Cyprus in the summer

16 06 2010

Well the summer is upon us and the good thing about living in Cyprus is that we get lots of visitors.
First an english couple are coming – I’m betting they’re going to find it pretty hot – it was 35 Degrees Celsius today. For those of you who use Farenheit that’s getting towards the hundred mark.
So we have decided to meet them in the Troodos Mountains. It’s a lovely shady spot with lots of pine trees and waterfalls and the temperature is usually about 10 degrees cooler. So a good place a have a Greek meze with plenty of feta, dolmades (minced pork wrapped in vine leaves) and freshly caught cyprus trout.
The following day we are going on a boat trip from Ayios Georgios in Paphos along the Akamas coast. There should be some spectacular views and we’re planning to stop for some swimming along the way near to Lara Bay where the turtles nest.
The next weekend family are coming and they want to see one of the famous Cyprus monasteries. So we’ll do some research over the coming weeks and let you know which are the ten best monasteries to visit in Cyprus.
Finally a friend is coming all the way from Los Angeles to Cyprus. He’s Jewish and he often goes to Tel Aviv in the summer which is only half an hour away by plane. He wanted to find out about getting a boat across to save money but I told him it’s probably not a good idea at the moment! He is actually getting a free ticket to go to Israel from Los Angeles as part of an American Jewish organisation. I’m very keen to find out more about this so as soon as I know I’ll pass on the information.
Anyway hope you all have a good weekend and if you’re at a loss about what to do why not pop over to Cyprus? Everyone else is!





Capital Coast Resort & Spa, Cyprus

2 03 2010

One of the benefits of living on a small Mediterranean island is that you can make use of all the off-season bargains. Although the winter in Cyprus is quite mild, it is still not warm enough to swim for at least 6 months of the year. This means most of the hotels are pretty empty. The recession has also hit the Cypriot tourism industry quite badly. One would therefore expect to spend the low season enjoying luxury hotels at half the price. Alas no!

The hotels in Cyprus have not quite grasped the idea that booking 100 people at half the price is better than booking 10 people at full price. However, this winter we found one hotel which is actually offering reduced rates. The Capital Coast Resort & Spa in Cyprus has been doing significantly reduced rates for the past few months. The deals can be found on the bookcyprus website and expedia. We managed to stay there for only 37 euros per night! Unfortunately, recently the price has crept up to about 50 euros per night (including breakfast) but it is still a bargain.

The price includes breakfast, a one bedroom apartment with cooking facilities and a balcony. The rooms are clean and often they will give you a partial sea view too. Unlike most hotels in Cyprus, the rooms have TVs which actually show decent channels such as BBC1 and ITV – a big perk for an expat with no TV!

The absolute best thing about Capital Coast Resort & Spa is that it has a fully equipped gym, indoor pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and plunge pool. All of these facilities can be used for free – in many of the hotels in Limassol they actually charge you to use their facilities.

Obviously there is a catch. The hotel is quite shabby in places. It could definitely do with some TLC and if you were paying full price, you might consider asking for your money back. However, at these prices, you have nothing to complain about!





How to Deal with Feline Acne

6 02 2010

A while ago I wrote a post about a little stray kitten that we found in the middle of a busy road. Scampington has turned out to be a delightful little chap who is exceptionally loving and rather handsome. However, he can be a bit too aggressive at times. Apparently mood swings and aggression are typical of cats who have been parted from their mother too young.

Scampington

Occasionally, it feels like we are living with a teenager – one minute craving love and the next minute rebelling. To top off the feeling of having a teenager in the house, it turns out Scamp has feline acne. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as feline acne.

It’s just under his chin and looks like small black flecks – a bit like black heads. Unlike human acne, the flecks rub off. We had fed him out of some plastic bowls which we periodically swapped around but plastic is believed to be one of the main causes of feline acne. We have now bought him a little ceramic dish which we wash daily.

We have also been washing his chin with 6% hydrogen peroxide. Luckily his chin hair is white otherwise it’d get bleached!

It’s early days but hopefully these efforts will work.





Scampington

11 11 2009

On friday night, my fiance and I received a little furry guest. He was in the middle of a busy city road, “frozen in fear”, being driven over by numerous cars. Luckily, he was so tiny and frightened that he stayed still and went between the car wheels.

