Friday, 31 August 2012

Adieu, adieu .... to yieu and yieu and yieuuuu ....... Cyprus

Greetings dahlink! I can't bloody believe it. Only one day left until autumn starts ....... bringing with it the rain, the wind and the cold. Hang on a cotton-pickin' minute, that sounds exactly like the summer we have just had.

All the seasons in the UK are morphing into one big piss-fest. My house constantly smells of damp mutt, mainly because Naughty George is constantly damp. And I have nearly worn out my wellies, at a time when I should be donning spangly sandals.

There is good news though. The miserable weather has inspired me to finish off the posts about my holiday in Cyprus. Firstly because I wanted to see pictures that had sunny shit in them, and secondly because I was boring myself having to focus on one subject for too long. And believe me, I am a hard person to bore. Only yesterday I entertained myself (on my own) for a whole hour by seeing how long I could balance various kitchen implements on my head. The colander won, and the whisk came last. 

Anyway, I digress. Back to my holiday in Cyprus. I decided to lump all the photographs into one last post. When I say 'last', I don't mean it literally. I am coming back (unless I get run over by a motability scooter). I mean my last Cyprus post. And because I am like Mother Theresa, except that I don't wear sackcloth knickers (that's gotta chafe), I have got these pictures for you ...............

1. A walk around the headland to Paphos (I think it might be the capital of Cyprus)

Pic.No.1 We started out at Faros beach. There are so many English people living in Cyprus, that most of the signs are in Greek and English. Which is handy because Greek is all Greek to me

Pic.No.2 On the way to Paphos, they had lots of benches in boxes

Pic.No.3 We walked about a mile around the headland until we could see the castle at Paphos in the background. Steve, Izzy and I posed for a picture and because Steve is my ex, he did the obligatory 'gun to my temple' pose

Pic.No.4 This is the castle that we encountered as we entered Paphos from our walk around the headland. Apparently it hails from Byzantine times, but that doesn't me anything to me because I got a 'U' in history. All I can say is that it looks like some bits of the wall have flopped into the sea

Pic.No.5 A load of fishing boats moored in Paphos harbour. After snorkelling in Cyprus, I can only conclude that they all live off little blue and yellow fishes the size of a teaspoon that has been cut in half. It must do wonders for weight loss

Pic.No.6 There were loads of outdoor restaurants surrounding Paphos harbour, but at 6pm it was waaaaay to early for the Greeks to sit down for their evening meal, hence the quietness

Pic.No.7 After visiting Paphos harbour, we rounded the final bit of headland and hit Paphos bay. And then Izzy pretended to faint for comedy effect. That's my gal

Pic.No.8 This is Paphos bay. It wasn't my favourite place in Cyprus because it was too touristy. See that man on the left, he was trying to persaude us to eat in his restaurant. There where lots of men like that all along the bay at different eateries

Pic.No.9 But eventually we succumbed to their persausive powers because we were starving and Izzy was showing signs of Beri Beri (or it might have been the ice-cream she scoffed earlier). But hell, a happy hour goes a long way towards placation (my ex-outlaws are featured in this picture)

Pic.No.10 Following a meal out in Paphos we headed back home to our apartments in Pegia

Pic.No.11 The apartment in which Izzy was staying with Nanny Sue and Grandad Paul had a fairy house on the veranda. If Izzy put a marshmellow on the fairy doorstep before she went to bed, there would be a present for her in the morning. Magic!

2. A day out at the Water Park in Ayia Napa

Hmmmmm. Everyone had been jumping up and down with excitement about our visit to the Water Park. Except me. I don't like wearing swimming costumes in public because it's like walking around in nothing more than underwear. And I don't like walking around in bare feet, standing on other people's discarded plasters and shedded hair. Anything that sticks to naked parts of your body is gross in my book.

But despite that, I decided to be stoical and join in the fun.

Pic.No.12 This is a random picture of what it looked like in the Water Park

Pic.No.13 Izzy cooled off by splashing around in the wave pool. Obviously the waves weren't on, or she would have been flung onto the shore in an unsafe fashion

Pic.No.14 Izzy did her best impression of James Bond emerging from the azure sea. Except that she didn't kill any baddies who were stroking a white cat

Pic.No.15 If she had the opportunity (and she frequently does) Izzy would spend hours in the water. I am surprised that her hair hasn't turned green

Pic.No.16 Steve erupts from a water slide wearing the skimpiest of 'budgie smugglers'. All he needed was a moustache and a tool-belt to complete the look

Pic.No.17 It's the ex father-out-law, enjoying the sunshine. He has just had two new tattoos done on his arms. Moving to Cyprus has given him and his Mrs a new lease of life. They are now crazy sausages

Pic.No.18 This was in the car park of the Water Park. One day ...... if I work long and hard enough

