Early Sept-2018 Saturday
Wouldn’t hit a lottery with this timing, as Japan was hit with a super typhoon number-21, strongest in 25 years in Kinki area and a few days later, with a magnitude-7 vertical earthquake in Atsumacho, Hokkaido. Flights out of Japan were packed as passengers from Kansai Airport and Chitose Airport tried to find alternatives. Both airports suffered emergency closures due to the scale of damage from the natural disasters.
It is a sad time for many in Japan. We got on as the captain was kind to accept us aboard. Our first time to fly in A350, impressed with the technology she has. Next, we connected to a A330-300 plane for Dubai. My first time to touch down in a Middle East country. It is a 7 hours 25 minutes flight. Watched 2 movies – A Quiet Place and My Fair Lady, old, but still entertained me.
It was long direct flight into Dubai from Hong Kong. Has been a year since our last long flight last year. Thanks goodness we had a comfortable seats or the about 8 hours flight. We made a quick online reservation for Holiday inn Express, about 10 minutes shuttle bus ride from Terminal-1 airport. Hotel shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes interval, 24 hours. Very impressive, I must say. The shower water was hot even at the coolest setting. We couldn’t enjoy the breakfast included due to our flight time the next morning, having to leave hotel at 0530 hour bus. Breakfast begins from 0600 hour.
Wow, will really get to see this friend, who has left Tokyo about 8+ years ago. How time flies.
Cyprus, a country full of history, dated back to BC years (known as Kittim then), with legends of the Greek gods too. Definitely exciting when I see the name of the Lazarus, the beggar who ate the crumbles from the rich man’s table. Upon death, rested at Abraham’s bosom while the rich man was tormented in the Hades and thirsty.
Dubai airport was gigantic in size. The immigration clearance was smooth and the people, far friendlier than thought. If only we could spend more time here.
Staff stand by counter for Emirates is behind the counters of 6. Very efficient and well designed. Staff waiting lounge will indicate your status in advised time, on screen within. Everything is done without much announcement.
The airport check-in floor is quiet, though departing floor is not – full of passengers and their voices, at best. The immigration officers wear all white robe with their head cover, very neat and cool looking.
Would be fascinating to see the Arabian world. The closest I could get to the Holy Land, Israel and also Egypt. The politics have been so tricky and will not be able to visit in this lifetime, I suppose.
Looks like we will be flying through a few Arabia countries, including the top end of Israel before over the Mediterranean Sea and into Cyprus. My first flying route.
Larnaca Airport, a nice cosy airport, no air-con. The feel is very close the what Penang Island was in some 35+ years ago. The lady behind the EuropCar counter was friendly and nice though too bad, as we were given a Kia 1.4L car, instead of a Renault. Kind of suspected. We checked but the lady noted that Kia gives a 7 years guarantee, a very attractive option for them. Having driven the day for 4 days, must say that I would not be buying one with my own money. The driving feel is not stable – steering feels over light and doesn’t feel straight on a straight road. The seat contour is bad that my husband needs a cushion to better the feel of his back, while the driver’s seat, with seat height adjustment, is a bit more bearable, if you can use the max height seat position. The steering wheel tilt and reach adjustment is a plus, though. Petrol consumption is not as good as compared to other types that we have driven here and there. Tank is down to below half with just short drives upon arriving at our hotel – about 180km, 2 hours drive. Will see how it goes at the end of the our trip.
Exiting Larnaca airport, got our rental car, this time a Kia, 1.4L, dark grey was smooth procedure.
A little town that was visited by Leonardo da Vinci, whom made her lace sewing technique famous.
David’s Takeaway place – found this on TripAdvisor. About 1 minute drive from QBH, where we stay. Fabulous hosts, David and mother. Her home made steftalia pita very delicious. The hamuliu cheese pita is also very delicious. Tried the calamari plate and it was fabulous too. The squid ring is really large. For me, need to cut into 4-5 potions before putting into mouth. By today (Friday), it has the 4th straight days of lunch there. Thanks goodness it was delicious as my husband do not want to try any other lunch places at all. Occasionally frustrating as menu gets quite bored after 4 times straight. So far, mananged to get differest choices, but it is running out. Cash-term only.
