By Isha Khasgiwala
If you are looking forward to enjoy a pleasant sunny day with a cool breeze all-round the year, pellucid water to dive in, a developed country with low tax rate yet modernized public facilities, my friend, Cyprus is the place for you! It is the 3rd biggest island of Mediterranean, with endless spectacular views located in the middle of Greece and Turkey. Cyprus is a summer hub for many European and Russians as it is only 3 hours of flying time for them.
I visited Limassol, Cyprus for a work trip in December 2019. This place has something, I must say! While landing, I could see the glorious coastline. I was glued to my window, rolling my eyes trying to capture the natural beauty! From that very moment, I knew I would love the place!! I was on a new project, which involved exploring the citizenship by investment program in Cyprus. The work involved exploring the city, upcoming infrastructure, meeting investment agents at some fancy lunch and dinner joints and endless Cyprus coffee. Being a foodie, this was an absolute leisure for me!
My flight landed at Larnaca International airport in the morning … My destination was Limassol, which is an hour’s drive from the airport. Larnaca is a small airport. So it did not take me long to reach near the exit gate. The first thing one needs in a foreign country, is a local sim card. I checked around apart from cafes and information desk, there was no other shop. I saw an old uncle with a suitcase decorated, with leaflets written sim card and internet card in bold letters. I was reluctant to buy from him. There was no other option. I had almost decided to get one from the city but then saw another traveller buying a sim card from him. That gave me some reliance and I followed to get one for myself. Old uncle turned out to be warm and helping. He could speak English and helped me pick a suitable card. I got a Euro 2.5 card with unlimited net for 2 weeks. He was kind enough to activate it and even asked me, if I need any other help.
Once you have the internet you know you can manage in any alien land so I was sorted. My transport was prearranged: so I just had to call the driver. The moment I stepped out of the airport exit, strong cold breeze welcomed me. It took me 50 minutes to reach the Limassol city, I enjoyed my time by viewing beautiful countryside and some chitchat with the driver. Once I checked into the hotel room, I realized that there was a happy realization of jetlag. My first meeting was in evening: so I freshened up and retired.
During the stay, I enjoyed morning walks by the beach and noticed variety of cats popping out from nowhere. People in Cyprus are warm and welcoming. Culture is mixed as there are frequent foreign travellers; many have a summer house as well. In the meeting, I generally found men shaking hands and women kissed on cheek!
Cypriots are mainly family-centric. They generally enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Being surrounded by sea they do many water sports. I learned few words during the trip:-
- Good Morning- Kaleemeerah! ;
- Good night! – Kaleenihkta!;
- How are you? – Ti Kanis;
- Thank you- Efharisto;
- Yes -Nei ; No -Ohi;
- Coffee -kafeneion
Cyprus Islands have a rich history due to its location that crosses three continents namely Europe, Asia, Africa. It has variety of influences, all of which add to the local gastronomy. The meal would typically include several types of cheese, olives, classical sauces, seafood, meat and of course fresh bread. You get fresh Halloumi (made from mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk), which originated in Cyprus! Feta Cheese is like “Paneer” to them. They make salad, stuffed breads, dips and desserts from it.
Locals love their coffee. Traditional Cypriot Coffee is an Espresso taken short and black served in small cups, along with a glass of cold water, as it is considered strong. So it is sipped slowly. Every meeting was followed by coffee with biscuits and bakery. Well it also helped me beat jetlag.
Couple of places that I tried were:
- Plussea lifestyle bar,
- Charcoal grill,
- Yasemin restaurant,
- Fat fish restaurant,
- Cyprus Casino,
- Seasons Oriental-
- Four seasons hotel
In Cyprus, you will be able to find fresh oranges almost all year round, the main season for oranges are in the months of October to December. I was mesmerized to see trees loaded with ready to pick orange and lemon planted along the road, gardens, inside the houses. It reminded me of Spain, where I found something similar. I had many opportunities to easily pluck them, but then I had to behave myself. Plus who wants to take a chance in foreign land.
After travelling many countries, one thing I understand is doing “touristy stuff” is not sufficient. If you haven’t experienced the culture, interacted with locals, tried the regional food, then you haven’t really explored the place.
I hope you got a glimpse of Cyprus from my trip. Ciao Cyprus!
About Isha: Isha is a Finance professional on weekdays and a chef on weekends. Isha was born and brought up in India and now she is working in Hong Kong. She can be found hunting down the newest restaurants and cafe in the city, sipping on Indian tea , or cooking some healthy recipes. She writes on Vegan and Vegetarian food that she has tried over her travel to various countries. You can reach her on social media platforms (link on the top)
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