With a couple of hours to spare, I decided to walk into Latchi Port (see photos), and have a coffee. I took the coastal path that runs from the Polis (see photos) to Latchi but the severe winter has damaged the path in places. To the right was the Mediterranean, quite calming, with gentle waves crashing on the beach. To my left, I saw beautiful yellow and purple Spring flowers – the whole island is a mass of color at the moment.
Latchi is a small fishing village, adjacent to the ancient town of Polis, with stunning views of Chrysochou Bay (see photos), perhaps one of the most beautiful bays in Cyprus. In one direction is the Akamas National Park (see photos) and the other the hills and mountains towards Troodos (see photos), where there’s skiing in winter. If you look out to sea, on a crisp winter’s day, you might be lucky enough to see the mountains in Turkey, some forty miles away, across the Mediterranean.
As I approached the Plage Restaurant, there were a couple of hardy types coming out of the sea – they were probably Russian but perhaps Germans. The car park had three large coaches – the local school had an outing. There were children playing everywhere and having lots of fun, with their teachers sipping coffee, keeping a watchful eye.
As I approached the port – it’s a well-protected marina, with lots of expensive leisure craft – I noticed a few people repairing their boats. I spotted a couple of fishing boats unloading their catch – at this time of the year, there’s an abundance of fresh sardines. I walked past all the restaurants overlooking the harbour, the Marine Police station, and continued out around the harbour wall. There were a couple of tourists but otherwise the only company was the sea birds screeching above. I returned, retracing my steps and stopped to say hello to staff in a few of the restaurants, including at Faros, popular with the expat community.
My first stop was Y&P, perhaps our favorite fish taverna. This is very popular with Cypriot families for Sunday lunch, with people coming from as far as Nicosia just for lunch. I was greeted by one of the Romanian waiters, who told me that he’d just got married. We started talking about the fishermen’s catch and he pointed to the daily special adding:
It’s the sardine season and there’s an abundance. They’re very cheap. We have sardines, garlic bread, salad and chips for EUR 8!
I resolved to ask my wife, Marilyn if she fancied some fresh sardines.
After a couple of other short conversations, I stopped at Zouk’s and had an Americano coffee, sitting by the sea, overlooking the leisure craft in the marina. It was mid-morning, sunny with a slight breeze, so I was beginning to feel warm in my chunky sweater. It’s only the tourists that wander about in t-shirts and shorts – the local still favor jackets. I was looking up to the high hills above Argaka, remembering last Saturday’s 12 Km. hike, with the Pheonix Walking Group. There’s a large number of hiking groups in Cyprus – surprisingly, visitors seem to miss out on the many trails with stunning views.
As I returned along the coastal path, there were a few more visitors – I overheard a German couple – and I noticed that the children at the Plage were now really getting into the swing of things.
The Cyprus Tourist Office focus on the three hundred days of sunshine but most visitors probably miss out on the real Cyprus.