Dear Readers

I really hope that you enjoy this brand new website that focuses on giving you an exciting insider glimpse into Cyprus! With handy tips and great ideas for the avid traveller and curious local alike, I’ve been in my element putting it all together. I have, after all, worked up quite a reputation among peers, friends and family for being a die-hard Cyprus aficionado. And yes, I’ll make no secret of the fact that I can be one of those terribly annoying people who’ll be on holiday – anywhere in the world – and suddenly blurt out that something is not quite as good as it is back home.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore discovering foreign lands, possessing a rather insatiable travel bug and itchy feet raring to go just about anywhere. But there’s something about this place that I simply can’t get enough of, not just because it’s my home country, but because its character is so very paradisiacal. What’s the best of it all for me? Undoubtedly, the glorious weather. Nothing beats waking up in the morning and looking out at endless blues skies. Gloom and rain are such a rarity that us locals actually walk around with a beaming smile on our face the moment that the skies open and a downpour begins.

As cheesy as it may sound, Cyprus really is a place for all seasons. Start off at the beach and you’ll feel like you’re living a summer dream. End the day with a drive through the towering pine clad Troodos Mountains and you’ll be pulling out your jumpers and reaching for the hot chocolate once you get to the top. And then there’s the food, oh the glorious food! It’s got to be right up there at the very top of the list of island splendours – the absolute crème de la crème of Cypriot glories.

Local fare is fresh, it’s pure and it’s healthy. And I’m not the only one to declare that it’s absolutely exquisite. Just make sure that you stay well away from tourist traps in the coastal towns and you can’t go far wrong. Pick a busy place where the locals are dining, ask for a full meze, and your taste buds will thank you for it as you tantalise them with each and every bite.

As for my favourite spots on the island, I like nothing more than packing my bags and heading to the west of the country to make the most of the quiet bliss on the idyllic shores beyond Paphos that stretch out towards the picture perfect Akamas wilderness. That’s not to forget the picturesque stone built villages punctuating the rural landscape that bring the past to life in the most wonderful way. From Lania to Lofou, Kalopanayiotis to Kathikas, the labyrinth of narrow dusty lanes bring forth a whole new quintessentially Cypriot discovery every step of the way.

But when push comes to shove, if I had to choose just one place to spend my day, I readily admit that I’m a city girl at heart and enjoy nothing more than starting off with a sumptuous brunch, leading on to a spot of shopping and a good old natter with friends at one of the many quirky cafés now strewn across the cool capital. And when the sun goes down over the cityscape? There’s nothing quite like downing a good old glass of fine vino while devouring a cheese platter at a hip and happening wine bar as the night sets in. But here I am, blabbing away, and there’s one thing that I’ve rather shamefully forgotten: the people. Because without the great people and glorious hospitality, Cyprus just wouldn’t be the inviting place that it is. It may sound cheesy, but it can’t be denied. Sure, things may not quite be the way they were fifty years ago when everyone knew their neighbours in the village community, but we still retain that wonderful Mediterranean warmth that simply makes you smile.

I’ll never forget a short stint which saw me leave Cyprus to live in London for a while. One of the first things I did on my return was to take a stroll through one of my favourite areas in the capital, specifically the winding streets of old Nicosia, a hub of town cocooned by the grandiose Venetian walls that oozes a palpably irresistible charm as history brilliantly befriends modernity. The moment I stepped foot in the area, the way I was greeted by local residents, restaurateurs and shopkeepers was simply unforgettable.

One called me in for a dash of ice cold Zivania (a sinfully strong yet marvellous spirit), another put on a complimentary spread for me at her family run restaurant with my favourite koupepia (stuffed vine leaves) taking pride of place on the table, while a local baker I’ve been going to since I was a child cried out to give me some freshly baked cheese pies. So here I am, raving about food again. But somehow, the warmth of this country, its marvellous cuisine, compellingly intricate culture, and kind-hearted people are all intrinsically linked. And if you’ve had even just a few days to indulge in local cuisine, I can well imagine that you’ll have oohed and aaahed at a few heavenly dishes that should well excuse my wild enthusiasm!

Take good care,

Zoe

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