 Pic.No.19 After the trauma of spending a whole day in a swimming costume, I was glad to get dressed and end up in a marvellous restaurant, high in the hills of Pegia

Pic.No.20 Izzy posing with her Grandad Paul. I taught her everything she knows

And so finally, we arrive at our last day in Cyprus

Pic.No.30 On our last day we decided to visit a lovely village called Agios Georgios that was scattered around a beautiful bay

Pic.No.31 The water was crystal clear, unlike the beaches in the UK which have turds and condoms bobbing around

Pic.No.32 Here are all the boats belonging to the fisherman. It's fair to say that they don't look like they were busting a gut. Mind you, I would give up, if all I could catch were little yellow and blue fish

Pic.No.33 Then after wondering around the bay, we decided to have our last supper before we had to catch our flight home. The outlaws took us to a restuarant high in the hills, called Viklari Restaurant (aka The Last Castle). This is a picture of the entrance

Pic.No.34 Steve looked good in this picture

Pic.No.35 Beyond the entry arch to the Viklari restaurant, aka The Last Castle (opens in a new window), there was a winding path surrounded by flowers which took us to the main eating area

Pic.No.36 The main eating area was awesome. It was a large outdoor space perched on the edge of a mountain, with a canopy of vines shielding us from the sun. Can you see the bunches of grapes hanging down?

Pic.No.37 This was the view from our table - a panorama of Akamas Bay. Bloody marvellous it was

Pic.No.38 And the outlaws seemed to be enjoying themselves. They've probably realised that they were shortly going to get their apartment back

Pic.No.39 A picture of the bar area in the Viklari restaurant, again draped with grapes

Pic.No.40 Oh look! It's me and Izzy. I love pictures with me in

Pic.No.41 The menu was very simple. You could either choose pork or chicken (yep, that was the entire menu). Or both (if you were pushing the boat out). The meat was then freshly prepared on their BBQ and was served with a luscious salad and the biggest chips (fries) I have ever encountered. The Viklari took simple and did it very, very well. Boyakkashaa Viklari!

Pic.No.42 This is Izzy posing on the wall of the Viklari restaurant .... you can see a banana crop below and the Mediterranean sea beyond

Pic.No.43 This is a picture of the full posse, taken by a waitress. I was a bit distressed by the fact that I looked like a news reader with unusually sticky-out baps

Pic.No.44 On our way out, I did a bit of exploring and found the "kitchen" where all the meat was cooked. It was all done on a huge BBQ round the back of the restaurant. Bloody amazing

And so dahlink, that was my trip to Cyprus. Five hours after that last photograph was taken, Steve, Izzy and me were on a flight back to blighty. It was a Monarch flight (aka Rubber Band Airlines), so suffice to say the seats didn't have any tolerance .... i.e. if you were fat, you would haved needed a shoe-horn. 

The flight time was around 3 hours and 52 minutes, and when we descended on Gatwick, guess what we saw? Yep ....... bloody rain. Loads of it. Ahhh ...... welcome back to the UK. 

So have you been on any holidays this summer dahlink?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

I've been hanging out with the Monks in Kykkos .... yes really

Dahlink, I'm back. I have just returned from a holiday in Cornwall, UK. And suffice to say that, to my horror, I had virtually no internet connection for eight days. It was like going back in time to 2009. I am surprised that people weren't clad in sackcloth and eating gruel.

However, I digress. My Cornish holiday is for another post because I haven't finished posting about my holiday in Cyprus yet. Ye gods, I am slacking. That's what happens if you try and fit too many sneaky holidays into the diary. But the way I look at it, Izzy needed to be entertained during the school holidays, and spending 6 weeks baking flapjacks and cupcakes at home would be the equivalent of a self-administered lobotomy.

Anyway, back to Cyprus where I was holidaying with the Izzy (the hooligan), Steve (the ex), and Mr and Mrs W (the ex-outlaws).

Mr and Mrs W asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted to do whilst I was in Cyprus. As luck would have it, I had already researched 'things to do in Cyprus', and had come up with a marvellous idea.

I cleared my throat: "I would like to visit the Kykkos Monastery in the Troodos mountains please."

The monastery was high up in the mountains (at an altitude of nearly a mile), was founded in the 11th century, and was the wealthiest monastery in Cyprus. Result: single chaps with lots of money and a great view: we couldn't go wrong.

Mr W didn't look impressed, "that is berluddy moiles away," he replied in his Birmingham accent.

"Yow did ask 'er what she wanted to do," piped up Mrs W.

"Spose so," he acquiesced.

So it happened that early on Thursday morning, we set off on our journey through the Troodos mountains. And because I am as kind as a monk (and I wear black dresses too - we've already got loads in common), I have got some pictures for you ......

