To finish off my holiday inspired guest post week, we take a trip to Cyprus. Today’s guest post is by Susan Adair whose blog Susan Adair.com is all about makeing caregiving simple. She loved Cyprus so much that she now lives there! So here are her reasons for loving it so much.
A little over 9 years ago, I came to Cyprus for the first time. My father in law had just been transferred here for work and my now husband and I were desperate for a holiday. We knew nothing about the place except that it was hot and there were no direct flights from Ireland. We got off the plane to be greeted by this wall of heat and a view of the sea – I immediately fell in love. Our 10 day holiday was over in the blink of an eye and as we boarded the plane to go back to Ireland, I knew I was leaving my home.
In October of the same year, we had the opportunity to come back for a longer visit and as it was so much cooler, we explored the island. We went to Petra Rou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite’s Rock, we went to Ayia Napa and saw the beautiful harbour, did two boat trips and had some amazing meze and got to know the Larnaca area better. It was during this time that we became aware of the possibility of work here for Michael. Having never lived outside of Ireland, Michael was reluctant to make such a big move, but I was sure that it was the right move for us. I didn’t want to look back when I was in my 70s and regret the fact that we hadn’t at least tried living here. In April 2010 we made the decision to come to Cyprus for a year and 5 weeks later we left Ireland on an adventure that we never saw coming.
Living here hasn’t been easy, being an expat comes with its own unique set of circumstances, but you battle through and learn to adapt. Cyprus is our home now and we absolutely love living here. The island is unique and culturally diverse with some of the most amazing food that I have ever tasted. I wish everyone that comes here would develop the love that we have for this beautiful island. I thought I would put together my 4 reasons why I love Cyprus.
This seems pretty obvious due to the fact that I am borderline obsessed with the beach and water and as much as I love the summer months here, the winter is actually my favourite. With the summer being so hot, we are limited in what we can do because of the heat and the sun, but the winter has the most amazing weather which allows us to get out and explore the island. What we consider winter in Cyprus (high teens/low twenties) is probably a good summer day in Ireland and the UK, which makes it the perfect choice for a winter holiday for those that don’t like the extreme temperatures we get in the summer.
Not only is Cyprus famed for its great weather but we also get the most epic lighting storms, rain that falls so heavily that it floods the roads only to be completely gone within an hour and we even get snow good enough for skiing in the mountains, in the early part of the year. If you are coming to explore the island, October, November, March and April are the best months.
Trip Advisor consistently ranks the beaches in the East of Cyprus in their top 10 and top 25 beaches in Europe. White sand, blue seas and blue flags mean that you can be assured you won’t find beaches better anywhere else. What I love most about the beaches here is that there are so child-friendly. Along the Larnaca coast, there are wave-breakers some 150 metres from the shore. This means that the majority of the water in front of them in no deeper than calf high, making it the perfect place for smallies to play. Now that our children are older, we can let them in the shallows of the water without fearing they will come upon rocks or sudden drop-offs. Water sports are available at most beaches, along with cafes which sell mixed sandwiches (if you are here, you must try one – they are amazing and a Cypriot speciality), Cyprus coffee and other snacks to keep you going. Rental of loungers and umbrellas are super cheap and all in all, most beaches are set up to allow families to have a great day at the beach.
From May to November, we try to get to the beach every day and I have to say that it is so good for the soul. The combination of the water, sand, sun and just having fun with Michael and the kids is so joyful. We laugh play the silliest games, dig giant holes and build sandcastles and the kids are constantly talking about what we will do next. I know that we are giving them the best childhood by spending so much time at the beach.
Cyprus has a massive tourism industry and as a result, we have every chain restaurant know to man. These are the ones that you see when you walk through the tourist areas of the island and you would be forgiven for thinking that there isn’t much in the way of traditional restaurants when you see the likes of McDonalds, Burger King or T.G.I. Friday on every corner. But if you walk further into the towns, or off the beaten track a bit, you will be met with the most insane, incredible food you have ever had in your life.
Cyprus is a bit of a mixing pot and as a result, there are strong Middle Eastern influences in the food here. If you are struggling to pick from your menu, meze is ALWAYS a good option. A meze is basically a tiny portion of every meal on the menu. Beware though, in Cyprus it is customary to sit and eat for hours as portion after portion of food comes out. A meze is not for the faint at heart or those who are looking for a quick meal. Some of our favourite meals include traditional moussaka, pastitsio (a traditional pasta dish with ground lamb and bechamel sauce), Cyprus trio of dips and pitta bread and lamb kleftiko. My only advice to those coming to Cyprus is to stay away from restaurants you know and ask the locals, your hotel or other tourists where their favourite Cypriot restaurant is. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Cyprus is steeped in history. The earliest known human activity on the island dates back to around the 10th millennium BC. Since then the island has been home to the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Venetians and Ottoman rule to name but a few. For every empire that ruled Cyprus, they left a part of them behind. From the gold churches in the Troodos Mountains to the hidden mosaics in Paphos to the Kourion Archeological site in Limassol, where ever you there is remnants from the last 12 millennia and those who came before us. If you want to come and explore historical Cyprus, the best time to do it would be in the winter months as it is hard to appreciate the beauty of what there is to offer when it is 40 degrees outside.
Just to note, the northern part of the island is currently illegally occupied by the Turkish since the invasion of 1974 and is a great source of stress and anger to many Cypriots to this day. The UN currently patrol the demarcation line which runs between the illegally occupied north and Cyprus. The island is currently at peace, in that there is no fight taking place.
Thanks so much to Kerry for letting me share a bit about why I love Cyprus (I could have written 1,000 reasons but felt it was best to narrow them down!). I hope you enjoyed reading them and that it has made you think about coming here on holiday.