Museums and leisure in Larnaca

The Pierides collection in Zenon Kiteos Street

It doesn't take me long to get into holiday mode: Helle awakes me at eight. She woke early, but I have no trouble sleeping half an hour longer every day.

Breakfast is not included, but we will gladly pay for the comfort of breakfast at the hotel. In the dining room most guests are old English women. A small very bended specimen walks around with one hand on her rolling supporter and grabs helplessly from the buffet with the other.

Helpful ladies help her pour milk on cornflakes, butter bread etc., however at one occasion I notice her grab and wrap a piece of cake and then put it into her handbag - this she can manage with speed and no help at all.

I particularly like the Cypriot yoghurt; it is fat, velvety and very tasteful. The Danish dairy giant ARLA should send someone to study and learn. Quality would improve their scratched monopoly image.

After breakfast we turn the corner and visit the Pierides collection. It is in a beautiful house that was once the Swedish consulate. The Pierides family has collected antique artefacts for generations. The collection is not that big, but there are many fine pieces of pottery, ceramics and glass from ancient Cyprus.

We also revisit the medieval fort at the beachfront, but as in 2002 construction men are working and we cannot access the dungeons - if there are any.

The parapet at Larnaca fort The courtyard at Larnaca fort Piale Pasha seen from Larnaca fort
Click to enlarge

The referendum campaign

I buy the today's edition of Cyprus Mail and we get a refreshment in the shadow on Cafe Alasia's veranda. Cafe Alasia is Militzis' neighbour and there's only the narrow road between us and the sea.

I believe Cyprus Mail is usually a weekly paper, but due to the upcoming referendum it is printed daily. On Saturday, April 24th, the people must decide whether Cyprus should be reunited according to UN's plan. This is the burning issue in today's paper.

Polls show that people in the Northern Turkish part of the Island are for, while the Southern Greek part is against. Cyprus Mail is obviously very much pro, and the battle is vicious.

For instance the Greek-cypriot bishop, Pavlos of Kyrenia, has said that yes voters will go to Hell. At least according to Cyprus Mail and if it is true the campaign is pretty rough.

Greengrocer Larnacat

We walk here and there and collect visual imprints. Just past noon we find ourselves at Julios again. I get a kebab with salad, while Helle and the small larnacat share a tuna salad.

Helle tells me the cat likes pork too, but if she has found out already I see no reason to confirm her observation. Back at the hotel we make a cup of coffee and enjoy the terrific view from the balcony.

It gets cloudy and windy, so on the beach the parasols are removed. There's almost no wind in the morning, but it rises later. If the same thing happens during summer when it is really hot here it is probably a blessing, but at this time of the year it can get a bit chilly.

When the sun has set about eight o'clock, the wind quickly disappears, so I presume the wind rises when the sun heats air over land; the hot air rises and creates a vacuum filled by cold air from the sea.

After a visit to one of the kind money-machines we go for a stroll in the marina. There are many nice boats here, and I guess some should be called yachts. I have heard it is a popular spot to lie low during winter.

There are also tour boats that offer scuba diving, squid fishing and a glass bottom enabling you to get a view of the silent world without getting wet.

Aperitif at The Meeting Pub

At The Meeting Pub our ouzo-aperitif is served with a small plate of salty crackers. After a while we also get a small plate with salted cucumber sticks. A friendly local tells us it is good with ouzo, and we certainly agree. I wonder if the cucumber was his initiative?

He asks where we come from, and we chat for a while. Early on I suspected his intentions, but shame on me: he is just a kind fellow.

The single English or Irish man with the not so pretty children comes by again. The kids are parked somewhere (probably at MacDonald's) and he returns to a beer and something with chips.

Supper at restaurant Militzis

While the sun sets we walk to Militzis where we get a table in the smokers' area. I'm certain there are more tourists than two years ago, but many locals still come here, and if they bring children they come early, which is 8 to 9.

Tourist kids make much more noise than Cypriot children, who are generally very well behaved and balanced. For all the love and attention they don't seem to be spoiled.

After halloumi and salad Helle gets lamb kleftico and I get grilled young lamb. Kleftico at Militzis seems to be made by chopping a very small lamb into random pieces, which are then left in the kleftico oven until they almost disintegrate.

We walk slowly back home with the sea's gentle splash-splash on our right side. The fort is illuminated tonight - almost all spotlights in the pavement are lit. The tide is low and we pass the fort on the seaside. Here, unseen from the street, are some teenagers playing a game that looks like trivial pursuit. Two youngsters flirt in a dark cove.

A nightcap at TMP would be nice and with the evening being quite warm we settle outside. But even here there's a TV and the volume is on X-high. Skysport shows the soccer match between Monaco and Chelsea, and for once I welcome the commercial breaks.