day before: then you feel quite at home. Than we watch the balcony of our room until the cleaning ladies have done their work. And when the curtains are closed from inside we know: we can solve our metabolic problems discreetly. Of course there is another toilet downstairs for emergency operations.

Then we read for a while. Heidi chases some murderers, I am "Down Under" or on the Appalachian Trail. Now and then we must jump in the waters and be careful not to scratch with the knees on the flat ground while swimming. Until the early afternoon there are only few guests around, may be the sun is too strong? But we got no sunburn at all because we mostly prefer the shade. "You are so brown, that looks like artificial!" Serafina once says to us. About Serafina let us talk later.

After 3pm the sun is not so hot yet and this or that woodlouse (Kellerassel) come along. It seems that they do not master the driver license for the wheeled sunloungers because there is much noise until they have arranged everything for the right position concerning the position of the sun or group-dynamical aspects. Thereafter they all fall asleep or have a conversation. My dear wife loves to listen to neighboured discussions and so once I am obliged to ask her: "Shall I better stake your chin?".

As some readers have critisized that we like to make fun of other people's behaviour we now start with the following mysterium: it sometimes happens to us or other people that at a sneeze or cough another unwilling noise from the other bodyside comes out. And now we introduce a gentleman of the Anglistic sphere whose nickname could be Kinkong or Buddha. In spite of his swelling body characteristics he is deeply brown and really able to sit on a narrow bar chair for one or more pints of beer. Or he is on the move somewhere. Then - may be - a phone call from the universe or the Anglistic sphere may melodically activate any mobile around his spouse must regret: "Charly is not here, he is in the pub!".

Excuse me for a moment, I just have to tie up the lower jaw of my wife again.

Special Evenings

At Friday and Saturday - so twice the week we have some special events in the hotel restaurant. On Friday it is named "Cyprus Nights". They rearrange tables and chairs to be able to welcome a full house. In the garden there is a barbecue and since the afternoon they roast delicious meat on a spit. As usual we are in time at 7 pm awaiting our dinner. This time we have to wait for a while but are promised to have a better buffet than ever before. And we are ensured that this special offer is fully included in the half-board contract.

Let us talk about the chief cook with his white and high cooking hat who likes to look if everything is alright. So he shuffles around and it may happen, that you just resign to consume a so called Kalamares Goulasz where you can admire full grown tentacles and suckers altogether. And if you feel your stomache turning our chief cook shuffles contentedly along peering for other observations.

So let us now introduce Serafina. She is extraordinary by her energetic and stamping style to walk around, and occasionly she speaks in German language. And if you ask her what's about it, she will harshly give the answer: "I am from Austria, but you cannot see it from my beauty". And if you reply "But it is to be heard by your dialect" this would not be so very chivalrous - may be. This is Serafina, and someone told us, that she lived on this island since 20 years and meanwhile has a couple of grandchildren. If you ask her for the kind of fish which the fishermen bring along, she will give the answer: "Those are all Cyprus fishes, but sometimes there is an Octopus, as large as from the floor to the tip of the chin". So we are always delighted when Serafina is on duty. Another employee is a woman of Sweden to present an appropriate service for the guests from Scandinavia.

Let us return to the buffet. If you dismantle any fish you will not guess what kind of fish this would be, may be one of the Cypriotic, as Serafina proposed. But it is delicious. But the Octopusses resp. Kalamaris are more like a sort of gum. Meanwhile there are 4 persons clothed by traditional costumes who walk to and fro or around each other attended by a special Sirtaki music or so. At last the two maidens with headscarf and a clay jug on their shoulders swing their hips according to any Buzouki music or so and this looks really like Greek folklore or whatever you may imagine.

The next performance is more special - may be a characteristic custom of the Cypriots? One of the boys now starts to pile up filled ouzo glasses on the top of his head. At last he accomplishes to carry more than ten alarmingly toddling glasses up above. Meanwhile someone of the audience is animated to do the same and they manage to carry three or four glasses. But the show is upstaged by an older very gentle gentleman from Russia who stands up wih his beer glass on his bare head and at once there is a great applause and the cameras do their work. His wife is in spirit as well and shakes "Give mi Five" with her neighbours and sings "Ras Dwa Tri" ore more multi lingual "One Two Three".

