Athens, Malta, Meteora, Spetses, Tour of the Peloponnese and Morocco…our trips for the next months were already booked. Or rather, so we thought, until we received an invitation from the Cyprus Tourism Organization that said: “Elena & Nikos, we invite you to meet the beauties of our island”. And how can you say no to the calling of the goddess Aphrodite, stirs up sweet passion in the gods and subdues the tribes of mortal men…?! Wow…I’m officially a poet! After all, Cyprus was always on our must-visit destinations list, so we did not have to think twice to revise our schedule. And just like that, we were flying to Cyprus…
It was October and the weather was like mid-August in Greece! Winter in Cyprus is short and light, while the summer is long and hot. So hot that in the months of July and August temperatures rise to 45°C! You got that right…you cannot sit in the sun for more than five minutes! This is why October is the best month of the year…Mild temperatures, warm waters and Aphrodite winking at us for an unforgettable week.
During this wonderful week, the Cyprus Tourism Organization had taken care of everything! From the first minutes of our arrival in Cyprus we felt the warmth and genuine Cypriot hospitality. Cypriots, after all, as a Mediterranean people, are warm, cordial and ready to help you with anything you might need. If you exclude the Cypriot dialect, which we tried in vain to learn, we felt like we had never left our home. This, of course, was made possible by our amazing tour guide, Miss Christina Mita, and the entire CTO.
We will make no secret of the fact that Cyprus surprised us pleasantly from the very first moment. We could never imagine that the island has so many options for things to do and see. In Chirokitia, we saw one of the most well-known prehistoric settlements in the world. In Paphos we walked among gorgeous mosaics and royal tombs, while a bit outside Limassol we admired the Kourion, the island’s most significant archaeological site. We got inside medieval castles, museums and wonderful churches, and we photographed beautiful shipwrecks.
We explored Nicosia on a segway, the sea caves of Paphos on horseback, Ayia Napa’s beaches through a boat trip and the Governor’s Beach while kayaking. N: Kayaking…both of us? Because I remember only one poor guy doing all the paddling and the other one enjoying the boat ride! E: Do you mean I did not help? N: Of course you did! You helped us fall on the rocks, go back and forth…E: And what were those blisters on my hands, mister? N: Lazaros and I were wondering the same thing! E: In any case, I had the time of my life! N: Of course you did!
Our program also included activities related to the Cypriot tradition and local customs. The halloumi production process by Miss Loula as well as the ceramics lesson with Mr. Efthymis were more than useful and fun. Never mind that we ate all the halloumi and fought about who made the best clay sheep! Between you and me, Nikos’ was cuter, but don’t tell him! Of course, we could not leave the island without attending a Cypriot wedding and escorting the bride to the church with the lutes and violins.
What impressed us the most on Aphrodite’s island, were its mountainous richness and traditional villages. Apart from the archaeological sites and golden beaches with the turquoise waters, Cyprus hides a different side that you have to explore. The nested wine villages with the endless vineyards, the hiking trails and dozens of picturesque monasteries on the mountain range of Troodos offer a tourist-free tranquility that soothes you from the very first moment. In Omodos and Pelendri we tried wine from local wineries, in Lefkara we watched the embroiderers, in Platres we walked to the Caledonian waterfall and in Kakopetria we ate the most delicious trout of our entire life.
N: As I was about to ask you what you have kept from the island! E: I ignore the fact that you think that I only care about food and I answer! The seftalia… and the pork afelia! Wait…there is also the ofto kleftiko that melted in our mouths…and the countless Cypriot mezedes! And what about the boiled halloumi and the anari…I cannot decide! N: I think someone liked the Cypriot cuisine very much! E: It shows, huh?! N: Yeah! E: Unfortunately for me, the scales also got that!!! It is inevitable to come back from Cyprus and not have put on 2-3 kilos from all this food!
And when the food was over (so to speak), it was time for some night fun, because Cyprus also knows how to live in the night! From the wild night life of Ayia Napa to the quality entertainment of Limassol and Nicosia, you can pick among a plethora of options to have a great evening…and night! To this end, you will have help from a few glasses of Commandaria (the most ancient wine in the world), the strong extract called Zivania and the island’s traditional beer, KEO. Be careful though, do not drink all of them at once, because I can see you swimming around the Petra tou Romiou, singing traditional, upbeat Cypriot songs like “ta rialia, rialia, rialia…”…!
And with all these, the end of the trip seemed to have come very fast. The island of Aphrodite surpassed every expectation and surprised us in the most positive way. From the spot where the goddess of love was born, to the highest point of Troodos, Cyprus manages to combine the rich history with the magical beaches and natural landscapes. As for us, it got us drunk with its amazing wines, taught us about its rich history, impressed us with its rapid growth, enchanted us with its incredible waters, filled us with its delicious foods, entertained us with its countless activities…and, in the end, it seduced us with its beauty and diversity!