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3:38pm on Thursday, 2nd August, 2007:

Impressions of Cyprus #2


The little shop across from the hotel where we buy water, batteries, maps and stuff, sells knuckle-dusters. They're on the counter, next to the lighters and the sign saying the chocolate is in the fridge.

Cypriot road signs are less frequent than British ones. I drove into Limassol today and practically performed a raster scan of the city before I found the old centre. What signs there were came up so suddenly it was sheer luck if you were in the right lane, and even if you were then the next turn was unlikely to be signposted.

Cypriot food is much better than I was expecting it to be, based on the Greek restaurants I've been to — I'm impressed. Even the tourist restaurants that you'd expect to serve stodge have good food. The desserts aren't all that great, but so long as they serve ice cream who cares? Oh, and the vegetarians among you who are planning to visit Cyprus can wring your hands with the angst you live for, because pretty well anything worth having as a main course here contains meat. Or just is meat.

Even when there is a road sign, you can't read it until you're almost upon it because the words are smaller. They have to put them twice, using Greek and Latin alphabets, so there's half as much room to fit in a town name.

In our hotel, our "personal chambermaid" is called Athina (according to the card she left in the room) (actually, make that ATHINA). She puts a chocolate on each of our beds in the evening. Lots of people in Cyprus seem to go the extra mile/1.5km when it comes to service — free drinks, free melon at the end of a meal, that kind of thing. All of it seems genuine rather than cynical, even ATHINA's chocolate-giving.

The accelerator pedal on a Volkswagon Touran has about an inch of play in it, if that. Still, what do you expect from a vehicle that's pretty well Horde?

Those no-smoking-in-restaurant laws haven't made it here yet, then.

The centre of Limassol is much more characterful than the centre of Nicosia.


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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).