Fighting off the not-dubious-in-the-right-way dubious old men in tedious tourist hell – Cyprus

For your delectation – the final part of our Rewangering adventure, we last left you in the airport in Bucharest, en route to Cyprus. Enjoy and please congratulate us on actually writing up a full trip for the first time ever!:

We should probably explain that we found dirt cheap (about €20) flights from Bucharest to Larnaca in Cyprus, so as the route back via Bulgaria was at really inconvenient times we’d decided that a couple of days relaxing in the sun on a beach would be just what we needed after all the dashing about over the last couple of weeks, and would be a kind of holiday within a holiday to recharge our batteries and cheer us up when the trip was coming to an end and we would be very depressed about having to return home and go back to work.

We landed in Larnica after dark, and after asking around and being told that the next bus into town wasn’t for another half an hour Susan went off in search of some boozes while Jill had a cigarette outside. She returned looking very put out. “Jill – we’re not in Eastern Europe any more”. A can of cider and a packet of smoked almonds had just cost Susan 8 Euros! Damn you Cyprus! We wandered around trying to find another bus, as we couldn’t be bothered to wait (and probably pay the zillion euros) to get the tourist Airport Coach, and it looked like there was a bus stop across the road. We found a little minibus headed into town that was only €2 each.

As is now typical for us, we overshot the town centre in the bus (well you never know where the actual “town centre” is unless someone tells you! Even if it looks a bit town centre-ish it might not be!) and ended up at the depot, in the middle of an industrial estate. After weighing up the options of turning left or right outside the bus station, it looked like there was more going on down the right road so we headed off down there in search of somewhere to get a beer, some dinner and that had wifi so we could find ourselves somewhere to stay for the night as we hadn’t booked anywhere. Unfortunately, the lights that we had assumed we bars and restaurants turned out to be kitchen showrooms and tile shops and the like, so we had to walk for ages before we finally happened upon a little restaurant on the corner with wifi. We had the usual soup and wine meal deal (where Susan managed 3 mouthfuls) and managed to book ourselves a cheap hotel that was just down the road from where we were. One of the little old blokes who were sat at the table behind us came over to say hello.

“Are you married?”
“But you have a boyfriend?”
“Where is your boyfriend? He is not here?”
“He is in England, looking after the dog.”
“You English!”
And with that, walked away shaking his head.

The dirt cheap hotel we’d booked was actually lovely – we had a nice big room with a flat screen telly and a balcony, and had decided just to have showers, get a bottle of wine to drink in the room, watch some rubbish on the telly and have an earlyish night and head straight to Paphos the next day, where we intended to find ourselves a nice 4 star hotel to suffocate in luxury in for the last two nights of the trip. We watched the news for the latest updates on Ukraine and a crap film with Tara Reid in it (we were hoping it was going to be Sharknado but we waited and waited and absolutely NOWT happened in it!) before falling asleep.

The next day we headed back along to the bus depot, where we were pointed in the direction of the bus stop for Paphos which was left where we had turned right the previous night. As we turned down the street, we realized the folly of our decision last night as where we had gone right into the industrial estate, left would have taken us right onto the lovely marina which was full of lovely terraces to have beers on! Fool of a Caxterbarman! We had to change buses at the port, where we spent about half an hour being accosted by taxi drivers who were either trying to get us to take one of their taxis to Paphos, or trying to chat up Susan…so much so that she became paranoid that she was giving off an impression of being a desperate Shirley Valentine type who desperately wanted a holiday romance with a sleazy Greek man to spice up her humdrum life. Whilst this was initially quite funny, it sharp got quite uncomfortable for poor Susan sandwiched in between a couple of greasy taxi drivers on the bench at the bus stop, one of them getting so close he was practically sitting on her knee and she was struggling to get them to back off.

“Do you have any children?”
“Yes. I have twenty-four children. I have an ENORMOUS vagina”.
“I’d like to put another one in you.”

After a while politeness and humour went out of the window. “Leave me alone”, “I hate you”, “Go away” – none of which seemed to be having the desired effect. Luckily the bus pulled up and we escaped as soon as we could.

