Cyprus, land of love and sweet wine

Cyprus, land of love and sweet wine

Cyprus has been on my bucket list for some time now. And as it is December, I wanted to go to a warm place,somewhere in Europe. But that time I didnt know that Cyprus is the birthplace of the goddess of love and sweet wine. Already got warmer, did you? But from the beginning.

December. Cold, but it’s obvious. I must admit that autumn in Poland has spoiled us, until real winter came along. In the end, I gave up those light sweaters, sunshine. Also, let go that warm autumn and finally pulled out those woolen socks from the cardboard box hidden somewhere deep in the closet. I have already bought a Christmas tree, in a bucket obviously. Because why let the tree die, when it will stop looking good in the living room.

I’m sitting in these woolen socks with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, I look at this unrequited Christmas tree, I yet to buy decorations, and suddenly there is a phone ringing. @VisitCypruscom or the tourist organization of Cyprus invites me to Cyprus, and the trip is in 5 days. I almost pulled off my socks and packed my bikini. But wait, it’s December, and despite the fact that Cyprus is up to 20 degrees, I probably won’t be able to swim in the Sea. Bikini will find its place in a suitcase anyway. Just in case.

I have to admit that I was terribly stressed with this trip. Because so little time to prepare, because I did not travel with the group for a long time (or never), of course I started complaining. At such times, I always remember the words of my friend who told me once, that such events, which we are the most worried about, turn out to be the most successful and unforgettable. And I will say, I always secretly believe in it from the bottom of my heart.

From experience, you probably know that time passes quickly, so it was in my case. Before I looked, I was already packed, at the airport waiting for a group of people with whom I will be discovering Cyprus for the next 5 days.

Basia came up to me first, asking me if I was going to Cyprus with a group. How happy I was, because after 15 minutes of waiting, no one showed up, it seemed to me that I had already done something wrong, of course.

Anyway, the best part of all this is that of course I was additionally checked by security control. Why does this happen to me so often? Every time. Do I just look suspicious?

We arrived in Cyprus in one piece, and even passport control and baggage collection did not take more than 5 minutes. Probably a record throughout my travel career.

I have almost dozed off on our way to a hotel in Protaras, because the trip took almost about one hour from the airport. In the end, we arrived at the Blue Ivy hotel, probably the only open for this time of the year in the whole area. I was so happy to see hotel guests, mainly retirees, who’s spirit and energy could be envied by many youths. Of course, I also included myself in this group of jealous people, as I had already imagined myself in a warm bed. One thing is for sure, if I am a pensioner, I would like to spend my time in positive atmosphere on vacations. 

In the morning, I just opened one eye to check what’s the situation of sunrise was like and I must admit that it did not look interesting. And as there was no sign that the clouds would go away, I decided to lay in my bed for a moment. In the end, we have very intense 4 days ahead, so we need to accumulate energy 🙂

Coffee, breakfast and then hit the road, no more jacket, which I had to wear when I came from Poland. The first stop is the seafront of Protaras, the area of ​​Cavo Greco and one of the best beaches in the world in terms of cleanliness and security – Nissimi. The sunshine came out and it got warm. Winter in Poland was just a memory of the previous day. This week is dedicated to the Cypriot Sun. So much in the subject.

From all these places, my favorite became the monastery in Agia Napa, and more precisely its history. Well, this monastery was to be a place of Christian worship already in the Byzantine times. According to the legend, the cave in the monastery was found by the hunter’s dog, and the icon of the Mother of God was hidden in it. It is possible that the icon was hidden in this cave in times of iconoclasm, and more and more Christians began to visit the cave.

The monastery was built later, because during the time when Cyprus was ruled by the Ottoman Turks. It was then that the daughter of a Venetian aristocratic family hid in a cave because she could not marry a man she loved. With time, she built a monastery here with her own money. And so it is a romantic legend straight from Cyprus.

Apart from legends, Cyprus is a place associated with the mythology itself. It is here that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love, emerged from the foam. We visited this place, which some, including me, even found rocks in the shape of a heart (or at least we strongly believe in it). According to belief, such a rock should be given to a beloved person, so that she or he would love us forever (and in that’s how you get someone to love you ;).

Of course, there is one more place in Paphos, where apart from the beautiful mosaics, there is a beautiful beach where the sea was angry, “spitting out” enormous amounts of foam. It is not surprising that this Aphrodite, or at least the sculpture of Aphrodite placed there, is nothing like the goddess of beauty that we have in our imagination. But you can judge for yourself when you go there.

On the way we visited CyHerbia Votanical Garden, where we could study local herbs and plants and their use in natural medicine. Of course, we also tasted herbal tea. I do not know what was that, and whether or not it worked, but it was very tasty.

It was also time for our first Cypriot meal, for which I waited so much. As you know, the kitchen is a reflection of the culture of the country, at least for me it makes a great sense. This is also the case in the Cypriot cuisine, which is for historical reasons (Cyprus is a country with influences of eg Egyptian, Greek and Turkish culture).

During lunch in the atmospheric restaurant Stou Roushia in Larnaca, for the first time we could taste traditional Cypriot dishes. And trust me meals kept coming. But do not worry, we did it, it was our first day, so we wanted to try everything, the dishes were served systematically, thanks to which our lunch lasted just over two hours, with tasty dishes, good wine and most importantly, great company.

That’s how all our meals looked like everyday. Sometimes there was a good view at sea while enjoying good fish meze. 

Meze is a set of dishes and snacks, in other cultures, not only Cypriot or Greek, for an example: cheese, meat, fish and vegetables.

If it was food, it was also wine. I admit to you that there was plenty of wine. Unfortunately, it was not always Cypriot wine, and this is really delicious. And so we had the opportunity to try local drinks during wine tasting activity at Ktima Gerolemos in the wonderful village of Omodos. I highly recommend a walk in this place, just like that.

In the nearby village of Arsos, we also visited the traditional Arothama agrotourism house, where I simply fell in love with. The apartments are very cozy , and the owner made sure that we felt at home, serving us delicious coffee and homemade cakes. The whole athmosphere was completed by a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, bringing us closer to the Christmas vibe.

But I was supposed to write about wine, and this come from Cyprus. The truth is that the oldest known wine is called Commandaria. This wine is sweet, dessert, and produced from both red and white grapes and after harvest, it has to be dried for about 2 weeks. Then it go though fermentation process for three months and age for an additional year.

Hmmm, we will have to wait for the wine then  (ok, we did try it at the Wine Museum in Erimi). Although I would like to tell you a bit more about oil and halloumi.

Let’s then talk more about halloumi. Halloumi is a cheese made of goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and sometimes a cow’s milk.

Not only did we have the opportunity to try halloumi, but also to see the whole process of cheese formation. In a separate factory, we also watched the entire production of olive oil. Honestly, I did not know that oil is also produced in Cyprus. Now I know it is.

Unfortunately, the lack of space in the suitcase did not let me take freshly produced oil with me back home, which I regret very much.

halloumi over salad

There was also an expedition to Avakas George, bananas picking activity and bread tasting at the Women’s Association in the village of Skarinou, where you can find great  supply of local products.

The culmination of our trip was the sunset at the Governor’s Beach and just as the sun disappeared from the horizon, we left the island of love  few hours later, holding now just memories in our grasp (and bags of local products, if anyone was able to;)

But no expedition will be unforgettable if it’s in bad company, and on this expedition the company was splendid. I wish every holiday could be spend  in a group of positive people to you and myself. 

Nina