After just one night in Sofia, the four of us (me, Yana, my mom, and my grandma) set off for a few days in Cyprus. The flight is about two hours from Sofia to Larnaca, made all the more enjoyable by the fact that we got seats with extra legroom. My uncle met us at the airport and took us for a quick motor tour around Larnaca before depositing us at the apartment to get settled in.
We stopped by one of the beaches we would later visit to look at the view and visited the Larnaca Salt Lake to take some pictures. There are usually flamingos there, but we weren’t lucky enough to see any. Nevertheless, we got some beautiful shots of the sunset and the expanse of salt flats. It was a little bit of a weird coincidence that Utah also has a salt lake since overall the suburbs of Larnaca reminded me of the suburbs of Utah.
Once we unloaded our bags, we took a stroll around the neighborhood to one of the “kiosks”, or convenience stores, for some refreshments. Most people in Cyprus speak English, so making ourselves understood wasn’t much of an issue.
For dinner, we went to a seafood restaurant on the water and took a stroll on the docks in the marina. It was pretty neat to see actual fishermen on their boats, cleaning their nets, and preparing for the next day of fishing. I’m not a huge fan of seafood, but even I can appreciate freshly fried fish and chips. After dinner, we drove to the main drag in Larnaca for an evening walk. There were all these exercise machines installed on the sidewalks like playground equipment, and we had a blast trying them all out. The city felt really familiar, and not too different from Bulgarian cities, so it was weird not being able to understand the language around us.
Day 2: Nissi Beach & Camel Park
Ah, the beach: the quintessential vacation getaway. The Mediterranean was everything I wanted it to be and more. The temperature was perfect, the sea breeze was refreshing, and the water was a clear blue-green color I’ve only ever seen in my dreams. This, this is a vacation. Interestingly, the sand isn’t naturally this white and clean; it turns out they import it from Egypt—every year!
On our drive around on the first day, we saw a billboard for the camel park, and naturally, that had to be featured on our itinerary, so we headed there after the beach. The camel park had a playground and a little zoo with random animals—porcupines, ostriches, bunnies, wallabies, and little deer. The playground had more of the same exercise equipment and a rotating seesaw. We got to feed the camels and even go on a ride around the park! Being twelve feet in the air is exhilarating, and there’s something about the slow, steady plod that’s weirdly calming, so it’s an interesting dichotomy to experience. If I have the chance, I’d definitely do it again.
After the camel park, we drove up the hills for a souvlaki picnic, Larnaca-style. My uncle had the whole grill set up, with motorized skewer spinners and authentic wooden coals. We got to see the view briefly before the sun set, and then we had a lovely dinner with my cousin, her boyfriend, and my aunt and uncle.
Day 3: Faros Beach & Limassol
Back-to-back beach days are basically bliss. Faros Beach wasn’t as groomed as Nissi, but it still had all the amenities: outdoor shower, changing rooms, lounge chairs and umbrellas, and of course, wifi. We got to the beach pretty early and enjoyed our lovely Greek pastries on the empty beach before the sun started to beat down overhead. We spent plenty of time in the water. Once you got past the shallows full of seaweed, it was clear, cool, and absolutely wonderful. Bear Lake is nice, but the saltwater makes swimming much more relaxing and lazy.
After a quick pitstop at the apartment for a shower and fresh clothes, we set out to see the biggest city in Cyprus, with a stop in a quaint little village on the way. The village was absurdly picturesque: literally ever building facade could have been the backdrop for some magazine photo shoot. A quick loop around the cobblestone streets and we had seen everything there was to see in this cute little place. I love the peaceful vibe of the little villages, it really makes me think about the way I live my life, and the fast pace of the city.
By the time we got to Limassol, the sun was setting. We enjoyed a lovely seafood dinner on the marina and walked around to see the sights.
Day 4: Limassol, Take 2
The last day in Cyprus, we had a lovely morning eating pastries and talking about our family history. My uncle is really into ancestry, and it was pretty cool to hear stories about my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents, and a part of my family history. Then we set off for a few more hours in Limassol before we flew out. We walked along the sea in the park, stopping for bubble tea.
We packed as much as we could into four short days, even picking up authentic gyros on the way to the airport. The weather cooperated and we somehow managed to avoid the heat waves that have been making their way through this beautiful island. Cyprus was incredible, and I’m glad I have family there so I have an excuse to visit again!
Up next, the last couple of days in Sofia.