Gladlee of Guernsey
Larnaca - Cyprus - April to December 2014
April 2014 - Larnaca
So, as regular readers will be well aware, we arrived in Cyprus after our sea voyage, (click HERE for Grimaldi Cruise page) cleared customs in Limassol and headed to the apartment in Larnaca. After a considerable "clean up" after the ravages of 6 years of being rented and not very well looked after, we had what was going to be our home for the foreseeable future. Our few boxes arrived at the end of April which allowed to to make the place look a bit more homely and to display our collected treasures from our various trips, homes, travels etc. Please click HERE for photos.
We have now managed to display rugs and other items from Libya, Oman, India, China, the US, England Cyprus and all points West, East, North and South. The very first time we have been able to do this and the final effect is, we think, pretty good.
We have also tried, and succeeded to a degree, to get involved in various activities and have joined the local Hash House Harriers - The Polygon Hash, and more recently the Larnaca Hash, have joined the Zenon (Larnaca) Bridge Club - yes even Ron, but have also found lots of places to explore and check out the local bird population - feathered kind. Julie in heaven of course though many of the migratory birds have now started to leave for other places further north. The latest outing to Lefkara Dam brought forth three totally new birds to add to Julies list.
The rest of the month saw us hashing, playing bridge, obtaining our residency, getting the car papers sorted, a bird-watching trip with the 'official' group, a drive to Cape Greko and popping in to see ex UK neighbours in Vrysoulles (Diane ex-Sutton and Dave and Mum Joan).
Lisa and Charlotte (Ron's niece and great-niece) arrived on Monday the 2nd to stay for a week. On the Tuesday we went to Meneou beach to relax in the sun, swim and take the kayak out, and we ate at TGIF's in the evening. Wednesday saw us off to Drapia for L & C to go horse-riding and then we lunched in Zygi and spent the afternoon at the pool.
Thursday 5th L & C went to the beach and in the afternoon we all went to the Polygon Hash, and the On On to eat pizza. Photographs of two of the pizzas did appear on Facebook. Charlottes being a White Chocolate one and Julies being a White Chocolate with berries - not your normal pizza fare! On Friday we went to the Water Park at Ayia Napa (free entry thanks to our Bridge friend Suzanne) and spent the whole day there. A great excuse for the two of us to act like teenagers on the slides and wave pool. In the evening we walked down to the front where the annual Kataklismos festival was happening - this celebrates the avoidance of floods after Easter. The fireworks were good but short-lived.
On Saturday we took a drive and picnic up to the Troodos mountains. Unfortunately the weather was not good up there and it was rainy so we had to eat the picnic in the car. Nice drive though. We went to TGIF's in the evening and wandered amongst the crowds at the festival again.
Sunday we went across to Konnos beach near Ayia Napa and got there just in time to get the last beach chairs and umbrella. A local holiday meant that the beach was VERY crowded. We all went out on a Pedalo with a slide and relaxed on the beach and swam all day. Lisas treat for dinner in the evening and a really nice Cypriot restaurant in Larnaca that we had not been to before. We will be going again though.
Their final day on Monday saw them in the pool and down to the beach, fish and chip dinner at Dhekelia and then flight home in the evening. A very tired young girl going home.
We now have two weeks of rest before we descend into chaos again. The planned visit of Rons grand daughter Melissa and her friend Antonia. What to do with two 18 year olds for two weeks - suggestions accepted. Hopefully just leave them to get on with it.
The girls arrived at Paphos on the 25th and are thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Well, the girls pretty much looked after themselves, had a few late nights/early mornings but really not too many. Their friends would be surprised. Apparently their best night out was in Ayia Napa when they had NOTHING to drink (supposedly). So, after two weeks and lots of tanning opportunities they returned to the UK to try and make their friends jealous by exposing as much tanned body as was deemed appropriate.
This month sees us heading west to the Paphos area still in search of our dream weekend country cottage. It is also Julies birthday so we spend a weekend away in the Troodos mountains away from the heat of the coast. Lots of hiking and exploring and nice food - not to mention a bottle of bubbles to celebrate. While we are here we get a call from an agent telling us about a property so we make arrangements to go and see it when we leave. It is in a small village called Letymbou and though the house is nice it is just too big for what we want. However..... the owners are moving to Germany and have another property which they decide to show us.
A twenty minute drive takes us to their place which really is in the middle of nowhere and we both immediately like it. A one bedroom converted farm building, fully renovated, 2000 Sq. Mtrs. of land which has Almond Trees, Olive Trees, Vines (with lots of grapes) and Julies compulsory Lemon Tree - although still a baby tree.
