Neil, Philip and I flew from Gatwick into Larnaca airport and hired a car for the week. We drove to Paphos, which is about 2 hours driving time along a not so busy motorway. Of course you drive on the left-hand side of the road. We were staying in Paphos in an apartment being rented to us at a very reasonable rate by Paphilia. We had some fun trying to find the apartment on a new housing estate in the middle of the night. The resort of Coral bay is not too far away.
The next day we explored the area and arranged to meet up with Tony Crassus from Pafilia, whom we'd met in the UK a few months before at a property roadshow. Tony is one of the nicest salesmen you'll ever come across and we had a few evenings out with him during the week. Tony showed us around several properties most of which we liked, but when we came to the one in Argaka, near Polis, we fell in love with it straight away. It is in a beautiful location, with the sea in front and the mountains behind. Neil put down a 0.5% deposit straight away to reserve it. We had a couple of months to decide whether or not to go through with the purchase. If we decided not to, the deposit could go towards another villa, or even as a deposit for family members who may want to purchase a property.
We spent some time at the Pafilia offices to change some of the specifications, such as floor and wall tiles and to sort out the legal work, we procured the services of a solicitor, Yiannis Papazacharia to go over this part. All of the contracts are in English. This is where it was much easier for us, than for my parent when they bought their land in Spain over 20 years ago. After sorting out the purchase, we spent the rest of the week sightseeing around the area. Polis is lovely little town, with bars and restaurants. Further along the coast is Latsi. Here we spoke to a guy who has bought four properties and is renting them out to pay for the mortgage. At the current rate he will have paid for the properties by this means in the next 5 years. This is something Neil and I will be looking into once we take possession of the villa later this year.
On the last day we did not fly out of Larnaca until late in the evening, so we got up early and drove past Larnaca to Protaras. We spent some time on the beach there before making our way back towards Agia Napa, stopping off for a few hours at Konnos Beach. This is a fantastic place, the sea was like a swimming pool (without the crowds) It really is beautiful and well worth a visit. Agia Napa was not as bad as I was expecting, but then again it was out of season. Eventually we made our way back to the airport and flew back into the drizzly morning weather of Gatwick.
Neil and I visited Cyprus again in June, to see about buying furniture and appliances, ready to be installed in the villa as soon as it is ready. We agreed to meet Michelle at the Pafilia office and she would accompany us to various stores to organize everything. Neil got lost in Paphos and we ended up on foot, about half a mile from the offices, not knowing where we were. Neil phoned Michelle, but she couldn't recognize where we were from our description. Just then we saw a gentleman coming out of a church. Neil asked him where we were, but when he heard we were trying to get to Pafilia, he very kindly offered to take us there in his car, or to take us to our car and guide us. That's typical of the friendliness of the people in Cyprus.
That visit we did some scuba-diving with the dive centre in Latchi. Our second dive was in the 'blue lagoon', which is a lovely place, though quite shallow. The beach there is on the coast road that you really need a 4-by-4 to get to. We went along this road on our way back from Latchi towards Paphos, travelling over the Akamas peninsula. Some of the views are spectacular, as are those on another trip we did from Polis to Kato Pyrgos. The direct route along the coast to Pyrgos would take you through the Kokkina enclave, which has been occupied by Turkish troops since 1974. The Cypriots have built a road that goes high into the mountains to skirt this enclave, following the UN buffer zone and some of the views are stunning. Unfortunately, the situation is such that photography is banned along here, so you have to take back the images in your memory, not in your camera.
We stayed in a Pafilia property in the small town of Tala Village. This is perched high on the hills to the north of Paphos, with some lovely views, especially at sundown. The village has a couple of good restaurants. We managed to get a table at Melitzia on the last evening and asked for the Mezze. Unfortunately they had run out and we had to settle for Beef Stifado and Kleftico. At the end of the meal the landlord gave us a 25% discount because he couldn't serve us the Mezze, even though the substitute dishes were excellent! One evening we went out with Tony, who took us to a fantastic restaurant called Seven St. Georges in Yeroskipu (www.7stgeorgestavern.com).