February 2018 saw my first visit to Cyprus, and I enjoyed it so much that this weekend I’m back!
The difference is that a year ago I stayed in a different hotel each night – this year I’ve picked my favourite – the Opera Hotel in Λάρνακα (Larnaca) to be my base for the weekend.
Had a clear run to Gatwick from Cirencester this morning so made it to Gatwick in around 2 hours and was inside the terminal a few minutes after that. It was a foggy drive along the M4, this cleared just as I drove in to Bracknell but was then foggy again as I came off the M23 in to Gatwick.
The fog was the cause by the delay on my flight today – 90 minutes late by the time we took off at 14:25 – the fog had lifted by this time but the previous flight had been delayed earlier in the day because of the weather.
The clear skies above Northern Europe today meant I got some spectacular views from the plane – the photos don’t really do it justice as the level of detail I could make out today meant I could reliably track our location without having to refer to the sat nav on my phone (which still works while the phone is in flight mode, though I do have to mute it as it picks up the speed limits of the roads down below and tells me I’m speeding).
So as we climbed out of Gatwick this afternoon I could see the M25 up to the Dartford Bridge and the Thames, high-rise buildings of Central London in the far distance; the full length of the M26 from the M25 to where it meets the M20; the North Kent coastline and Thames Estuary all the way along to Margate where we flew out over the Channel.
The busy shipping lanes in the Channel could clearly be seen before we entered Belgium with a clear view of Bruges and Zeebrugge, Dutch Flanders and the Dutch North Sea islands (in the far distance a hazy outline of Schouwen-Duiveland could be seen as we flew along the Belgian/Dutch border), then on to Antwerp, Brussels, Liege, and towards Germany where the captain updated us on progress just before we flew close to Munich before heading over the Austrian Alps at Sunset.
Didn’t see much of the rest of the journy as it was dark after that – I had assumed we went down over Italy (as flights to Greece do) but Flightradar24 shows our actual route as being going over Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, skirting round the North Eastern corner of Greece in to Turkey before descending in to Cyprus (Larnaka Airport).
Within an hour of landing I was in my hotel, all checked in and I went out for dinner; I found a restaurant called ΤΟ ΑΡΧΟΝΤΙΚΟΝ (To Archontikon) located in an old mansion-type building which dates back to the 1850s. At first I thought I’d accidentally walked through the wrong door and ended up in some sort of church. I almost missed it as it was right next door to the likes of McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King – in the middle of all the fast food places I wanted to avoid. But I had a good meal, which filled me up after a long day of travelling.
It’s after midnight here now, Tomorrow I’m driving over to Πάφος (Pafos), roughly 135km from here (according to Google) to meet up with a friend who has been out here since the beginning of January. I’ve also still got to get used to this car – it’s a Toyota Auris – bigger than the Yaris had had last year. It’s only got 64000 km on the clock (a little under 40000 miles) so it’s still relatively new, the buttons are in the wrong place, the air con seems to be stuck on hot (I think its on auto actually) and I’m not sure I like the rear view mirror, it makes everything look like its a million miles away. I need to see it in daylight tomorrow morning to work it out properly.