I haven’t blogged for a while as I was busy preparing for my trip to Cyprus and there seemed to be so many details to think about but I have arrived and did my first gig yesterday at the Strawberry Fair in Larnaka.
The main craft area
The old stone steps that have worn
A cafe gallery
My trip didn’t start well as my taxi failed to turn up to take me to the station. I pre-booked it the day before but used a company I haven’t used for years and needless to say will never use again. As their number was permanently engaged I phoned a different taxi company who came straight away. Sadly I missed my train by a whisker and as that ticket was also pre-booked and only valid for that time train I had to buy another ticket. Not a promising start.
We seemed to make good time on the flight and were going to arrive early but as we were descending, suddenly the plane pulled up to start ascending again with no explanation and did a few circuits before landing on time? We could only assume there was no landing space. Well I had arrived in one piece and my cousin Michael was there to meet me so I began to relax.
I had to get up early to collect the hire car from Lefkosia town and duly drove down to Larnaka. The sun was in a cloudless sky and the car was going smoothly, these days there are so many lights and bells that it’s difficult to know what is what but all seemed fine. When I arrived in Larnaka I knew the area where the college was but having so many narrow streets and one way roads, it isn’t always easy to arrive in a straightforward manner. So consequently I arrived just as the Fair had started. But after I had been placed in a breezy location and settled down I began to take in my surroundings.
The Cyprus college of art is situated in a beautiful old town house and has the feel of all art colleges, or art colleges used to be in my early days, that is, dusty with messy edges. The craft stalls were laid out in the central wide corridor in the middle of the house which has doors either end to allow a cool breeze. This is called the iliakos in Greek. There was a steady flow of people and the second hand bookstall did very well. There were a group of German ladies who had an assortment of different novelties and crafts on their stall as well as a glass artist, a painter and so on. Of course there were strawberries which are in season now in Cyprus, they are large and juicy. I didn’t have a huge success in terms of sales but I did make a few good connections which is often of more benefit.
Tired and warm I made my weary way home after going the wrong way at first of course, I settled on the motorway to Lefkosia with the radio playing when I noticed a faint pinging noise like an alarm going off. I couldn’t see anything untoward on the dashboard but who can tell?
So I pulled over switched everything off and waited a few minutes then re-started the engine. Just as I set off there it was again. Do you know what it was? I had put my heavy bag on the passenger seat and there was a red light flashing telling me the seat belt wasn’t fastened! Cars are such fussy things these days, you have to do everything according to their rules.
A few days ago I wrote about my dilemma in finding the best way to get about the island. I am now clearer about how long I want to spend where and on advice from fellow blogger Sarah, I have gone for the most convenient date for giving the talk at the Cyprus College of Art. After wracking my brains trying to come up with a way of fitting in around the 19th April I just gave up and went for my original date of the 26th April. This is the day I leave and as my flight doesn’t take off until 10.30 pm it gives me plenty of time to drop by at the College and give a talk on my way to the airport which is only 15 minutes away. So I start my trip at the College attending the Strawberry Fair in aid of a local Cancer Charity on the 7th where I will be selling copies of the book (and signing them should anyone ask) and I finish with giving a talk at the college.
The Cyprus College of Art holds lectures every Friday afternoon starting at 4.30 pm and lasting about 45 minutes. Among the attendees are usually some members of the local U3A group. When I heard this I was quite surprised as I didn’t know U3A existed in Cyprus. I belong to my local U3A in Chichester although I have to say I haven’t attended many events as yet, but I think the idea is great and offers opportunity to learn new things and meet new people. The Larnaka U3A has a very varied programme and looks to be well organised, I look forward to meeting some of the members.
When I was looking for information about buses I came across a very helpful site http://cyprus.angloinfo.com/ which is a mine of information and has links to the bus companies and the CTO’s own information on taxis etc.
Now I can relax a bit and spend my time thinking about all the places I want to visit and people I will be seeing.
English: The front of the Cyprus College of Art (Cornaro Institute) in Larnaca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My departure date for my trip to Cyprus is drawing closer and closer, we are now into March, it’s only a few short weeks before I go and I still haven’t decided where I’ll be when. I have given myself a headache trying to work out the best plan of action. My dilemma arising from the fact that I will be staying in three locations during my stay all of which are a fair distance from each other and I need to be at a fourth location on two occasions which is not really close to any of them. I am also trying to do the trip on a very tight budget which means that hiring a car is only an option a part of the time.
Public transport is fairly sparse in Cyprus and there are no trains. When I first visited Cyprus in the 1960’s buses were the normal transport for most people as few had cars and these bull- nosed Bedfords used to be ubiquitous over the island travelling to all the mountain villages. As the islanders became more affluent the cars increased and the buses declined. Recently the government has been taking steps to improve the public transport system to encourage more people to use it with some new super buses being introduced with low fares and you can travel for one euro, in the capital city Lefkosia the buses within the city walls are free.
I am happy to experiment with using the buses, I like travelling as a passenger and viewing the passing landscape and villages at leisure, without the stress of negotiating traffic and finding parking spaces. At home I prefer the train. The mountains which take up a fair amount of the land mass, are not accommodating to a bus network and at present in Cyprus it isn’t easy to get all around the island without some use of a car even if it is a taxi. There exists a long distance taxi sharing service which uses a mini bus and you can book ahead to reserve a space. These seat about 8 people and run between the major cities but as with the bus service everything stops at 6pm, the witching hour it seems.
I have been invited to give a talk at Larnaka Art College and this is proving to be my sticking point as it is a bit out on a limb from my two main locations although not far from Lefkosia. I have two optional dates that I can give the talk and one of them is on my last Friday which is the one I had originally scheduled for, meaning I can stop off on my way to the airport which is about 15 minutes away. I was happy with this plan until another date was offered when a group of English students were going to be present, unfortunately this does not fit in easily and I am reluctant to let it go. i will have another ponder and make a decision. I’m sure it will all work out fine.