On the bus, we got chatting to a nice Nigerian chap who had been waiting at the bus stop with us (and chastised him for not stepping in and saving us from the sleazy men, but he said that he’d thought that we knew them) and we told him all about our adventures over the last couple of weeks and again got the question:

“You have a boyfriend?”
“Where is your boyfriend?”
“At home with the dog”
“And he allows you to do this?”

To which we indignantly replied that he wasn’t exactly over the moon about it, but pretty much had no choice in the matter.

When we arrived in Paphos, our new mate helped us to find a bar with wifi for a beer and to find some accommodation, as yet again we hadn’t booked anything. Susan had a €100 reward night that we were planning to put towards a luxury 4* hotel and we’d been looking over the course of the trip and narrowed it down to three or four possibilities. With the sun going down and the bar we were sitting at packing their tables up, we had to just choose one and go, so we opted for the Aquamarina as it looked like it had some good spa facilities. We managed to find it (after a couple of buses) and there was a lot of waiting around while they validated our reservation (as we’d only just booked it half an hour ago) before we got the keys to our room. It was a bit disappointing to be honest, since we’d forked out quite a bit of money (by our standards) and were looking forward to suffocation in 4* luxury but the room was a bit on the grim side, with really dated muted décor and a big old style telly. It was a bit like a luxury old folks home!

We had a shower, got changed and headed back out to the marina to get some dinner (pitas and dips, greek sausages and plaice that was disappointingly breaded. Even Jill only managed a little bit of hers and thinks she might of caught “Tiny bird stomachitus” from Susan) then tried to find somewhere to have a few drinks afterwards but could we bollocks find anywhere that wasn’t advertising Carling and Premier League games and blasting Paul Weller! We knew Paphos was touristy but you’d at least expect one little divey locals bar! The only bar we could find that wasn’t full of Brits was a posh looking place right on the waterfront that seemed to be full of the hip and happening young folk of Paphos. They gave us hacky looks as we approached (which made us all the more determined to have a drink there) and we only stayed for the one underwhelming whisky sours as the music was dire. We’d spied a couple of bars not far from our hotel so decided to taxi back to there and have a couple more drinks before retiring to our boudoir. The taxi driver seemed very keen to take us to one of the resorts and we were like “no! Just take us to the pub!”

“But which resort do you want?”
“The Crocodile Shoe!”

The Crocodile (Shoe) Pub was another premier league/carling/strongbow bar but was completely empty. It turned out they were actually closed, but the two lads behind the bar were happy to get us a few drinks and let us join them in an incredibly rock n roll lock in…watching The Fishing Channel. We left the lads to their trout and headed back to the hotel, hoping to bag a bottle of wine to drink on the balcony before bed but alas the hotel bar was closed, there was no one to be found at reception and when we gave up and decided to just go up to the room and raid the minibar, it was flipping EMPTY! Very badly played Aquamarina!

We got up just in time to catch breakfast the next morning, had a little walk along the beach (noting that the next hotel’s private beach area was MUCH nicer than ours which was all covered in seaweed and had a nice view of a building site and a skip on it) before grabbing ourselves a pint and a sun lounger and commencing Operation Relax on the Beach (despite the day being totally overcast with a threat of rain in it). Jill got out her book and started reading, causing a pet lip from Susan.

“What’s up?”
“I haven’t brought a book!”
“Did you not bring your kindle?”
“No! I didn’t want to risk losing it after I lost my last one in Jerusalem at New Year! Can we share yours?”
“How’s that going to work then?”
“We can just take turns reading a chapter to each other?”

