Date Posted:5 February 2018
Travelling: the bug that you never want to end. I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot, from my days as a kid living in Europe and my life in the British army, I really have been to a few places. One of the places I still love going to is Cyprus. My parents retired there from the UK back in the early 1990’s so it’s become a place I class as home, second only to Australia.
This small island, sitting at the bottom of the Mediterranean, is more middle-eastern than European in many ways and has certainly seen its fair share of change over the years. Cyprus isn’t big – it’s smaller than Tasmania and only a few hours across by car. The island is divided in two, half owned by Cypriots and the other by Turks. These days, you can land on either side and travel freely across the borders. The island has a large mountain range (Troodos) running down the middle which pretty much separates the two parties.
It really is one of those places you fall in love with, thanks to its amazing weather pretty much all year round, historic sights, great hospitality and brilliant local food and drink. In most places, the locals speak English and drive on the same side of the road as Brits and Australians. It really does have a lot to offer. For me, when I’m not chilling out with family, doing the odd bit of sight-seeing or spending time at the beach, I get to ride my bike in amazing conditions and scenery.
My Father lives in Paphos, which is located at the bottom end of the island and surrounded by archaeological sites along the coast. From Paphos, you can get any type of ride: flat, like a beach road in Melbourne, or hilly, like Mount Hotham and the alpine district. Cyprus’s tallest mountain is 2,000 meters high so it can be snow-capped on the peak while it’s 40 degrees at the beach below. The ridge line behind Paphos rises quickly to around 800 meters so it’s easy to get some climbing in straight after breakfast, if that takes your fancy, or you can ride to the top of the ridge line taking in the amazing coastal views or the Troodos mountain range behind. The other great thing about riding around the hills, villages and valleys behind Pathos, is the quiet roads. The joy of being able to ride your bike without worrying about traffic is a welcome change and a far cry from people trying to run you off the road like back home in Melbourne.
It’s also a nice change to be able to stop when you come across some historical sight, take a few pictures, talk to locals in their traditional village coffee shops, and see things with your own eyes. You get a much better understanding of traditions and village practices that haven’t really changed much in hundreds of years. It’s also great to see the locals taking a genuine interest in what you’re doing in the middle of nowhere and where you’re from.
I’m a big believer in making the most of opportunities in life and holidays are no different. It’s a bit of a delicate balance - family, socialising, fun, warm weather, beach, sightseeing and plenty of riding whenever possible - but going places on a bike you wouldn’t normally venture in a car is pretty cool. It really is a great way to see things while working off all the food and drink from the previous night’s socialising with family and friends.
Happy next holiday! If you get the chance, take your bike…NEVERSTOP