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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back from Cyprus

Yes we're back from Cyprus after two blissful weeks. It was hot and sunny throughout, and on a couple of days quite uncomfortably hot in the early 90s. Quite a shock to get back to Stansted and see the rain and grey skies.

We stayed in a resort called Hotel Nausicaa (also known as Blue Village) where we were pretty much the only Brits among literally hundreds of Scandinavians. This had its advantages: they seem to be role model parents and their children, always beautifully dressed with sun hats, rarely cried or screamed like their British counterparts. In restaurants they sat smiling and eating the same food as their parents. How do they do it?

The hotel stands in beautiful grounds with the loungers arranged on grassy terraces. There were two swimming pools or you could walk to steps leading to the sea. The water was very clear and a stunnihng turquoise.

We were in a town called Protaras which is on the SE coast, about 8km from Ayia Napa. We went to Ayia Napa for dinner one night. I was amazed at how it has changed since I was last there in 1991. Then, it was just one street and a church. Now it's a sprawling development with a new harbour. It was indeed full of Brits, and after a pleasant dinner overlooking the harbour (delicious kalamari) we had a couple of drinks in the "Queen Vic" pub where the staff are mostly British and the beers are draught.

Eating out in Protaras is a hit-and-miss affair. It's a town developed only for tourists and offers a range of different dining experiences. What we found is that a restaurant can be excellent on one night, but terrible the next. For example, we sought out Anemos after seeing it was recommended in the AA Guide to Cyprus. The first visit was excellent: we both had fresh sea bream and it was wonderful, as was the Kyperounda chardonnay (a more expensive local wine at Cyprus £9.25). The restaurant wasn't too busy that time and the service was excellent. The second time, we decided to go for a meze (18 courses). It started off very well with the dips, grilled halloumi and garlic mushrooms. But chips were brought before the final plate of meat, so we had nothing to accompany the pork souvla, spit roasted chicken and sausage. The meat was either dry or fatty, and it was disappointing there was no fish course. This time the restaurant was very busy and the service was bad.

The most consistent restaurant was the Nicolai Tavern. We went there four times and had a good experience every time, more or less (John's pork souvla was a bit dry). Their house wines were unusually good, and the kalamari stifado was excellent. But the puddings were disappointing: just crepes or ice cream.

Our last night was reserved for Parko, a hotel restaurant with better than average service where we'd enjoyed an excellent tornedos Rossini on a previous visit. But, such is life: on our last night, not only were we sat next to some smoking Brits on the left and a screaming toddler on the right, the food was terrible too. John's tornedos Rossini was rare rather than the medium he requested, and my sea bream was dry and bony.

If you've never visited Cyprus I'd recommend going to the northern (Turkish) side which is prettier and more undeveloped. It's a long time since I was last in the Greek side (1991) and it's been developed hugely since then. It's a wonderful placew for sightseeing and variety.

1 comment:

lucylastic said...

It looks and sounds fab Gail! And your tan makes me very envious!!!!! Glad you had an enjoyable time.



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