As the polonaise hard along the edge of the swimming pool starts we at last have paid our beer and watch the presentation from a secure distance at our balcony decanting our red vine out of the Tetra Pack. So you may realize: we are real grumblers.

The second special evening is at Sunday. A good singer presents Greek songs which are mostly unknown to us and are nice to listen. After we and the other guests have finished their dinner we listen from our balcony again and now we hear songs of West Virginia, Rivers of Babylon, My Delilah, we twist again or sing Obladi Oblada with Desmond and Molly Joe.

The Island Tour

Certainly, this tour is not quite cheap, about 66 EUR p.P. But what to do if you are just here and don't forget, it is my birthday today. At 7.70 am the bus comes along and two other couples of our hotel come with us. The first hour of the tour is not so enjoyable because the other guests must be collected from the various hotels on the way to Larnaca. But we still wait for the tour guide and at last we may be near enough to her home at Larnaca and a kind woman comes in, so we learn that the bus driver is Kyriakos and her name is Eva.

At first we go north and soon will reach the last divided metropolis of the world: Nikosia resp. Levkosia. As we pass the fertile Mesaoria Plane with red and mineral bearing earth we learn a lot about the population of Cyprus. They seem to be amazingly wealthy what is underlined by statistics about the gross national product, the number of unemployed people, lodging charges and finally the average income. Excuse me that I cannot name the numbers, those are to be read elsewhere. They are all related to the "free" part of the island. As well we cannot present the whole older and younger diversified history of this island. The actual situation is, that the Englishmen have released the nation from its function as colony of the Common Wealth in 1960 and thereafter for security will stay over 100 years in some military bases. These will then end in the year 2060. "When the Englishmen then will have left the island we should have a celebration" some greyhaired folks joke.

Other topic: the island is to present itself again a daily as wooded as possible. In addition in the dry and rocky regions terraces are put on and cultivated there Zypressen or Aleppo Kiefern. Some are to probably strike roots. If the island more water had, it would be a Paradies - it means. That can quite introduce oneself one. If one would not have to build so much wood since the antique one in the Mediterranean area struck around thereby Galeeren and lead important wars, the Paradies would be today perhaps quite still present.

Another topic: at some day the island should present itself as a forested paradise again. So in the dry and rocky regions terraces are built and they plant Cypress or Aleppo Pine colonies. May be this or that of the poor little trees will get roots. If the island would have more waters it really would be a paradise. If during the Roman era and later the medieval ages they would not have destroyed the expanded forest regions to build galleys or support important war activities we still would have the paradise today.

Meanwhile we arrive at Nikosia. From the bus we see beautiful so called orchid trees and fields of nice snapdragons (Löwenmäulchen). We leave the bus for one hour and we all march in lockstep downtown to enter a department store which is the highest building around. On the top there is a cafeteria and we have a beautiful view up there. Down on the ground again we head to the exasperating frontier of this divided town. This may be controlled by the military of South Cyprus, North Cyprus, the Turks, The Englishmen and the blue helmet delegations of the UNO and moreover the Greeks? May be the main work is to control each other. Any photographic activities are strictly forbidden though sandsack barriers with loopholes (Schiessscharte) in any backyard would be a proper motive. I cannot avoid to get a white-blue striped border cabin on one of the pictures (it is hard to be seen anyway - just aside the white van).

The lanes of the city of Lefkosia (the Greek name) do not present the usual Mediterranian flair. May be we have strolled along the wrong regions. So the ladies (Heidi and Rosemarie) cannot resign to buy some shoes in a shop around the corner. Meanwhile I enter a chapel around another corner but it is not recommended to go inside with short pants. May be there were lots of candelabra (Kronleuchter), icons and candles, which one can buy here as elewhere for one's own salvation.

At last we find some peculiar fruits from a special tree, they name it Bell Tree (Paulownia Tomentosa, Empress Tree, Princess Tree or Foxglove Tree, Glockenbaum). These hulls are very decorative for any flower arrangement and the plastic bags from the shoe shop soon are filled with this stuff instead. And so we return to the bus in last-minute, they are waiting already. But we are in time corresponding to the wrist watch.

