Saturday, October 14, 2006

Impressions of Cyprus Part 2

We were familiar with the streets of Corfu Town and the smaller town our friends used to live in; so much so that I could close my eyes and navigate to any of the locations we used to go to. It was a place where I was definitely in my comfort zone.

Cyprus was an unknown, even after studying maps and gudie books before coming out I was none the wiser. Take the scale for instance, in Corfu I could tell you the time it would take me to get to somewhere but out here, goodness knows. Now, I can almost hear you saying but that's the same for everyone who visits a new place; to that I would say yes and perhaps I am not doing justice to the unease I felt at going to these new places, having to get familiar with the bus routes, etc.

Obstensibly we had come to see our friends and anything else was a bonus. For instance, we are staying just 2 minutes walk from what is called a supermarket out here, not your out of town conglomerate but say a Spar shop in the UK or one of those 9-till-late stores in the US, (I forget the generic name for them), they seem to be every 500 metres, bonus; next to that is a bar, a bonus, though drinks bought from the store to be drunk at home are more economical and I am on something of an economy drive.

I went in to the supermarket on the first full day here and picked up some postcards. Before I had managed to no more than start to utter gramatossima (stamps) the Cypriot lady asked, in perfectly good English, whether I would like stamps for them. I had been told by several friends that on Cyprus a majority of people spoke very good English, but I still went around expecting to find a lot of people who would rather speak Greek; not so, I found a lot of people who would tolerantly listen to my efforts and then answer in extrememly good English, a bonus, especially in those circumstances when my most basic grasp of the language faltered over concepts or future/past tenses (often).

We got to learn the streets armed with a map and basically walking them. Orientation started with the old port; this, like arriving by boat in Corfu, led to the tourist area. We found ourselves walking through the old part of the town frequently and this is how we got to know Cabellaros opposite the castle, the caf?/restaurant I have already written about. From there we turned a corner and found ourselves in Agiou Andreiou or St.Andrew Street, a long street that in it's first third, (measured from the old port end), contains many of the types of shops we found between Corfu's port and it's Liston building.

St.Andrew Street runs all the way to the municipal gardens and at the end furthest from the port it meets a sort of skewed crossroads, where the Starbucks, (I have written about in my previous post), exists. Just along past the right hand of Starbucks, as you face it, is the Municipal Gardens.

Note: if you pass by the left of Starbucks you can walk less than 500 metres and the last building on your left, before the road junction, (a roundabout with large fountain in the middle), is the biggest bookshop in Limassol - Kyriakkou Bookshop. The bookshop has a dark tinted door and three windows displaying some books. As you enter the foyer contains magazines, currently Greek on the right and English on the left, hence the need for a tinted door to protect the covers. Be warned, magazines and books in Cyprus are not cheap. You check out charity sales of second books by buying an English language Cypriot newspaper, Cyprus Mail (daily), Cyprus Weekly (every Friday) or Sunday Mail (the Cyprus Mail's sunday paper that comes with a magazine called Seven, that I found contained some interesting articles). They both have online editions. I may have created a bad link as far as previous references to the Mail goes, I can't really check until I get home and go online but the above links should be fine as I just read them from the actual newpapers.

The Municipal Gardens has a zoo in it, but I would not recommend it for a visit, from the little I have seen from the park. On the whole I wouldn't recommend zoos.

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A married Cornishman who is getting an inkling of what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for the NHS. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]

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