My favourite place in Cyprus is Paphos so far. This small colourful town, full of myths and history, smells differently, breathes differently and lives its own independent life, untouched by time. Built on the Greek side of the island, Paphos charmed me by its calmness, endless sunny days and artistic atmosphere.
The legend tells, just a few steps away from Paphos, goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite rose from the sea foam. She landed right at the coast of Paphos, where now Stone of Aphrodite could be seen. I found Cyprus is not only known as the birth place of the goddess of love, but also remains a very romantic and fascinating island nowadays.
If you plan to go to Paphos, I would recommend to take a direct flight to the International airport next to the city. I did a mistake to pick a flight to the airport of Larnaca, 120 km away from Paphos. The other problem was the lack of direct bus line Larnaca-Paphos. I needed to switch the bus in Limassol, which is located at the middle of the distance.
Nothing wrong if the travel is not just a short weekend trip or a prolong city break. Once in Paphos the party immediately begins. All restaurants, bars, beaches, historical spots are situated near each other. I enjoyed walking in between, then later on I rented a bicycle. It was actually a clever decision, because the traffic in Cyprus is on the left side of the road. I don’t feel much confident in my left side driving skills, being more than 20 years a right side driver.
Be aware, Cyprus is not like Greece !!! If you already were in Greece, then you could think everything would be the same or similar. This could cause a wrong preparation and expectations, while going to Cyprus. Right, part of the island speaks Greek language and has common mythology with Greece, but more less that’s all. I was nearly arrogant to make the mistake above. Then I faced the slapping reality.
Cyprus crucial peculiarities:
- Traffic is on the left side, like in the UK ( Greece drives on the right). Very slow and quiet motorway
- Three pin electrical plug sockets, like in the UK, so you may need an adaptor (Greece has two pin plug sockets like the rest of Europe).
- The chance to meet English speaking residents is thousands of times higher than in Greece. In fact everyone in Cyprus speaks English (and Russian in Limassol).
- I have been probably 20 times in Greece and could assure you, the Cypriots are 10 times more smiling, polite and willing to help.
- Incredible hospitality, no chance to end starved or not accommodated, even if you are a bit short of money .
- Currency – EURO, but everything is more expensive than Greece
- The British tradition of afternoon tea is still alive in here
Expectedly, a strong British society lives in Paphos. Most of its members are retirees. Firstly, I was pretty suspicious about the quality and the level of entertainment of their activities. It happened when I was invited by a Swiss member to join their community during my stay. Reasonably I was not excited at all. I was wrong. Now I should admit, I was really impressed how physically fit, enthusiastic and creative all those people could be.
This informal club is open to everyone, who would like to join it. The only small detail is the new visitor should be introduced by a club member. There are painting classes, hills climbing, cycling tours, even surfing and fishing. There is also a small group, that practices on regular basis crafts and dance. I felt embarrassed for underestimating those pensioners, who actually moved to Cyprus to fully enjoy the all year round sunny weather, to rebuild a calmer, cheaper and safer life.
I should thank Kathy again for providing me with a guide from their community. Thanks to this service, I got familiar with the beauty of the famous historical Kato Paphos Archeological park. Stunning mosaics from the 3rd-5th century AD, colonnades, amphitheatre with 1200 seats, artefacts dated 2nd- 3rd century AD….I spent more than two hours hanging around and enjoying this unbelievable ancient collection (look at the gallery below).
Every step soaks history and moves you closer to the past. At least my impression was so. Wherever I turned, I faced Byzantine – Roman ruins, fine mosaic, knights’ tombs, medieval churches …all those leave you a bit dizzy, with the sense of a remote epoch. Another chapter was just opened, that makes you float somewhere in the ages, with no control.
Suddenly all myths and legends come alive. The motion is slow and laidback, with the unbeatable charm of the chaotic environment. No one is in a hurry, time flows day by day and the feeling is for witnessing a space gap phenomenon. Obviously, I am getting sentimental. But the truth is Paphos bewitched me and pulled me wishing to come back to Cyprus island. No doubt I will.