We now continue along other fertile areas where the local farmfolks have a good living. The villages (Akaki, Peristerona or Astromeritis) are clean and pretty but not so romantic because the most buildings are newly built. It is a strange thing that our kind of romantic mostly is to be found around areas where the population is more poor and not able to arrange everything properly. So we finally stop at the village named Kakopetria.

At this village they have successed not to renew every building and property but to let the old village lane in its original state. And soon the tourist masses come along to take a view, a walk and spend some money there in a shop, restaurant or elsewhere. Unfortunately my wife has to examine the just bought new shoes and so fails to climb up the little hill to the center of the village. So I hurry along the village lane to take some photos and get some impressions. It is really picturesque.

Because I was so in hurry we are not the last ones this time at the bus. Some other persons seem to have got lost anywhere in the Troodos mountains or in the toilets nearby. As they finally appear at the horizon the driver of the bus got lost, because he has gone to look for the missing guests. At last we are all together again and somewhat out of time.

The next station is a restaurant in the Troodos Mountains (mentioned above). Here they will present a fine dinner, and this is the traditional Meze Meal, a special characteristic kind of food at Cyprus. Our leader Eva specifies the various components of the meal and I now will try to list them up (with intensive use of the dictionary).

The Meze meal is a tradtional Cypriotic meal and they try to combine as many as possible typical Cypriotic foods in small portions. So there are: salad, tomatoes with dressing, tzaziki, a soup of shrimps, olives, baked goat cheese, spinach omelett, grilled chicken, this or that unknown fish, millet pie, sausages, a kind of goulash, pork from the barbecue and finally as dessert thin slices of oranges. And all the time red vine and the decanters(!) are soon empty. At the end is a special liquor is presented named Zivania with 45% Alc.

At any time I remember my birthday and with a filled glas I invite all neighbours at the table to call me Martin and moreover we get friends to our Hotel Limanaki companions Rosemarie and Hans. Of course we will not meet again the other guests with various coloured All Inclusive amuletts from the other hotels.

As we finally get out in the open air again, generating various sounds like "Oops" or so, we can admire a colony of nearly a hundred swallow nests up above under the roof. I success to take a photo of some flying swallows as well as of our new friends Rosemarie and Hans who live in the area of Heidelberg.

Back in the bus on the ride over the mountains (mentioned above) it is hard to follow the enumeration of the manifold of forest species around this area. Let us summarize this matter as mixed forest. At last we find our face gliding down the window pane. But then you must be awake as the name Olymp comes by. But this is not the devine mountain of Greece but hereabout the highest mountain as well with 6000 ft (2000 m). The top of it is characterized by a white spherical building with a radar station in it. This may be important to ensure any universal peace.

The penultimate destination is a village which is said to be the most beautiful of Cyprus. It is named Omodos and naturally there is a large parking site for the tourist busses. We walk to the nice central place with souvenir shops, restaurants and a cloister. We choose different attractions, the women stroll around the shops and finally Heidi buys a little crochet umbrella for our granddaughter Pauline (13 months). Meanwhile I surround the monastery and have a glance inside the chapel with golden icons etc. again. On the backside of the building there is an adventurous toilet and we can be happy not to be forced to use it now.

But there are some other highlights: the old wooden vine sqeezing machine and the Sokrates house. We success to find them and take some photos. Then the time is over and we can say, that this kind of tourism is rather superficially. The real attractions may be found where no tourist busses come along. May be it would be better to cycle around in such country or so...

Back in the bus we hear a joke from Eva to prevent that erverybody falls asleep again. The joke is:

The Grandpa sends his grandson to the pharmacy to buy some Viagra and spends a Cypr. pound as gratification. The grandson does his work satisfactorily. The next day the grandson comes again to his grandfather and shows 3 pounds which should be added to his bankbook. "From where did you get the other two pounds?" the grandpa asks. "These are from the grandma!" is the answer.

After we have laughed enough we are nearly at the last station for today. This is an antique archeologic excavation named Apollon Ylatis. They tell us this and that and gradually we learn in which of the ruins there was the cold, the warm and the hot room of a Roman bath institution, a kind of ancient sauna. We talk to another older couple who wearily sit on a wall. The man suffers from his spinal discs (Bandscheibe) as he willingly declares. They have seen so much of the world from Minos to Yucatan, so they are not so impressed. We cannot keep up with this matter, only murmur Festos or something like that.