We pretty much decide there and then we are going to buy it. The owner immediately decreases (yes decreases) the price by €15,000. We have a couple of weeks to wait while the owner contacts her bank to confirm she can sell it at that price (she owes the bank some money) so we head back home and wait.
Back to real life in Larnaca and a busy first couple of weeks for us. We are setting the hash for both the Hashes we attend over the first couple of weeks so there are many miles to be walked. First the scouting of where we will do it. Then try to find a good trail before actually setting it a day before the hash. We think that doing the two in the first couple of weeks meant we walked over thirty (30) miles in searing heat and humidity. Still - it was all good fun and we and the hashers enjoyed our trails.
We have also now had the OK for the purchase of our "country cottage" and are making arrangements with the lawyer to put the contract together. We are both really pleased with it. Watch this space for photographs in the coming week or two. Should be ours by early September.
Also we have the English football season starting very soon so are both looking forward to returning to our usual viewing programme over the weekends.
Also of course bird watching continues whatever the weather. We still have a few stalwarts with us though most should have departed for cooler climates further north. Flamingos are still with us and now seem a permanent fixture whereas they never used to spend the summers here. Notable though that they are now concentrated in one lake as all the others have dried up.
And so - we have now taken possession of our new home away from home. Up in the hills of Agios Fotios at 2600 feet we absolutely love it. The weather is much cooler and no humidity. Glorious. Our first weekend there we are taking a walk and wave at one of the local farmers getting in his apple and plum harvest. He calls us over and after 15 minutes we leave with a carrier bag full of freshly picked fruit. The following day our nearest neighbour leaves us with a bucket of apples. We are now on a fruit diet!!!! There are lots of walks for us to explore in the area and we look forward to that over the next few months. The slight history of the place is that there is a village called Agios Fotios (with only three residents - two of them being us), a deserted village called Statos and a "new" village called Statos Agios Fotios. Not too much imagination really. We need to find out more especially about the deserted village.
We continue with both our Hashing and Bridge afternoons. On the 26th - 28th we are going for an "away weekend" with one of the hashes to a place called Esentepe in Northern Cyprus. We checked it out a few weeks ago and it is much greener than the south.
We do seem to have settled well here now and continue to make new friends and explore new locations. At the end of this month it will have been 6 months since our arrival. Time flies.
Autumn seems to have arrived here and we have had rains for the first time in many months. This has at last put water back into the salt lakes and almost immediately the Flamingos return in great numbers. (How they know is beyond imagination).
From the 15th to the 22nd we have visitors in the shape of Yvonne (Rons sister) and her lifelong friend Nanette. By some chance we have managed to secure invitations to our lawyers sons wedding for the four of us which of course gives our visitors a chance to get the glad rags on and see some real Cypriot tradition. Also on to the Melissi Beach Hotel in Ayia Napa for the reception with lots of champagne and excellent food.
Our visitors seem to quite like the weekend retreat in the hills. That did include a visit to the local winery of course which always makes things better. Even our flowers seem happy and have all come out in bloom at long last.
The weather is still fairly good (especially by comparison to the UK) and we are still enjoying trips to the weekend cottage. It has however managed to get a little cold at night with temperatures falling as low as 7 deg C!! We do have a wood burning stove and a Calor gas stove to keep us snug though. As long as the wind doesn't blow it still feels gloriously warm in the sunshine. We continue to attend the two Hashes here and have also set the trail for one of them again. Our Bridge playing seems to be improving and we now seem to manage 2nd/3rd/4th quite regularly. From Rons perspective it's an absolute miracle.
So, Christmas came and went. Larnaca had all its Christmas lights up and running, some a little odd but still festive. Christmas itself was spent in the UK with Christmas day in Wakefield at Yvonnes with all the Hayton clan. Boxing day in Wellingborough with the Smart clan. Turned out to be a really nice way of doing things.
We flew back to Larnaca on the 30th and took ourselves out on New Years Eve to the promenade. Very strange - everything was closed. Well almost. Our local, the Meeting Pub was open and had music and food (free for regulars) but because everywhere else was closed it was heaving and we found ourselves sitting virtually outside on the pavement. In the cold to boot. So we went home and shared a bottle of wine.
Early in January we departed for New Zealand and you can see all of our travels there on our brand new "New Zealand Page".
So, a fairly spectacular 2014 for us. Total change of lifestyle - which we are seriously enjoying. We still have bookings available for visitors in 2015 should anyone be interested and look forward to seeing a good few of our readers here at some time.