Dinner at Tak Steki Tok Thanasi – named after the grandfather, was a lovely, family-run restaurant. We went twice, the last being on a Saturday night, arriving late, around 1930 hour without reservation. Very happy to be seated after a short wait while they checked. Enjoy local wines, dips, which were delicious. I was too full to enjoy the complimentary dessert ! Complimentary “anashika” cheese dessert with nuts, herbs taste. It is of natural sweetness. It is a must-try if you are nearby. Reservation is recommended for weekend visit. The restaurant is at the corner of road. Parking square is available next to the restaurant. Credit card payment accepted.
STEPHANIE – Seems to be a friendly run place too, with nice atmosphere. The host is kind of slow but hospitable. We tried wine stewed lamb and rice stuffed olive leaves – delicious servings. Parking is available along the roadside. The restaurant is at the corner of road. Credit card payment accepted.
Nice restaurant, with garden sitting area too.
Tried their home made Lemoncello drink at the end, sweet taste alcohol. Very nice as my dessert. I am not a ‘sweet’ person hence this is great for me. My husband, though is, ordered one and it was delicious.
Dishes are delicious, chef’s compliment of salmon-roll appetiser was delicious. Menu changes hence photos here may not be available.
Parking is available in front of restaurant and along road side. Located at corner of a york road. Just be a little more careful as the road is not very wide. Cash-term only place and menu will easily be in €85+ range if you order a full course and also drink a lot.
Have been swimming in the sea, off QBH for straight 3 mornings since arrival last Sunday morning. Fabulous and the clarity is better by the day. Creation is amazing. Fishes are there and seems to increase in number every time I swam.
The very first snorkelling, almost lost my underwater camera as the string got off my neck when I did a little quick underwater to go beneath safety rope. Sought the help of lifeguards as we tried and couldn’t really get underwater to the camera. Shocking, I must admit. Mr Stellos and Mr Phynynos (pardon me as these are probably spelt wrongly) – the lifeguards, helped me get back the camera ! Truly appreciated. Can’t imagine losing the camera on day-1. Definitely remind me to never under estimate the power of water.
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking a cruise out, half-day, off to Coral Bay and Sea Caves for snorkeling, that includes a BBQ lunch. It is supposedly one of the best snorkeling spot in Cyprus. Exciting.
Have a spa reserved this afternoon. A day of relaxing and pampering. The lady was very persuasive. I suppose an enquirer won’t be able to leave without making an appointment ! Yet, no price is printed and highly negotiable, ended up with an €90- (nett) for an hour of full body massage. Credit card payment accepted.
Poor husband caught mild fever and needed rest that we postponed our half-day cruise for the day. It was wonderful that we are able to change it to Saturday, their next cruise day. Too bad the timing for horse ride is a bit hard to catch as we have a reservation for dinner this evening. It would be best to do so in the morning or late afternoon as the sunlight here can be really burning hot, and it is dry. Sunburn prevention is very important. Tomorrow (Friday), we are planning for the trip to Paphos Castle, Paphos Archaelogical Site and Tombs of Kings. Those will be probably be about 4 hours in the morning. Might be able to do horse riding in the evening tomorrow, which should have the sunburn issue, hopefully. Still the sun block cream/spray will be needed and probably highly recommended in this country.
The day trip to Paphos archaelogical sites were wonderful. Took a quick trip to George’s Horse Riding Ranch, managed to reserve an hour horse ride tomorrow evening, which will be by the coastline, along seashore. Too bad my better half hesitates to try due to a bad back. Otherwise the fun would be double. Apparently, I will be joining a few others as well. So fun thinking about getting to know the other horse riders.
The cruise tomorrow has been changed to Wave Dancers Yatch as the Mediterranean Diamond Yatch will be sailing. We are noted that it will be a nice one though the snorkelling spots are down to 1 spot only. Too bad.
We tried to extend our stay with QBH but room-212 is not available. Too bad. If only the decision would be faster. I had anticipated my wish to stay just by the sea, after all I am a bigger fan for sea side than mountains. Yet, I am not the only ‘planner’. Sometimes, it is a frustrating feeling. I just learn to make the most the most out of what is available,, by God’s grace. After all every single visit is a fabulous grace and gift from my Father above. This part of Cyprus, Paphos, is a beautiful area, superb for relaxing and nature activities. Close to Akamas area, where it is protected too. Highly recommended and a stay of about 14 days will be recommended for non-hurrying type of trip.