Pic.No.1 The journey to Kykkos got steep very quickly

Vid.No.1 A view of the Cyprus mountains (22 seconds)

Pic.No.2 And as we progressed along the two and a half hour drive through the mountains, the scenery got wilder and the mountains got higher

Pic.No.3 You can just about see the road winding up the side of the mountain. It was like something out of the 'Italian Job' except that we weren't racing

Pic.No.4 Mr and Mrs W posing with Izzy after we stopped in the middle of nowhere for a break. I quickly realised that Nintendos are more interesting to hooligans than mountains

Pic.No.5 Hurrah! It's me at last. When this picture was taken, it had been an hour and a half since we had last seen any signs of civilisation. Who knew that Cyprus was so big?

Pic.No.6 I tried to capture how steep the mountains were. But they looked loads steeper in real life

Pic.No.7 After nearly three hours of driving up steep mountain trails, we eventually arrived at the Kykkos Monastery. I thought I had altitude sickness but it was probably Bolly-withdrawel. I hadn't been able to find any in Cyprus

Pic.No.8 We had to walk around the Monastery to find the entrance. From the outside it looked a bit like a prison

Pic.No.9 But then it stopped looking like a prison when we spied the entrance with it's breathtaking gold mosaics

Pic.No.10 This was the ceiling of the entrance hall. Those blokes on the left were the 'Clothes Police'. Basically, if you weren't covered up enough, they made you put on modesty gowns (which they supplied)

Pic.No.11 This was the main courtyard around which the monastery was mainly built

Pic.No.12 Mr and Mrs W were asked to wear modesty gowns because their legs were hanging out. Gawd knows what would happen if the monks saw some leg. It could get out of hand quite quickly I suppose

Pic.No.13 A view of the upper terrace in the main courtyard

Pic.No.14 The terraces all had amazing gold-leaf mosaics. If I was a criminal, I would have taken a blowtorch and made some gold bullion

Pic.No.15 Crikey, Mrs W looks like a contemplative monk in this picture. Upon further questioning, it turned out that she was thinking about pies

Pic.No.16 This is a view of the second courtyard inside of the monastery. The door on the bottom right led into the shop. And all you could buy there were rosaries and bibles. They would clean-up if they extended their repertoire to hamburgers

Pic.No.17 In this one, you can see how far the monastery goes up into the hillside and you can see a chap's stomach resting on the balustrades

Pic.No.18 This was one of the corridors leading to the Monk's "cells". Apparently monks sleep in cells, not bedrooms ...... but I'm not sure why .... have they been bad or something?

Pic.No.19 This is a picture of the monks' well. Yep, I thought it was a boring picture too

Pic.No.20 The whole place was decorated in a spectacular fashion

Pic.No.21 There was a bloody great Galleon hanging down from the ceiling

Pic.No.22 It's about time I got another picture of me and Izzy in. Here we are standing in front of a mosaic of some religious chaps

Pic.No.23 A corridor leading to more Monks' cells. All the doors were tiny - why's that then? But I have to say that the cells were nothing compared to the monastery's piece de resistance ......

Pic.No.24 This was the monastery's church ........... I'd never seen so much gold in one place before

Pic.No.25 ..... and that was before I clocked the altar ............. Jeez! it was gold-tastic

Pic.No.26 It was like something that Indiana Jones unwittingly discovered after fighting his way through a snake pit and out-running a huge stone ball. And see those pictures of religious peeps in the background? Visitors were queuing up for ages to kiss them

Pic.No.27 As we made our way back out of the monastery through the first courtyard, I rued the fact that I hadn't seen a monk

Pic.No.28 But as luck would have it, I spied a monky-type chap just as I arrived at the exit. He's the one in the black dress

Pic.No.29 On the journey home, we spotted Mount Olympus (the largest moutain in Cyprus). It's the one in the distance with all the clouds over it. That's me in front of it. My flip flops have got a bottle-opener built into the sole

Pic.No.30 This is a lake that we passed on the way home ...... Cyprus sure is purrrrdey

Pic.No.31 Now this is intriuging ....... we passed this place called 'Polemi Concentration Camp'. Apparently it was used to imprison Jews in the 1940s and has remained untouched since then. But I can't find any records of it on Wiki or anywhere...... sinister or what?

Pic.No.32 But the best bit of all was sepnding the evening in a Cypriot restaurant called Spilies Tavern Bar (the most rubbish website on the planet - it hardly mentions the restaurant) that was housed inside a cave. The weather was warm so we ate outside on the veranda ..................

Pic.No.33 I ordered the 'meze' (a selection of 15 small dishes - a bit like tapas), and it was sex on a plate. Here you can see stuffed vine leaves and spicy cous cous. Nom nom nom. If you are in Cyrpus, go there. It is proper local cuisine

So my lovely, have you got up to anything exciting over the summer holidays?

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