We went to the Harbour in Paphos a couple of times and despite a few of those usual touristy souvenir shops, it pretty much still had that local feel to it. I loved watching the men fishing, watching the taxi drivers playing Backgammon on the street as they waited for customers, and really wanted to see what life was like in the traditional villages.
On the Saturday we went on a coach excursion called 'Love Cyprus'. I was really looking forward to this trip as I knew we would be visiting a village and would also be seeing Aphrodites Rock.
The village, Omodos, is based in the Troödos Mountains and was everything I wanted it to be. It was a beautiful day anyway, not really really warm but warm enough. The sky was blue and the sun was shining so I couldn't complain!
I have a bit of a dislike of visiting other countries and finding that their towns and villages are geared more towards tourists, in the wrong kind of way. So rather than shops selling traditional items, and pieces specific to that country, they are instead full of tacky tat you can get in any other British style resort in any other country. I feel quite passionate about visiting another country and experiencing their way of life, and not expecting them to be more like us to make us happy. Surely, if that's what we want then we should just stay in the UK and holiday here?
Anyway, this village wasn't at all like that.
With it being Winter season it was all pretty quite, which was rather lovely and created this beautiful atmosphere. At times I felt like I was in the same village from Beauty and the Beast, although on a quite day, and there was no singing.
We walked along cobbled streets, streets with cracked pavements, most dotted with squashed oranges that had fallen from the trees.
Locals stood in the shop doorways, saying hello and handing out samples of bread, nuts and other local snacks.
We went into the monastery although as the excursion party was quite big we didn't really get to hear much and I was concerned that the boys might get bored so we didn't really learn too much about that which was a shame. They do claim that part of Jesus' cross is in there though, which was interesting. I had a look on the internet when we got home and realised how big the monastery actually is and how really we only saw a tiny piece of it.
From here we went on to a winery which was.....brief and a bit disappointing. We had visited another winery the day before and had such a lovely experience wine tasting so it was a let down to only have one tiny shot glass of a wine we didn't really know anything about. Again, it was really full because of the excursion party so we walked out into the street and waited to be taken on to the taverna for lunch.
The previous day we were also taken for lunch at a beautiful local restaurant in Latchi. We were served a Meze and the food was never ending! It was exactly the same at this place and we realised how rubbish the food is that we have at home sometimes, in terms of flavour. Food in Cyprus seems to be so fresh, and simple, using herbs and spices to bring out flavour rather than over-powering sauces.
We were told to meet our coach at 4 o clock and looking at my watch I was shocked to see it was 3.30! I desperately wanted some shopping time so we left and headed back into the main hub of the village. Here I bought a beautiful embroidered table runner, some local Turkish Delight for my mum, some giant Cyprus pencils for the boys (ok, these can be classed as tourist tat but they needed them) and also a couple of wooden catapults for them to hang in their rooms.
I felt really sad leaving the village. I think the atmosphere totally captivated me and I wanted to see more. I wanted to explore more of the village in the day time, but also to see how it changes in the evening.
If you go on holiday to Cyprus, ensure that this village is on your list of places to visit.