Queens Bay Hotel (QBH)
Jet lag was bad on us upon checked in. Took a little while to get used to new environment.
Ms Elena has helped us with cruise reservation and then, our need to change day due to feverish husband. Had it changed to full-day with a one-stop snorkelling and a different itinerary than the original half-day, 2-stops snorkelling cruise. Well, a different kind of pleasure. It was an all-adults type of cruise. Fantastic experience and will look forward to another in next trip.
Such wonderful hotel, with friendly and helpful staffs. The breakfast restaurant staffs are helpful too. Breakfast selection was plentiful – hot veggies, potatoes, beans, porched eggs, bacons, a few others, cold hams, cheeses, breads, yogurt, honey, marmalades, pancake, coffee makers, Cypriot coffee, lemonade, hot water, teas, omolettes made to order and fruits. Gorgeous, indeed.
The bay beach area, with a separate privately-run beach benches is very chidlren friendly. There are lifeguards, Mr Stellanos and Phynyanosus (guess my spelling are horrid) were so kind to help me get my sunk camera that has slipped off my neck when I tried to swam beneath the dividing rope). It was my day-1. Shocking indeed. To realise that I could not dive down myself, was another shock too. My salute to them again.
Gentle wave though a safety line is there to indicate more wavy seas for those who enjoy such. Over the days, we enjoyed the fishes, large and small, some look delicious ! LOL
Paphos area is closer to the Akamas area, which is a protected nature area. Would be lovely if we had the time. Parking is ample. Tennis court is across the hotel entrance, up the stairs, by the road. There is a short course for golfing and putting golf also. A private off-road big cart is about 5 minutes drive away from hotel. A supermarket and a restaurant/tavern are about 10 minutes walk from the hotel, close to the bus stops, with bus number-615, I believe.
Mediterranean Diamond Yatch Cruise
(Wave Dancer I)
My husband was down with fever that we had to swap to Saturday, our last chance to try during our stay in Paphos. The lady was kind to swap day for us though had to put on another cruise, with a different itinerary as theirs was cancelled that Saturday.
Wave Dancer Cruise was nice, with 1-stop snorkelling spot (the other have a 2-stops snorkelling stops). Waves were kind of strong hence, we were snorkelling pretty close to shore for safety reasons. Too bad, yet, safety first, indeed. Brief safety announcement made as the cruise began.
There were live music and acrobats, impressive indeed, to see this show on a cruise, in close-proximity. Incredible professionals. Bravo, indeed. Music was lovely. Well, it did turn out to be a nice experience. Very grateful that the words was kept and no misunderstanding when we made the balance payment aboard. Paid deposit with credit card through hotel, but cash-term only on board.
Brunch on board was fabulous and plentiful. The staffs were wonderful and amazed that they could remember who, when and what was the order. Just a little patience, and it will come just when you wonder if they remembered. Bravo.
Mr Andreas was clear and loud in explaining the whole itinerary. The umbrella, though opened when you first boarded the cruise, those will all be closed when the cruise began. Just bring lots and lots of sun blocks/tans with you. Recommended, really.
George’s Horse Riding Ranch
The lady Michelle was very friendly and will make you feel homely very quickly. I went alone but have a family with the same passion and enjoyed our rides to the seashore and along it during sunset hours – 1800-1900 hour. It was gorgeous ride. We passed by a stretch of houses , crossed a small road and down to off-beaten before getting to the sea side cliff where the feeling max. As the family whom had their repeated ride, I would ride again if time permitted.
Helmets are available. Casual wears and keep minimum things – camera and key-holder only, for instance. Parking is along the road side, in front of the ranch. Cash-term only. Reservation is recommended.
Ambelikos Traditional Hotel, mountain
A nice family-run hotel. Very delicious dinner and breakfast. We had room-301, overlooking the mountain, a large room that can accommodate 3 persons, spacious bathroom. Hot water runs well. 3 power outlets available beneath the dressing table. A balcony that sits 2 with a table. Fireplace is homely, and a lounge area too.
Parking is right in front of the hotel building, on the same ground floor as rooms with number 3–. You’ll need to carry your luggages down the stairs to hotel lobby/reception. Hence may be better to leave luggages in car, first and leave the carrying later, even if you ended up have to, no hurry. The hotel owner was helpful in carrying my luggage for me to our room.
Portions is big if you are used to Asian portion. They are opend all year-round, including ski season.