Just as we pulled up, a man ran out of his car and grabbed the kitten and threw him on the side of the road before driving on. We were right next to our apartment block so my fiance pulled over and told me to grab the kitten whilst he parked the car.
scampi 022
At the back of my mind, I knew that we would be opening a can of worms (both literally and metaphorically) by rescuing him. I walked over to where he had been left and there he was clinging to a tree, trembling like a leaf and mewling hysterically. Throwing caution to the wind, I acted on my human instincts and scooped him into my arms. He nuzzled into me and didn’t even try to scratch.

The man who had helped him returned but it was clear that he was most likely with the UN and unable to take the furball in. We took him into our home and so began the rollercoaster that has been the last few days with Scampington.





French bistro in Nicosia

19 10 2009

French bistro nicosiaAs anyone who has tried to eat out in Nicosia will know, there are lots of options just not many good ones. Nicosia has a huge range of restaurants but most of them offer average food, high prices and poor service.

Last week, we had something to celebrate and decided to go out for dinner. Having never been there, we thought it was time to try “Brasserie au Bon Plaisir” the only French bistro in Nicosia.

The restaurant, located just off Griva Digeni and opposite the Russian Cultural Centre, recreates the look of a traditional french bistro. Sat on one of the outdoor tables – we were the first people there as locals tend to only arrive at restaurants after 9pm.

The menu is a little disorganised so we had to turn to the owner for wine advice. He recommended a delicious muscat which was dry and fruity. It was probably the best white wine we’ve had in Cyprus. They also offer a range of french beers as well as non-alcoholic drinks. We ordered mussels in blue cheese sauce and confit of duck with potatoes. The food was exquisite. The flavours were delicious and not over-powering as can sometimes be the case with French food. The duck was cooked perfectly and the mussels were big and had a good flavour. Portion sizes were good and the mussels came in a big, traditional pot.

Throughout the meal, the service was friendly and attentive – unusual for Cyprus. For dessert we shared some creme brulee. It was sublime. Having eaten out quite a bit, it was definitely up there as one of my best meals out ever. It was also very reasonably priced for Nicosia. If you’ve visited the French bistro in Nicosia then let me know what you think…

Brasserie au Bon Plaisir,  Alasias Street 15E, Reservations (+357) 96 75 51 11





Outrage over Cyprus Turtles

19 10 2009

Turtle in CyprusOver the past year, 25 turtles have lost their lives in fishing nets off the coast of Cyprus. A voluntary organisation called Episkopi Turtle Watch has been working to protect the little beasts which come to Cyprus to lay their eggs. Cypriot authorities have been trying to protect the beaches on which turtles lay their eggs and now it seems the main problem is coming from the British Base Authorities.

Turtle Watch has requested the British Bases to force fishermen to move nets from 5 metres offshore to 10 metres offshore at turtle nesting sites. So far this request has been refused.

The main problem for turtles is that they drown if they cannot come up for air within 40 minutes. When caught in nets, they tend to drown for this reason. The other problem is that often fishermen kill them if they are found alive in a net.

If you feel strongly about this then please sign this petitionhttp://www.ipetitions.com/petition/episkopiturtlewatch/





Cyprus Turtles

17 10 2009

cyprus turtleRecently I was with my family in Cyprus on holiday. We are all keen snorkelers and scuba divers and were taking the opportunity to enjoy the warm, blue waters of the mediterranean. My family were keen to see the cyprus turtles having read about turtle watching in cyprus on the plane so they paid out for a scuba diving trip having been promised that it was the right time of year to see turtles. They had a very enjoyable time diving off the coast of Cyprus. Sadly though the turtles eluded them!

A few days later we went snorkeling in a small harbour near Paphos. Suddenly one of us spotted a little head dart out of the water in the distance. We all swam over cautiously and there it was. A Cyprus turtle. Nestled down into the silt bed, it occasionally swam to the surface for a breath of air. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to swim next to it and gently touch its mossy shell. cyprus turtles

We went back to the same spot a few more times and each time the turtle was there. It really made our holiday to see a Cyprus turtle. Getting to swim with a turtle was such a wonderful experience that we all got involved in pulling out plastic bags and rubbish from the sea bed. Turtles often mistake plastic bags for jelly fish and it kills them. Next time you are in the sea spare a thought for the Cyprus turtles and turtles worldwide and take the time to pull some plastic bags out of the water.