The hotel was brilliant and the food was pretty good too, even Chimpton found things to eat. Though I think it was food they had stolen from the pet rabbits next door to be honest. The local shops were pretty good and there was even an English bar just along the road from the hotel which I liked but Chimpton thought it was a dive – aren’t most English pubs? The local shops have a habit of being named after the owners, so we took great delight in driving round looking for a shop called “David”. We were not disappointed and soon found a small supermarket called David which also sold the David brand of ice-cream – eat your heart out Walls.
The roads are not much to write home about and much of the sights worth seeing involve driving off-road over some pretty rough terrain. So we returned our car to Avis and upgraded to a Mitsubishi 4×4 – a wise move.
Christmas day was probably the most surreal day I have ever experienced. In the morning I got the car stuck on the beach in some soft sand. I did manage to get it out just before the tide came in but it was a close run thing – imagine trying to explain that one to Avis. The weather was warm, the sun was out and the beach was a nice place to spend the morning.
In the afternoon, I decided to drive to the top of the Troodos Mountains which boasts some of Cyprus’ wildest landscape as well as their most holy religious monument. The drive to the top took us through vineyards, forests and small mountain villages.
Half way up we stopped off at the Kykkos Monastery which is where Archbishop Makarios III used to call home. He was a Greek Cypriot clergyman and politician, who served as the Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Cyprus and as the first President of Cyprus. In his three terms as president he survived four assassination attempts and a coup d’état.
On the way to the top of Kykkos we also met an Emu who did a rather charming dance for us. I think he was actually trying to warn us to stay away from his girlfriend, but anyway.
When we got to the top of the mountain it was freezing cold and the place was covered in snow. Can you imagine spending the morning in shorts on a beach and then having the heater on in the car as you drive through deep snow in the afternoon?
Perhaps surreal wasn’t the word.
Thanks to Mitsubishi we managed to keep to the roads and not slip over the edge of some of the most precarious mountain passes imaginable. We did pass a coffee shop on the way down but I took one look at the place and decided that if Chimpton didn’t like the English Bar, she was definitely not going to like this coffee shop – it was not exactly Costa!
Another day we went to visit a rather lovely Donkey Sanctuary where the locals where all sitting in a café around a fire smoking “West Indian Old Holborn”, but we shall leave that bit for another day.
New Year’s Eve soon arrived and we decided to stay in the hotel bar and get merry. Chimpton had not long introduced me to the joys of Archer’s Peach Schnapps which appealed to my sweet tooth at the time. However, I was in the mood for something else and so asked our teen alcoholic for a suggestion. She suggested a “Swizzle”, which is Southern Comfort, Lime and Lemonade – so called because it smells like the old Swizzle sweeties of my youth. I had to explain to the Russian barmaid what it was and she had one prepared for me in no time. It was nice so I had another. And another… and another… and another… and another. They were not touching the sides. The only problem was – although they were very nice – they did not seem to be very potent as I was not getting in the slightest bit tipsy.
I continued to drink until sometime later, I needed a wee-wee. I went to stand up and nearly went arse-over-tit. My legs just refused to work. While my head was as sober as Judge Rinder, my legs were as pissed as a fart!
No Jammy Toast holiday would be complete without something to skit at. This time Chimpton was on the receiving end. I had been for a walk along the beach near the hotel, while Chimpton caught up on her sun worshipping. I had been gone for some time and upon my return I was walking up towards where I had left Chimpton, when I noticed a guy was sitting with her. The two of them were engaged in some idle chitter-chatter. I thought to myself that the little Cypriot had probably been bidding his time until Daddy was out of the way to try his hand at romancing the Chimpton. As I got closer I noticed that his wasn’t actually a guy, it was a kid. He was about twelve and thought that Chimpton – lying in the sun with her hair in ponytails – was about his age!
Probably the funniest thing though was Chimpton’s face as she saw me approaching. She was resigned to her fate. She knew she was going to get skitted for the rest of the holiday over this one – and so she was!
All-in-all it was a nice holiday and probably one of the nicest hotels we have ever stayed in.