When Cyprus was mentioned for our annual holiday my initial reaction was ‘are you crazy I have been to a Greek island before, it’s dirty, smelly, they put toilet roll in the bin, and its full of weird men’ (I was in my early twenties at the time so please forgive my ignorance).
As life has a funny way of making our decisions, it was the only time we could get off work, the flights fell just right, the price was within our budget, so off to Cyprus we went looking forward to a well-deserved break from work.
What I wasn’t prepared for was, what Cyprus was about to offer me and change my life forever in just 7 days. We visited the island in February when it was much quieter and the weather a little unpredictable. This didn’t bother us, we wanted a break from work and time to be together (We still wore shorts and got sunburnt!). We had a truly amazing time, it was as if Cyprus was trying to tell us something. We had strange little things happen to us all week changing our way of thinking.
My favourite was when we decided to go for a trip up the mountains, not giving it a second thought off we went in our tiny hire car wearing shorts and t-shirts and money in our pockets. It wasn’t long before we realised we had made a few mistakes, the car was not suitable for the mountain roads, we were cold and eventually became hungry. We stopped off at a restaurant, we went inside and thought it was a little strange but hey it’s Cyprus and different to what we are used to, right. There was a grandma sat knitting in a rocking chair in the corner and a small child laid on the floor watching tv. There were no menus at this restaurant, we didn’t speak any Greek and they didn’t speak English so how we ended up with omelette chips and a drink is beyond me. We enjoyed our food and upon leaving asked for the bill to pay, the lady wouldn’t accept anything from us and sent us on our way. That evening we were talking to the bar man in our favourite bar, he informed us that there were no restaurants in the area we were and that we had in fact walked into someone’s front room.
Every time I think of it, it makes me laugh, imagine total strangers walking into your house thinking it’s a restaurant, and more to the point you would tell them where to go, never mind start cooking for them. This was when we discovered true Cypriot hospitality, where else in the world would this happen?
We went to a real restaurant on our last evening, laughing and trying to make sense of all the things that had happened to us in the week. The waiter thought we had just married in Cyprus as in his words ‘we had that special glow and gleam in our eyes’ this was when we truly fell in love with each other and Cyprus.
When we got home and back to reality we just couldn’t shake off Cyprus and when we would go again. When we decided to tie the knot there was only one destination for us. A few years on Cyprus was still in our heart and we made the decision on a permanent move. We bought a house, had 2 children and set up a business. One visit to Cyprus is never enough you are drawn to its beauty, hospitality, traditions and way of life. Do I regret it? Not a chance.