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
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.
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.
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.
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.