We then return along the promenade of Limassol but can only see it out of the windows of the bus. We better figure out, if we are in time for the supper and for a tetra pack red vine from the shop. We are in time and finally sit on the balcony until Heidi is soon tired and then produces sounds like the swoosh of the sea out of the back of the room. My birthday is over and I sum up my birthday gifts which are not tie and stockings but some books of Bill Bryson, two secateurs (Gartenschere) and two shirts from Quelle of Kingkong size and so will have to be sent back.

A Walk to Cape Gkreko

From Agia Napa the walk to this south eastern headland of Cyprus is obligatory. The cape is to be seen from our balcony and thence a great challenge. Rosemarie and Hans will go with us, they have been there already one week ago by bicycle until they had to return in front of military barrier. Some other fellows tell us, that we better use solid footwear after they had met a hissing snake, three feet long, on their route.

So we start full of expectation and will have to walk about 8 km, the way back can be done by the bus. At first we trail around the luxury 5 stars hotels and surround this or that comfortable swimming pool. At the beach there is a group of paddlers who just prepare themselves for their tour by some gymnastics. Thereafter we stroll along a comfortable stepping stone path which was built in the last years which is to be seen by some inscriptions of Jenny and Jim, August 2005. On both sides of the route there is a beautiful vegetation, as to say the common morning glory (Winde) and others. We are now upside of a rocky cliff coast, which is named The Palaces. The sea has formed bizarre sculptures out of the rocks and it is to be read in the information brochure, that this is not done by any architect or so. We didn't await this anyway. There are some caves made open by the sea and the dripstone rests look like organ pipes.

We come to a parking lot with some benches. These are at this place because there is a hole in the cliff rocks, which is a sensation at any such place of the world. Remember the Foradada at Mallorca. So we find a nice place for a rest and some pictures. From here there are a couple of paths up to the cape. As we just twinkle up there a greater lizard runs towards the next bush. I just can throw my camera towards the animal to get a picture. But the characteristic head is nearly hidden already. The lizard is about 2 ft. long and has circular spikes and coloured stripes around its body. Recently we have found out that this perhaps was any kind of an Agama lizard. We never heard of such a species before.

At the next bend there it is: the snake. But at once it disappears in the bush, so we cannot present a photo. Now there are still different routes and the other companions choose the direct path while I turn right to inspect a strange twinkling metal sphere nearby. The sphere rotates by the wind and its purpose is to spend fresh air for a - guess it - open toilet or better latrine with only a hole at the floor and no front door. But you will have an excellent view out of there!

The Cape Gkreko is 60 m high and there is a pretty view around this part of the island. Not so nice are the military arrangements nearby. There are some high antenna towers and we wonder what kind of highly important messages could be transmitted day by day. Of course it is strictly forbidden to take any photo. But this is allowed by a little colourful lizard which enjoys the sun as we do.

Finally we walk down to the bus stop, have to wait for 30 minutes for the bus and so have a nice snack and some drinks at a red van of a clever business man. "This is our 5 star hotel" we say. At last  we return to our hotel by the bus within 10 minutes. May be you can imagine that this walk had various sensations concerning the landscape, the plants, flowers, and animals. Can you imagine that the greatest sensation is now awaiting us just aside the pool of the hotel?

And there it is: the greatest insect we have ever seen is strolling along by lazy movements and so easily can be shot by the camera. This is really a Praying Mantis (Gottesanbeterin). This kind of species is famous for a special bad habit to eat up its male partner after the coitus. A fine dessert - may be. Now after a while of two steps forward and one step back she finally reaches the stem of a nearby palm tree and now climbs pull up by pull up. We know that a colony of spadows lives up there and may be they are delighted about a fine dessert themselves? But we cannot tell more details of the history, the nature must do its task. Of course we talk about this matter to our other pool companions and those cannot help to stare up this palm tree for the rest of the day.

A Story from the Past

We start with the present time or the recent years. There were someone who got our tour reports over years for Christmas. These were my aunt Otti and uncle Walter living at Lübeck. To my birthday I regularly got a nice letter and their enthusiastic critics about the reports, they are a journey from the armchair for them. Let us return to Cyprus and I just talk with a gentleman named Bruno W. at the next sun lounger. He was born at Danzig and now lives at Travemünde near Lübeck. We talk about the characteristics and analogy of the old Hanseatic towns Danzig, Lübeck or Stralsund. The conversation now turns to get sensational.

