After my long drive on Sunday afternoon/evening I had a late breakfast in Polis; a buffet breakfast was available at the pool bar. It had clearly been raining overnight and the weather on Monday was overcast, grey and windy.
Walking back to the apartment, I was followed by one of the cats. I sat on a chair outside my apartment for a few minutes while I talked to the cat. It eventually disappeared.
I packed the car and drove to the village of Latsi (Λατσί) to walk along the beach and harbour there. In the Summer it is full of tourists at the beach, with a selection of bars/restaurants – but in the winter it is pretty much closed.
Getting on the road, I set the sat nav for Paphos. I parked in the free car park down by the harbour, in the district of Kato Paphos – the tourist centre of the city.
I had just 2 hours to fill, so after spending time walking up and down the streets I went for lunch. I was not overly impressed with Paphos – or at least Kato Paphos, which is in effect the “new” city of Paphos.
I found it a bit over-developed (more so than Larnaca and Nicosia – though others might argue the same about those) and a lot of it seemed to cater mainly for Brits.
If I were to visit longer I might find somewhere more interesting – I would have liked to find a set of restaurants which don’t just do the British favourites and serve everything with ketchup.
I did however find somewhere to have a more traditional lunch – a stifado (beef stew with onions) – and then I had time for a very quick walk around the Archaeological Park; it’s a big site so I didn’t even scratch the surface.
But time was limited, it was now after 4pm and I had to be back at Larnaca Airport – a drive of about 2 hours – in time for my flight.
The drive back to Larnaca Airport wasn’t particularly enjoyable. Before I’d reached the motorway the rain had started coming down, and while there were brief periods when I could put the wipers on to the intermediate setting, the rain really did not stop until I got to the Airport.
I topped the car up to take it back up to full – this only cost €30 but returning the car full would mean getting a €65 refund; a lot of Cypriot car hire companies charge you for a tank of fuel on collection but give you a refund of that money if you return the car full.
Then it was off in to the terminal building to check-in, grab something to eat, and wait for my flight. I made sure to pack my scarf on the top of my suitcase so that after baggage reclaim at Gatwick I’d be able to get to it quickly. I kept my coat in my posession, expecting it to be freezing on arrival in London.
After a long flight of 4hrs 45mins, which passed in no time at all thanks to my ability to sleep through take-off, I arrived back at Gatwick at 23:30, just as the snow was falling.
To avoid driving back completely tired, I made the decision last week to book in to a nearby hotel, even if only for a few hours, before getting up early to go to work.
The result of this was that, after checking in to the hotel at 1 I had to scrape snow off the car a second time when I got up at 5. (what an idiot I am – while packing the car I left the door open and the wipers on = snow all over the the seat. I won’t be doing that again any time soon!)
It was about 05:15 when I set off from Gatwick. At times I wondered whether I’d make it to work for an 08:00 start. One such moment was joining the M23 with snow still falling. However, BBC Surrey’s snow watch travel news – which kept interrupting the programme I was listening to on BBC Radio London – reassured me that once clear of the M23/M25 junction there was no snow disruption.
I also spent much of the time along the M4 wondering how long I’d be on the motorway for. Sat nav was giving me an ETA of 08:45. In actual fact, it had picked up a traffic jam coming through the roadworks on the London-bound carriageway.
But I wasn’t to know that when at 06:30 I stopped for breakfast at Reading Services. Having been on the road for over an hour and with the potential of heavy traffic ahead I needed to stop for a break; I was hungry; and I wasn’t going to let the possibility of being late for work prevent me from eating – but it did mean I rather rushed through my breakfast and got back in the car for a quick getaway. I needed to take advantage of the clear motorway while I could, before things got busy.
As it happened I had a clear run all the way back to Fairford, eventually pulling in to the office car park at about 07:45. Perfect timing!
Would I go back to Cyprus? Yes, I think I would – I’d like to do the same again but spending more time in each location. The driving wasn’t too much of a problem, I enjoyed it for the most part. I’m not overly fussed about Paphos though, and going past Lemesos (Limassol) on the motorway I’ve decided that might be one to give a miss too – just going by what the traffic was like.
Time to get planning for my next adventure in the Greek speaking world… That might have to be in the Autumn, or next year, though.
In need of a good night’s sleep, I’m going to bed now.
Καληνύχτα – Good night.