A definite quiet, relaxing and filled with fresh air place, a great escapade for busy, city-life.
Has very interesting history about its beginning – king who insulted a hermit monk – verbally and physically, was caught with teminal illness, went to ask for forgiveness and the monk, about the same time, had a ‘wish’ through dream to ask for Virgin Mary’s statue to be brought from Russia so that she could rest in the Kykkos Mountain. Interesting story to the very end.
It was a beautiful, with artefacts from early Christians too. Amazing. Some explanations including robes of the bishops and the ranks of the Orthodox order. Wall mosaics are magnificent. The main church hall is beautiful too, no pictures allowed. Same for the museum.
Parking is available close the entrance, which is not very large. Robes will be supplied if you are in very light attire – no sleeve and shorts. Lavatories are next to the museum entrance, where museum entry tickets are sold too.
So happy to finally meet my old friend in person. About 8+ years now. They were stationed back the States for some years, then to Cyprus the past 3 years. She was the one shout, it is safe to travel in Cyprus. Yes, it is, though I kept embassies numbers handy, did not feel I’ll need it upon arrival. Feel like 30+ years ago’s Penang ! Cyprus, very much deep with English influence, the buildings and road signs are so familiar. Instantly unforeign feel, except for our jetlag in the first few days, and different culture to Japanese.
We arranged to meet up at Ledra Arcade, main entrance, quickly understood what she meant when we got there. We managed to park by the road, next to the local bank at the advice of a gold-silver accessories merchant shop. Such friendly gentleman though we were a bit and tried to not having to get a fine for bad parking. Turned out all went well. We presented soft drinks to him on our way back.
She briefed us with some Cyprus history, as we strolled in Ledra Arcade area, took us into North Cyprus, which is controlled by Turkey and only recognised by them. Interesting atmosphere.
So good to see her in person again.
Larnaca – where airport is
Then we moved into Larnaca, to visit Lazarus Church and Larnaca castle. It wasn’t hard to find and found a nice parking with auto-pay machine with a flat charge of €2.00 or so for whole day.
Could not really read much as most are noted in Greek. Most churches are of Orthodox influence. Some re-reading made about it. 😉
We found a nice café after the castle and church visits on our way back to parking, along the Larnaca sea side drive. It sure was kind of sad that the trip was coming to an end. It certainly was a fascinating trip. My 2nd country where her history dates back to BC centuries, after China. It reminds me of how long mankind has been around, of the life and death of generation after generation, the rise and fall of nations and discoveries mankind made, some to our own horror and destruction. What a shame if mankind in this 21st doesn’t heed what our past has showed us.
Hampton by Hilton Dubai
Lovely, just opened in early September-2018, as we learnt. It’s too bad though that bus shuttle arrangement could not be made in spite of a 5 hours prior e-mail (as we made the reservation) with flight info. We ended up calling upon arrival after seeing no response. In the 0100 hour that was not helping, we ended up paying Dirham53.00 (2 luggages) for a speedy 10 minutes taxi ride to hotel. Otherwise, we have to wait about 1 hour for the next shuttle time, at 0255 hour !
Yes, the bath towels are fabulously fluffy, to my liking. Pool and breakfast-lunch restaurant are of new design. Breakfast selection was about enough – 1 type of sausage, ham and cheese. There is waffle, freshly made/order, scramble egg, juices, coffee makers, cereal, soy milk, nice 5-6 selection of breads. The reception, Mr Phanasth is a helpful, whom advised us to check in with reception for possible extension given our next flight time. Certainly a great console when arrival appeared to be confusing and shuttle service was not accommodating for late arrival.
2 bottles of drinks and in-room coffee/tea, kettle are readily too.
Power outlet, with USB ports for charging are available on near desk and bed side tables. Fantastic consideration/design indeed.
Hot water is good though water pressure seems to fall overtime. Good enough though. I like the room design a lot, nice ergonomics design.
Ahlan First Class Lounge, T1 at Dubai International Airport
It has been a while since a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere lounge being served. At HKIA, the Diners Club lounge can be unpleasantly crowded and lacking seatings.
Staffs Manning the Ahlan lounge were pleasant and very accommodating. Drinks and menu meals are served too. The lavatory were clean and spacious, with hand towels, I mean cloth towels, indeed.
Very pleasant indeed.