As my wife comes back out of the pool I can tell her a riddle tale (Rätselgeschichte):

There once were German soldiers in Russian war captivity. Their daily work was to organize the transport of heavy tree trunks by those Panje carts. One of the soldiers was a teacher in mathematics and especially knew something about geometry. He was able to reverse the problem of the dense package, in this case to get a maximum of free space between the trunks on the cart. So the work was easier and the cart not so heavy.

"A nd now find out who this soldier was" I ask Heidi. No idea of course. As I spoke to Bruno W. I mentioned my uncle Walter Manegold at Lübeck and Bruno W. cried out: "That was my teacher many years ago!! Quarta, Tertia, Obertertia at the Johanneum!" Mathematics and geography and then he told the story of the Russian trunk work - this was told in the lessons to have some fun aside the dry school subjects.

Now I must continue, that we met our uncle within this year for the last time and he told us, that he never was a Russian  prisoner - but the story is so nice anyway. And I must tell you, that our uncle died this year after a last enjoyable voyage to the island of Rügen. And he had reached a devine age - guess - of 96 years.

Animals and Plants

Of course we have met some animals of the island already. We see nearly no dogs and don't know why. But cats are available and Heidi is delighted about it. I always murmur behind my book (if we are at the pool) "Hopefully they have no fleas". Then we got known to two fellows who are pelicanes and live behind a wooden fence. But you better get not too near to their swordlike peckers (Schnabel). If they just swallow a fish by their huge throat bag you may imagine that you better not be inside there.

There is a sad story of a little spadow sqeaker which sits and tschilps helpless on the hotel floor. May be the parents will find it but the blueshirted cleaning squad (Putzkolonne) is on the run. And may be those are not so amicable.

Once we see a couple of magpies (Elster) on a balcony. One of them has to do the lookout and the other flies away with a little shiny object in its peckers. May be it was a brilliant jewel or something like that?

Let us end with the plants and flowers. At our island cruise we could solve the origin of this thick onion which we had found at all our Mediterranianholiday resorts. There are lush green leaves in the spring but no flower. Our guide Eva votes for Affodil, but we know already that this is not right. But then we find out that it is the Sea Onion, Urginea Maritima (Meerzwiebel). The blossom period is about Sept. - Oct. and it is a kind of hyacinth flower. At the same occasion we have asked for those strange cobweblike nets in the pine trees. These shall be the nests of the maggots (Made) of future moths or butterflies.

At the end of our journeys in the Mediterranian regions Heidi is known to start with a stolen teaspoon, the pocket knife, and a plastic bag to devastate the green natural vegetation. I can only murmur "Hope that not everybody has this idea" or so. Otherwise the nice Mediterranian areas soon will look like just been ripped off by the good old Romans. And watch: Rosemarie and Hans are contaminated as well and they all crawl on their knees around the flower beds but at last they all return with no haul at all. "We must wait until dark, we made some depots" say say. Now do not think that there would be diminished any rare plants of the real nature. There are really lots of scions (Ableger) shooting out of the pavement chinks (Ritze) and it is heavy work to get them out. The small fan palm plants are impossibly to capture. At home we have cultures of Agaves from Crete or a nice bunch of the Dianthus Arboreus (Baumnelke) from Spain which is meanwhile nearly 20 years old. But all the other plants will not flourish in our north European climate. This time we got a Cana which grew fine during the summer and now we have to wait until spring if this species will have survived in the cellar.

The Way Home

At the end of any holiday you often hear the saying "Now the nice time is over" or so. This time this does not apply to us. We enjoy our "third life" (since a year meanwhile) and will ride from one vacation to the next, and this will happen at home. We will bring the summer with us and be glad to see our dog Otto again and be happy with him because he will be happy with us. We have an uneventful flight, but at the airport of Hannover the shuttle service "Nightliner" seems to have forgotten to bring us home. We finally take a normal taxi which is much more expensive. So we get known to the GPS- positioning system. As we at last stop at our house the GPS- lady shouts out "You have reached your destination". She is right!

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