I’ve just come back from Cyprus, and whilst I’ll be writing several detailed pieces on different areas and attractions, for starters I wanted to put out a simple plea: go there. Now.
Of course, there are purely pragmatic reasons to head to Cyprus. The current crisis has created an environment of good deals, and availability of accommodation is better and more diverse than you would expect over Easter and heading into the summer season. Put simply, Cyprus *needs* you.
The atmosphere isn’t in any way tense, as some media have previously indicated. It’s muted, sure. The roads and pavements are largely quiet (a plus point to this Londoner), and the Cypriots – so welcoming and open – are currently slightly guarded and quietly, very understandably, anxious. The rumour doing the rounds in Cyprus is that this crisis has been born out of the EU’s desire to get their hands on all the (frequently unlaundered, predominantly Russian) money that’s been moving through the Cypriot banks.
Whatever the truth is in that widely-held theory, the net-net is that most Cypriots feel like they can’t catch a break right now. This means that if you visit their half-empty taverna or their wholly-empty museum
, they’ll be mightily pleased to see you. It might be a brandy on the house at the end of the meal or boxes of free popcorn at the (empty! natch!) Larnaca kid’s world, but these little gestures indicate that if you’re rolling the dice on a holiday in the Med right around now, maybe you should stack the odds in favour of Cyprus.
It wouldn’t exactly be a selfless charitable endeavour…for starters you’re treated to climatic perfection. Our kids, skin so pale it was blue and translucent, were totally fazed by the Vitamin D and bright sunshine for the first 48 hours after months of what we’ve been calling “Narnia”: endless miserable winter with no Christmas.
We had no issue taking money out of ATMs from British bank accounts, and it’s business as usual everywhere, at least on the surface for tourists. Some places prefer cash and it turns out that McDonalds in Cyprus has gone cash only. We made the latter discovery on an unwelcome fast food break from meze and kleftiko, prompted by three year old Electra’s all-too-predictable nose-upturning at the local cuisine, despite her Greek name.
Highlights of our trip included the gorgeous village of Lefkara
, chilling in the sea front cafes in Larnaca, and two fascinating days crossing the Green Line in Lefkosia. Sitting in the garden of our villa at dusk listening to crickets and sampling the under-rated local wines wasn’t really a hardship either. The Cypriots are made of tough island stock and will weather this storm with or without your help, but they need help more than usual…if you don’t mind supporting your fellow man with a wonderful sunshine break.