Cyprus

Cyprus: 10 Major Impressions

We have just returned from Cyprus: there we spent a wonderful week. To be honest, after the January trip to Malta, we did not expect much from Cyprus, but we should have. We really want to go back to Cyprus now, and this is why.

Cats
According to multiple legends, cats were brought to Cyprus to struggle against mice, snakes or lizards. Whatever version is true, the cats have not just become local here: they feel at home. The local population feeds the cats regularly, so they breed really fast. Do not get surprised when you see the cats in hotel restaurants and pubs: catboxes may be just next to your table. Also, cats will be skillfully begging for food and be very picky with what you finally offer to them.
Cats

cat culture

Driving
Initially, we were very skeptical a bout driving in Cyprus: this is the south, the Mediterranean, with the left-side traffic. Again, the Maltese experience was far from being best. Yet, the driving experience in Cyprus turned excellent: the island has quite good, and sometimes really good roads, nice drivers, and cheap cars for rent. One has to get used to left-hand driving, but this is much easier in case there are no other complicating factors. In addition, it is hard to fully enjoy Cyprus beauties without a car.
roads in Cyprus

People
First thing we did on the arrival was taking a shuttle to get to the car rental company. We were very surprised by how kind and polite the shuttle driver was. Then the surprise continued: the employees of car rental office, tourist information centers, hotels, restaurants, and simply passers-by were amazing in their service and help. In this sense, Cyprus really contrasts such tourist destinations as Israel and Abkhazia in which the service people openly demonstrate their hatred against the tourists (although tourists feed them). Also, unlike Abkhazians, Cyprians do not explain their failures with the military conflict: despite the Turkish occupation, southern Cyprus continues to fully function and provide the tourists with the best possible service.
In the mountains

Food
We should write honestly that Cyprus cuisine is not the best food we have ever tried in our lives. First, it is not really original, compared to the Greek cuisine. Second, it often lacked spices or enough salt. The difference is, however, in the attitude. Cyprian cooks and waiters sincerely do their best to make sure their clients like the food, so you would not even think of not enjoying it. Food becomes so much better because of the attitude. All in all, how can fresh olives and vegetables, grilled halloumi and meat be not tasty? Or a cup of local, Turkish-style coffee outside?
Coffee on Cyprus

Being Belarusians, we really appreciated the potatoes: Cyprus has so many kinds of it for different dishes! Also, they used a way which is not so traditional for us. They will consider you crazy in case you ask for tea with lemon, yet, they serve lemon with all possible salads and main courses.
Cyprus cuisine

Religion and monasteries
Our readers might have noticed that our relations with the religion when travelling have not been perfect. For instance, on the scariest day of our lives, when we were driving from Dushanbe to Pamir on the mountain road, our crazy driver tried to persuade us that it does not matter how he was driving: this is Allah anyway who decided whether we should die or not. Similarly sad are the memories from religious sites and pilgrimes in Israel. Yet, the Cyprus impressions were the reverse. We spent almost three days in Troodos mountains well-known for their monasteries and village churches. It was such a pleasure to visit them, communicate with the monks, to walk – so much of peace and no religious pressure.
religion

monasteries

Most of the photos from Cyprus trip we have are probably those of the churches, because they are so many and so different. Cyprians even have tiny handmade churches carved in rock in the larger cities.
hidden chapel

local chapel

The Sea
There is not much to say about the sea: you have to see it. The Mediterranean Sea is great as usually: it has deep blue color, intense sea foam at the cliffs, transparent water and…
Aphrodite stones

Sunsets
In southern and especially western Cyprus, beautiful views to sea sunsets open. Again, a picture is worth a thousand words…
Sunset in Pafos

Apartments
Travelling in Cyprus you will probably stay in apartments, since hotels do not cater all the interests, and the apartments are too many. The apartments are usually flats with kitchen and other facilities, much more comfortable than the hotels. Except for one problem. The apartments usually have no names or signs on them and their managers do not make their best to explain how to reach the apartments. We were staying in 5 different places we had found on booking, and could never find the any of them. We had to call, ask for directions, meet the managers or owners to show it to us. The GPS coordinates on booking are random and do not correspond to the reality. To not waste your time: take up the initiative, make a phone call or write to your apartment manager to ask for the directions.
accommodation in Cyprus

Donkeys
If you are not pleased enough with the cats, donkeys will compensate this. Donkeys are the symbol of Cyprus, there are several donkey farms a tourist may visit on the island. We’ve got a million of pictures with them.
Donkeys

Occupation
Since 1970s Turkish troops have been occupying the northern part of Cyprus. Once, the north was a resort, and there is only a ghost town of Famagusta left from it. There are security points, fences, and constantly flying military planes along the Cyprus border. Yet, to repeat, this does not prevent a tourist from having a great holiday. Cyprians understand that tourists bring money and prefer working on better service rather than complaining, although many of them are refugees who can only see their former houses through the barbed wire only on the territory occupied by Turks.
Famagusta

High vs. low season
We visited Cyprus in March, and the island was absolutely empty. Many stores, kiosks, and museums were closed. The apartments were relatively cheap despite +23 outside. This is all because of the low season. In just one month these tourist streets and restaurants will be full of people, tourists will be riding all kinds of boats and catamarans. Can you imagine this? Now choose which season you prefer 
touristic Cyprus

low season