There are loads of great things to be said about living on our lovely little center-of-the-universe island called Cyprus. We have endless supplies of sun, sea, sand, halloumi and mild winters, and a low crime rate that other countries can only dream of.
But when it comes to planes, trains and other means of transport it appears that not all is rosy in paradise, and travelling between major European countries and this blissful spot in the eastern med still presents one of the biggest challenges known to travellers in this day and age (ok, so maybe not the biggest, but certainly one of the more frustrating ones!).
Unless your destination is London and/or other UK cities you will spend a fortune both in money and time to reach Germany, France, Italy and – the worst case – Spain. In summer time things get a little easier thanks to charter flights but you wonder how on earth the CTO will ever succeed in selling Cyprus as a winter destination with the current airline schedules and ticket prices.
When I was on holiday in Germany last week I was sitting on an Intercity high speed train one day, admiring the swiss countryside on my way to a reunion with two of my closest friends. One now lives in Geneva, the other in Basel and thanks to the wonder of online travel bookings I got to see them both within 72 hours and without breaking the bank. For the cost of a taxi ride from Limassol to Nicosia and back I had a return flight from Hamburg to Basel. For the cost of a second taxi from Limassol to Paphos and back I had a round trip train ticket to take me halfway across Switzerland between the two towns.
I know that everything in life is relative, comparing apples with pears has never been fair. But as I enjoyed the ease of travelling around Europe, surrounded by American and Japanese tourists who clearly did too, I wished that things we different for Cyprus. We could certainly do with bus loads of international, sightseeing, globetrotting and adventure-seeking visitors on our island. Our guide books are filled with beautiful places to go and see, our ancient history is rich and varied, plus we have those endless supplies of sun, sea, sand, halloumi and mild winters. Not to forget that enviably low crime rate.
Kopiaste, dear tourists!
How do you say Kopiaste in Japanese again?