Blog post – Lost in Cyprus
“Every woman looks her most beautiful in this spot’ – my guidebook of Cyprus called me like a siren. I had to visit this spot and take lots of photographs.
It was 1997 and I had just surprised my boyfriend with a trip to Cyprus for Valentine’s Day. He was a Greek-Cypriot East ender and we were living together in Leyton. I knew his parents (his mother’s cooking was so mouth-watering that I had put on about a stone in the few years I had been visiting them twice a week for meals), I had yet to meet the rest of his family. A trip to Cyprus seemed just the thing.
Gobsmacked was not the word for it when he opened his Valentine’s card and saw the tickets. This may have had something to do with the fact that his present to me was a small mirror worth about 11 quid, whereas my present had cost me £350 on flights. He managed to shrug this off fairly quickly and we began to make plans for the trip.
Fast forward to day 4 of our adventure and we decide to visit the Akamas Peninsula on the North-West part of the Island. My memory has faded a bit with time, so I can’t remember where we parked or what else we saw that day, but I do remember us setting out along a dusty ochre path towards the Fountain of Aphrodite.
The Akamas Peninsula
To say I had a spring in my step would be no understatement, I was virtually skipping. I have a feeling we expected the walk to be about an hour-long, but we had brought no water, food, sunscreen or hats. I can only surmise that my excitement at looking gorgeous had rendered me unable to plan.
There was an initial wooden sign and we set out confidently, however, twenty minutes down the track there was a branching with no signage. We took the path that looked well-trodden, figuring that swathes of tourists would have beaten the way before us.
Two hours later and I was bright pink (my father is ginger and I have inherited his ability to go pink and burn as soon as I look at the sun) and my tongue felt as if saliva had never met it before. My boyfriend looked at me with some concern. Shall we go back, he asked? My response was an adamant no. I needed those photographs.
We rounded a bend, and the heavens were smiling on us, there in the middle distance was a man in khaki fatigues. We approached him eagerly, all caution thrown aside in our eagerness for water. He was a British soldier on manoeuvres and he had a canteen! Could we share some of his water, we asked him.
Yes, he said, but he didn’t have water, he had Ribena. My heart sank. I’m an omnivorous eater and there are only a handful of things I don’t like, but blackcurrants and anything blackcurrant flavoured is on that list. Still need must, so I pinched my nose and glugged back some of the Ribena. He had obviously been standing there for some time because it was more than lukewarm – it was near the temperature of bathwater.
We waved our thanks and carried on but there were no more signposts and at three hours we realised that it was going to take us most of the day to get back. I was stumbling and my boyfriend was holding me up and I had a sinking feeling that I wouldn’t make it back.
I considered telling him to save himself and reclining gently into the sparse vegetation to die, but at that point, we had wandered close to the coastline and there about half a mile offshore was a small boat. We had to flag it down.