Title: Coral Beach, Cyprus

Length: 800 words.

Reference: CY1

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Travel company:Thomson Travel

Copyright: Derrick Grover.

(Please click on thumbnails of photographs on this page to see enlargement, there is sometimes distortion when they are reduced.)
View from hotel.

It was breakfast by the waterfall that enticed us back to Cyprus. It would bubble merrily by our side as we ate our cereal, peaches or bacon and egg. It was necessary to arrive before others of course but if you were farther away then there was still the seaview from the breakfast balcony.

The hotel has its own seafront with recliners on the sand or under trees on the grass. The sea in November was cool rather than cold and many people chose it in preference to the hotel pools. A quite steep descent into the water meant we could go in quickly and the bay surrounded by rocks on one hand and a small harbour on the other was perfectly safe. Alternatively walks along the cliff path took us to rocky pools or inland to banana plantations.

In the harbour fishing boats meandered around the mooring lines as they awaited their nightly errand. Nets were stowed in baskets and the decks strewn with the impedimenta of fishing. The heavy rocks comprising the harbour wall were the barricade from the sea in stormy times but now the waves lapped gently at the wall and sent reflections back again that challenged those from the sea. After the sun had set over the horizon, it was a place to sit and contemplate the fishermen as they turned on their lights to prepare for the night.

There is a choice of five restaurants with varying prices ranging from about £15 Cyprus pounds. The Coral restaurant features special theme nights based on food from other countries such as Italy, Spain or the Orient. Alternatively there are tavernas nearby. Mousaka, desert and a half bottle of wine cost C£13 for two people at the Arithea Taverna. At a similar price, the roaring fire in the Coral Oasis Taverna attracted us on a windy evening. Alternatively a 15-minute walk into Coral Bay Village opens up a choice of eating-places. We enjoyed the complimentary liqueurs or brandy following our meal.

Part way through our stay we were invited to the Chef's table for lunch. After a tour of the immaculate kitchens Yiannakis Agapiou, the Executive chef treated us, to a most creative presentation of food. We started with Open-faced Ravioli with Seared Salmon, Fried Octopus & Sea Bass, Creamed Madras and Rocket Leaves attended with a Chablis 99. I felt sympathetic for the baby octopus lying there in a fried batter, but it was crisp and succulent and much enjoyed. It had not lived in vain.

It was followed by: Crispy Lamb Cutlet with a Mushroom Crust & Pan Roasted Breast of "Poussin" Red Wine Reduction & Fried Garlic Oil, with Roasted Winter Vegetables accompanied by a Merlot Special Cuvee 99. To complete the meal an artistic creation of Chocolate & Raspberry Parfait with Orange Sauce scented with Cointreau. It was so well presented that later I took the opportunity to photograph one.

We could purchase tickets for the 30-minute bus ride into Paphos at the hotel. Once the Roman capital of Cyprus, Paphos is a busy tourist attraction. The fort overlooking the harbour is well preserved. Formerly a prison housing dungeons, it was used as a store during the British occupation. Nearby cafes and restaurants abound. We had our coffee on a floating quay screened from the sun by a canopy.

Kykkos monastery.

Tours of the island ranged from C£10 to C£32. The more expensive ones include lunch. The excursion to Kykkos monastery, founded in 1092, took us through the pine scented woods of the Troodos mountains. We were impressed with the architecture of the monastery. Light grey stone walls surmounted with a red tiled roof enclose the extensive courtyard. Multiple arches support a gallery along its length where many mosaics can be viewed. (Click on the thumbnail photograph on the left to get an undistorted view). An ancient well has been preserved in the courtyard and beyond, through alley ways, is the Greek Orthodox Church containing numerous pictures and gold icons. Accommodation is available for visitors and evidently it is a healthy climate with many steep walks up the mountainous roads.

The cool mountain air is welcome on a hot day. We stopped at remote mountain villages perched on a steep hillside, the gullies hidden by the dense foliage from the trees. A visit to the tomb of Archbishop Makarios, the former president, was included in the tour. It is high in the mountains and the chapel on the ridge affords a panoramic view over the countryside.

The numerous tours include visits to Nicosia, Limassol, vineyards and mountain villages. Day flights to Egypt cost £180 but sea trips to other parts of Cyprus left from the hotel harbour also the place where scuba diving courses could be booked.

It appeared to be an attractive island in which to retire. Many British expatriates live there and the crime rate is low.

View some photographs supporting this article here.

Paphos seafront; Fort; Coral Beach Hotel; Kykkos Monastery; Fishing boats; Dessert.

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