There are many reasons why I chose Cyprus as the first of my winter exiles. The main one was to see my friend, as I had been promising for years to visit him since he moved away from Huddersfield after college, all those many years ago.
He was one of the inspirations for moving to Marsden, my last home in the UK, as many years previously, when he worked in the Middle East, he bought a house there as a base in the UK. We had many lovely visits to the village and so it was top of my list when I moved from Huddersfield.
I am going to spend just over five weeks here and have lots of exploring planned. I have never visited the country before and am really excited to be in a new place. I am even making a little bit of an attempt to learn the language, however the different alphabet is a challenge! Everything here is in English as well though, as the English occupied Cyprus for many years. They drive on the left and have the same electric plugs as the UK. There are some other reasons why I wanted to visit, which I will write about in a separate post.
Dave now lives here full time, in a large village at the western end of Cyprus called Peiya. The views from his house are stunning, all along the coastline towards Paphos.
The village is on the side of a hill, and is very steep in places, with a mix of older properties at the top and lots of gorgeous new developments all down to the coast.
As with La Marina, there are lots of English people who have moved here and it was lovely spending time with Dave’s friends and partner Jo, and getting to know them. Although I said I would only visit each country once from now on, as there are so many I want to visit, they are having an amazing new house built further up the hill, so I will have to come back and see that at some point.
We went out to the Akamos Point and the gorge on the first day, an incredible drive on some of the bumpiest roads that I have been on since my trip to Nepal. This is where the turtles come in to nest and is a protected area.
I also visited a few churches, this is one of the things that I was most excited about coming to Cyprus for as I have not really seen any Greek Orthodox churches, and you know how I love a good church 😉 This first one was by the harbour in Peiya.
There was also a very tiny chapel just outside the village centre.
The village centre had a much larger church and down below a pergola where brides go to have their pictures taken. It was next to the original village water source, I think these were used for laundry, as are still found in many Spanish villages.
I love all the limestone here, it is such a beautiful stone and looks amazing next to the blue skies.
We also had a trip to Paphos, where I will be spending more time later in the trip, to one of the areas where a lot of Muslims used to live, before Cyprus was divided. One of the churches there had been turned into a mosque at some point, then abandoned post 1974, except for a lot of cute cats who lived in the churchyard.
At the end of the first week I caught the bus to Aiya Napa, via Nicosia. Cyprus has no trains, but a very good network of buses so 3 and a half hours later I was nearly at the other end of the Greek part of the island, as you can see from the map below.
I have had a brilliant week here, the weather has been amazing, 19 degrees all week, so there has been lots of walking along the coast which I will post about in the next update. Hope you are all ok, not too cold and enjoying your lives. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.