‘AYIA, AYIA, AYIA F*CKIN NAPA!’
That’s the chant you join in with every 2 bloody minutes when you’re strolling round Ayia Napa on a summer night. A normal walk through Napa would consist of the youth being off their face (usually English). Lads baring a bit too much chest when they really shouldn’t and thinking that because they have a balloon in one hand then they have suddenly become a badass. Girls wearing shorts that should NOT be that short and failing to keep their arse cheeks inside them. And bar promoters physically dragging you into their bar with a not-so-tempting discount offer (right up until your fiesty girl pal turns round and says, “Touch me again and I’ll hurt you”). Not to mention the ‘artistry’ of today’s UV body paint, the half naked go-go dancers, blocked toilets because apparently ladies find it amusing to stick tampons where they shouldn’t, befriending the bartender and manager in order to get unlimited shots (that’s the last time I drink Apple Sourz) and the music pumping so hard you can feel it shaking your insides. Ahh youth. These are the days we will treasure forever.
However, in March, it couldn’t be more different.
I’m in Cyprus as I write, sitting in a bar with mama and papa in Nicosia, enjoying a lovely (large) glass of red wine and a bit of warmth finally. Cyprus is my second home. I’ve been coming here with my family since I was 5 years old. Basically everything shuts down from around October until April, and then everything reopens for the summer. I’ve never been out here this early in the year, although my parents have. They were adamant to show me the beloved Ayia Napa at this time of year. LITERALLY a ghost town. I took a walk round my favourite bars and reminisced…
It’s crazy how this island goes from one extreme to another in a few months. But it’s lovely to see both sides and be able to chill, knowing full well what this place will be like in a few months. It makes it feel more like home.
Like I said I’ve been coming here since I was 5 so this place holds so much nostalgia. We used to stay at a hotel called the Capo Bay in Protaras, which honestly holds most of my childhood memories. When I think of the Capo I think of playing in the pool with my brother and cousins, the fun entertainment acts, the PANCAKES at breakfast, the Smarties’ Ice Creams, learning to water ski, jet ski races, feeding the fish when my cousin fell in the pond and my brother lost a flip-flop, the friendly faces of the staff that we have met through the years and are still in touch with, and many more things that I probably shouldn’t mention online.
Then in 2007 we got the house in Ayia Thekla and we got to see so many more parts of the island. Now at 21 I crave our trips to Cyprus, everything is so much more relaxed out here. Plus I tend to get more dates out here than I do back home. Greek men…that’s another story. We have seen places and people come and go in Cyprus, we continue to meet amazing people and I have experienced many firsts out here.
Just outside WaterWorld (another tradition of ours that could unfold many tales) there’s a restaurant called Axartis or ‘Pete’s’ as we call it since it’s run by a friend of ours called Panais (Pete in English) who is a one-of-a-kind.
He’s got the dance moves. I’ve duetted with him many times, me on piano and him on accordian! This is a man who is not influenced by money, wealth or anything materialistic. He once wore a pair of sandals that still had the price tag on. When we asked him why he hadn’t taken the label off, he said, “I keep it on there because the taxi drivers always tease me for buying second hand stuff, this way they know my shoes are new.” Outside his restaurant I had my first ever driving lesson. Panais looked confused as we drove past with me in the driving seat, he’s known me since I was 11.
I used a shotgun for the first time in Cyprus. Yeah. Don’t mess with me.
Our ‘local’ is a little bar called Zafiri. Every Friday night is quiz night hosted by TONYYYYY! He also runs bingo which I won once, just sayin. “6 and 9, 69, Foxy’s favourite number”. Foxy works there, what a babe.
But Tony gave me my FIRST EVER GIG down at Zafiri. I used to do 30 minutes every Friday just me and piano. When we arrived here on Friday night we went down to Zafiri and I was thrilled that Quiz Night was still happening! I’m sorry but I would prefer Tony’s Friday Quiz Night over a Friday night on the town anytime. You can’t beat booze and a bit of bingo.
I could go on and on and on about my 16 years worth of memories over here but then you would be sitting reading this for hours. So I think I’ll finish on one more. One of my favourite restauants here is the Demetrion Family Restaurant in Potamos. A beautiful fish restaurant run by a beautiful family. The father of the family, who was the owner and a gentleman, sadly passed away some time ago. But I am so pleased that the rest of the family have stuck together and kept the restaurant and his legacy running. They do the most amazing, fresh fish and whilst the tables are set on the beach. A Greek salad whilst the sun is setting, I would highly recommend!
So those are just a fraction of my Cyprus memories. My second home.
What once started out as a fishing village, soon became what we know as Ayia Napa. But when you live out here a little while, and see the island’s true colours, you realise what a beautiful place it really is.
‘AYIA, AYIA, AYIA…’ ahh I’m not saying it again.
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