Cyprus, Ayia Napa

Cyprus trip : Day 2 & 3

We made it to Cyprus! After our unplanned sleepover in Oslo, we were happy we had lost only about 18 hours. Given that there aren’t daily flights between Oslo and Larnaca, our worst fear had been what if the next flight was in three days? 😰 Luckily, Norwegian  airlines put us on an early morning flight the next day & we were back on track! 😎 
We picked up our car from Larnaca airport and drove straight to the Stamatia Hotel at Ayia Napa, by the Pantachou Beach. I have some really nice things to say about the staff here who helped us get in touch with the local Booking.com personnel and changed our booking dates without any extra fees, isn’t that so very service-minded of them?! We predictably spent most of our two days by the pool and in the shallow sea, which was perfect for me since I’m not a very confident swimmer. And at 30ÂșC, these tepid waters were all we needed!

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We lunched at the Ocean Basket both days, their seafood and sushi were simply to die for! A first for us was their olive cake,  with alternate layers of pastry, cream and olive jam, so yumm đŸ€€ Dinners were relatively okayish in comparison, although we selected some of the more famous meat restaurants. We didn’t let ourselves be too disappointed – we made up by gorging tons of guilt-free gelato 😆

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For Mr.A and I a little bit of sightseeing is always on the agenda. On our second morning we were up at 5:30 to watch the sun go up at the Sunrise Beach, which lays claim to the first sunrise of Europe! Might be true, maybe not, but serene nevertheless. The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park was a good surprise with many artistic works. We also drove around the seaside to check out Cape Greco for its cliffs & sea caves. Cliff divers were having a grand time as we cheered them on! The Monachus Monachus Arch is a natural sea arch that the wind and waves have carved out over millions of years. Reminded us of the Twelve Apostles in Australia. We climbed a steep flight of steps up to the Ayios Elias Church in Protaras, and took in the sights from the hilltop. Following the customs of the church, we tied ribbons and made wishes upon them…what a romantic thought to trust your faith upon little strings of satin…


As evening fell, we were back walking the streets at Ayia Napa, watching people and enjoying the cooler atmosphere. We came by an amusement park agog with frolickers having a go at roller coasters, giant wheels, bungee jumps and an insane 360degee spinner called Booster. As luck would have it, we chanced upon a free viewing of traditional Greek dance performance put up by troupes from Cyprus and Greece. What an authentic experience! Mr.A found a little kitty by the bushes and contemplated for a while if we should adopt it right then & there, but better sense prevailed 😉 After getting mandatory couple photos snapped at the I ❀ Ayia Napa sign in the city center,  we capped the night with more gelatos and called it a day🍩 😊


Next stop : Paphos, another resort town in the southwest of Cyprus!

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Things I love, Salzburg

During the long Easter weekend this year, Mr.A and I took off to Austria’s most popular destinations, Vienna & Salzburg. Remember I told you about those innumerable Easter eggs in Vienna? It was on the same trip, that we also dropped by Salzburg. I instantly fell in love with this city, spending our time walking around its diminutive Old Town, relaxed and care-free. Some things of course, stood out a little more than others…

# Love locks across the Salzach

Among the very first things one notices as they cross the river Salzach into the Old Town, is the Makartsteg bridge, almost every inch of which is covered in love locks. Perhaps it was intentional, but somehow the majority of the locks turned out to be red, giving it an utterly synchronous look. It’s impossible not to click a hundred pics, it’s so damn cute!

# Street signs on Getreidegasse

It’s hard to miss the ornate guild signs that announce the stores along Getreidegasse, the main street in the Old Town. Everything is available here, from food to fashion to trinkets to souvenirs, each shop bearing proof of its trade in the form of wrought iron signs. The beginning of this tradition was in the middle ages, but today even the McDonalds outlets and Zara boutiques on this street have their own medieval emblems. Incidentally, this street also boasts of Mozart’s childhood home where the artist first revealed his prodigy. How fascinating!

# Mozart’s church a.k.a. Salzburg Cathedral

Going by the number of spires and domes, one can easily guess that the city, especially the Old Town has an abundance of churches. I was obviously impressed by them, but I was particularly taken by the Salzburg Cathedral which is intricately painted ceiling in earthy tones against a white backdrop. Here Mozart played at Sunday service for two years. There are four strategically placed organs that transform the church into a concert hall. Sunday service is open to everyone to enjoy some brilliant music. From the outside, too, the cathedral is quite imposing and beautiful. The main facade opens into the spacious Cathedral Square, the centrepiece of which is a serene statue of Virgin Mary. Though damaged by a bomb during WWII, the reconstruction stands grander than ever.

# St. Peter’s cemetery

St. Peter’s cemetery and monastery opens up to visitors through a modest passageway, but as soon as I entered, it felt as though I were in a Secret Garden world. The cemetery is a cluster of tombs surrounded by pretty flower patches. It is overlooked by the cliffs of the Mönchsberg upon which looms the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Burial space in Austria is rented out, not sold, hence several headstones have ended up on the walls when the rented ceased to be paid.  A walk around this serene resting place for bygone souls can be a moving experience.

# Views from the Hohensalzburg Fortress

A short funicular ride up the Mönchsberg will bring you to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The ticket includes the funicular ride and entry to a couple of museums housed within the fortress and allows you to walk around the fortress at your own pace. The best part for me though, were the wide views offered at the top of the watch tower. We could enjoy a 360 degree look at the rolling landscape around us. It was a rainy day, every green thing appeared extra lush and vibrant! A couple of other vantage points along the fortress wall also dole out grand sights far & wide, over the spires and rooftops through the city, all the way across the river and as far as the mountains in the distance. So, so very beautiful…

Have you been to Salzburg? What did you love best?

The (Easter) egg came first / Vienna’s Easter Markets

I haven’t seen as many eggs within the span of two days as I did at the Easter markets in Vienna last weekend. Mr.A and I were in the beautiful Austrian capital, walking around town, hopping on and off the trams, and strolling in and out of its many cozy markets showcasing local crafts and delicacies, among plump fluffy rabbits, cocky roosters and an immense collection of gorgeously decorated eggs. By the end of it we’d seen eggs made of wood, wax and glass, eggs small enough to hold in ones palm to those towering high above my height, eggs dipped in mild vegetable dyes to those bedecked in gilded pearls, dainty crochet jackets or mini oil paintings, and honestly, every other kind of Easter egg in between!