(As previously mentioned in my Blog Post entitled "Settling into Cyprus" I am going to be using a slightly different method to write these posts for a while as I attempt to catch the blog up to where we are in real time, this means using existing notes which are all based around the weeks, with the count being how many weeks since we started travelling full time.
So I thought why not include those in the blog post titles? I may go back and add week numbers to all of the existing posts. Do you think this would be a good idea? Let me know in the comments).
We ended week 22 moving to a hotel while some emergency building work was carried out at our AirBnB. The work ended up taking longer than expected so we spent the whole of the week there. That meant plenty of time by the lagoon pools, lots of other children for the kids to play with and a week of buffet breakfasts and eating out. It was a bit of a dent in our budget that we hadn't planned for but our AirBnB host covered the majority of our expenses so it worked out OK in the end.
Kris still had work to do and the boys still did their watersport, swimming and music lessons, plus, away from hotel life, we saw more of the local area.
The boys and I discovered the joy of a Cypriot village square when we visited Geroskipou. We saw cool sculptures in the public park there and had much needed cold drinks in the shade of a coffee shop seating area, while we watched a group of local men play a very animated card game. Nobody spoke enough English, and we didn't speak enough Greek to really figure out what they were playing but it was fun to watch.
Still in Geroskipou we explored a super cool Byzantine (Greek Orthodox) Church and then found a little, free, open air museum with lots of information about olive harvesting and wine production.
One afternoon we went to find the shipwreck of Edro III. This now iconic ship ran aground here in Paphos in 2011. It was made "safe" by removing all its fuel and cargo shortly after the collision but, at the time, could not be shifted from the rocks so was controversially left where it is. Locals are divided as to whether it's a cool tourist attraction or an eyesore. We are divided in our family too! Let me know if the comments below what you think.
We also visited some prehistoric village settlements in the hills around Paphos where we saw reconstructed villages and learned about the progression of civilization and community here on the island.
By far my favourite part of that week was the day we hiked through the Avakas Gorge. I love getting our family out into nature and this was in stunning surroundings. Not at all a simple path, we used stepping stones to traverse streams and had to do plenty of clambering over rocks. We spent the whole morning marvelling at the chalk and limestone walls towering over us and enjoyed each opportunity to remove our shoes and socks to paddle through cool pools. We had packed a picnic lunch and found a perfect, shaded spot to sit and eat at lunchtime, it was absolute heaven.
The weather was glorious all week, mid 20's (Celcius), and apart from one day where the Sahara sand came to say "hello" to us and it got a bit hazy, we've had beautiful blue skies all week too.
The week ended with us back in our apartment and waiting to see what excitement the next week would bring. Sadly what it brought was us all taking it in turns to feel a little under the weather.
Nothing too serious, a headache here and a snuffly nose there but it meant the week felt quite disjointed. I was glad to be back in the apartment and able to eat fresh home cooked food and drink plenty of freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice.
One day while Kris and Jake were feeling a little poorly, Dexter and I visited the Agios Neophytos Monastery up in the mountains above Paphos. A beautifully peaceful place that includes a tiny church and living space built into the cliff face itself. Dexter made friends with one of the monks who delighted in showing him their alarm clock system. At 4:30am a wooden plank is hit to wake people up and at 5am a metal one is hit which means "run, you are late to pray" They don't allow photos inside the caves or church but the paintings and carvings were stunning.
On Friday, with germs mostly dealt with, we all took a hike through the countryside to see the Asprokremmos dam. A huge man made reservoir, it's a really impressive site and we only saw one other group of people the whole time we were hiking (plus a fisherman or two) so definitely a hidden gem.
Jake continued his kayak training (still getting to grips with the super unsteady sprint kayaks) and was a little overwhelmed to learn that his coach, plus some of the kids he was training with were part of the national Cyprus team. He was also really enjoying his music production course, filling our house with musical creations on his laptop and keyboard in-between his lessons.
Alongside that was the usual rock pooling, swimming and local walks. Dexter's highlights of the week were finding a tree growing out of the wall at a catacomb down the road from us and beating his dad at volleyball.
Jake and Kris went on a "Dad date" cinema trip after realising the local cinema shows some films in English and I found the best iced coffee on the island so it was wins all round.
Cyprus is a primarily Orthodox Christian country and the island was ramping up for their Easter celebrations in the next week and I can't wait to share some of that with you.