So we spent a very enjoyable, relaxing morning/early afternoon sat on our sun loungers on the seaweedy beach, reading a book, interspersed with numerous trips to the beach bar for bottles of wine. The book in question was “The Wet and the Dry: A Drinker’s Journey” by Laurence Osbourne, about an alcoholic journalist who decided to travel across a load of Arab states in a quest to see how non-drinkers lived, but really just ends up being his mission to find some booze in these places. It was a very appropriate choice for us as booze, travelling and the combination of both are our favourite things, it gave us a good insight on what our lives would be like if we were wealthy male journalists, but also quite bitter that the fact that we are female would prevent us ever having such free-roaming adventures in the Middle East. We do quite fancy Lebanon though (and as we were in Cyprus it was JUST THERE!). Inspired by Mr Osbourne’s adventures and hilarious anecdotes, we decided to move over to the bar, type up some more of our own adventures on the laptop, get some lunch and of course another bottle of wine. The sandwiches were very nice (although Susan did get told off by Jill for wasting the halloumi by feeding it to a stray cat) and we stayed in the bar until the sun went down, drinking wine and laughing while remembering the parts of the trip we were writing about and getting more than just a little depressed at the fact we were both flying home the next day.

After it got dark we headed in to have a quick sauna and Jacuzzi before the spa bit closed and were disappointed to find that unlike the Estonian sauna where it was forbidden to wear a swimming costume, here you were forbidden to NOT wear a swimming costume! Of course we pooh-poohed their prudishness and had a nekkid sauna anyway. Also, upon entering the steam room Susan became acutely aware that despite the overcast day she had still managed to get herself quite sunburnt! Wooooooooooooe!

We had been disappointed by the town the previous night and, having flights the next morning, decided we would just go out for a couple of drinks within walking distance of the hotel as we’d seen a few bars around/en route to the Crocodile Shoe that didn’t look quite so bad. We were wrong. They were so bad. So, so bad. We opted for what looked the best out of a bad bunch and ordered a bottle of wine (and then immediately regretted it, since we’d drank that much wine that day and were starting to get a bit wine fatigued) in the Irish Bar, that for all was all about the Premier League games and Carling, looked at least like it had a few locals drinking in there and wasn’t just lonely old ex-pats staring blankly at the football. Our hopes were raised when a group of lads and lasses came in wearing heavy metal t-shirts and were talking a mixture of French and Dutch – perfect! Some metal types that speak the only foreign languages that we’re half decent at! Unfortunately it was at that point that we were latched onto by Thought Shower, an English lad with learning difficulties that was incredibly tedious (showing us photos on his phone of his Dad and things that he had made in his pottery class and telling us really rubbish jokes), but sweet and harmless enough and we really didn’t have the heart to tell him to leave us alone and he ended up coming along with us to the next bar (Michael’s Hot Cup – that Jill had been in to buy cigarettes and declared that it looked a bit more dubious that the one we were in) on the promise that he wouldn’t old man-block us if we wanted to talk rubbish with the local drunk pensioners.

The Michael’s Hot Cup was hilarious – we introduced Michael to Pink Kangaroos and enquired as to why he needed about 20 cans of squirty cream on the bar. “Cream Party Time!” was his response. He even, when we said we wanted to talk to old men, went over to the other side of the bar and brought us an old man! He was an English old man (we would have preferred a local one but we were too polite to send him back and ask to exchange him) but he was still good craic and after Thought Shower had gone home to his Mam and Dad, we had a bit of a lock in and talked rubbish until said old man staggered out of the bar and before we realized had got into his car and driven off home! We staggered off shortly after, letting poor Michael finally get to bed and had one for the road at the Crocodile Shoe-Cake Cakey-Shoe before going back to the hotel.

We were up and about in good time for our flights the next day, and finished the dregs of our wine on the balcony and had a quick beer while paying the bill (we needed it once we’d seen the cost off all the zillions of bottles of wine we’d charged to the room the previous day!) and got a taxi to the airport. We were both very impressed with Paphos airport as it had a lovely little beer garden as the bar that was right next to the gates, so you could have a nice civilized sit outside and enjoy your last few moments of sun before leaving it to the very last minute to wander the 20 yards to the gate for your plane home.

Cyprus Overview: Way too touristy and catering to the British masses. We wished we’d gone to Bulgaria as the weather was nicer when we left Romania anyway.
Best Food: Susan managed to eat a whole halloumi sandwich so it must of been that.
Best Drink: 100% winner Hot Cup Michaels Pink Kangeroos!
Prices: Similar to the UK, so not cheap.

So there you have it! The first time (at the time of writing this) that we have actually managed to complete writing up a whole trip! I think we deserve a beer (and another holiday).

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