Summer 2022 has seen the return of holidays abroad for many of us who now feel more confident/are able to travel after a pandemic-hit hiatus. Our last overseas trip was back in 2019 where we returned to South Africa (where my husband was born) and we’re so thankful we made it as it was the final time we saw my beloved father-in-law, David before his passing.
As we know, Covid sadly prevails but with the majority of us in the western world, at least, now vaccinated or with greater immunity post-infection (my entire family is fully vaccinated including my children bar the baby as per medical guidelines), we too felt it was time to venture further afield than the British Isles we’ve enjoyed over the past few years.
So we packed our bags with abandon (and felt lucky we received them at the other end after all the lost luggage sagas) and headed for the ‘homeland’ of Cyprus, where my parents were born, (they meet at university settling here so my brother and I are British Greek Cypriots).
This visit was extra special as I introduced my son Alexander, 9, and daughter, Florence, who turned 9 months old on holiday, to this sacred and beautiful island of ours. Oliver, now 12, visited Paphos when he was 6 months old but it felt like his first time as he was too young to have any recollection of that trip.
Florence has never been abroad and her first trip didn’t disappoint.
We opted for an all-inclusive 5 star hotel in Limassol (St Raphael Resort) to make life easier for us all (and our greedy kids-ha), and whilst we didn’t travel around the island as it would have overwhelmed the baby (even the transfer aged me by 20 years), my parents did, visiting family for two days out of the 10 we were away.
We did venture into the centre of Limassol which reminds me of the South of France (with apartments similarly costing up to 2.5 mil there, no less) for lunch on the seafront and a shopping trip to some indie boutiques (where I predictably bought some floral tea dresses to add to the collection) and couldn’t resist popping into Zara (who sell varying stock depending on the country) for a midi dress and woven beach bag. I discovered some platform sandals in Aldo I haven’t taken off since, too. Peter admittedly kept pulling me away from jewellery shops (I’ll get him back when it’s my birthday in November) but I’d recommend Limassol, Larnaca or Nicosia for the best shopping experiences in the country.
If in Limassol, head to the marina, old town and Limassol Castle for a taste of Limassol’s history and stunning content for your socials.
When it came to our trip, we’d invited my folks along so 1) we could enjoy the break together 2) we wanted to treat them because they’re awesome and 3) so, Peter and I had back-up with the kids and would feel like we’d actually had a holiday ourselves rather than just switching countries with 3 kids in tow. Other parents we met there had the same idea, bringing along grandparents too, to share the load.
Our goal was an easy, breezy holiday where we could take a breath after a frankly challenging year raising a baby and 3 kids far from family!
Luckily, that’s exactly what we got. The hotel we stayed at had its own private beach and that’s where we spent most of our time.
The boys loved the swimming pools on-site too but 90% of the holiday was us living beachside from am to pm, eating in the nearby hotel restaurants and cafes returning to our family room to dress up for dinner in one of the resort’s restaurants when the sun set.
Dining outside at Alakati Restaurant was a highlight.
We did venture out nearby on two evenings with my cousins and aunt who introduced us to two of their local favourites.
Taverna Salomi (1 Kyriako Matsi, Ayios Tychonas) makes for a magical meal, with twinkling lights hanging from every open window, and icons and china plates adorning its statement turquoise walls. The live music boasted Latino and Greek inspired-songs and we devoured the most epic of veggie, fish and meat mezes there (courses upon courses). I’ll never forget that night and it was the first time all year, that I felt completely at peace and happy, eating the food I love to the music that means so much to me, dancing with my daughter in my arms and my family members around me, all us of so carefree and relaxed.
Next up, was Malindi Beach Bar and Restaurant on the waterfront by the marina, another chic dining experience, this time, al fresco where my whole family and I, dined on an eclectic mix of European dishes, fresh fish, seafood and authentic Cypriot cuisine. The sky was pink, the food was rich but fresh and delicious, the company precious. We were too busy eating to take photos I’m afraid but here I am posing in front of some sunloungers opposite the restaurant (thanks to Moda in Pelle for my gifted pretty silver heels).
…Florence starting crawling on her 8 month birthday so loved exploring the beach, hotel grounds, restaurants, play areas and even the dancefloor which was wonderfully stimulating and fun for her but pretty exhausting for us!
We celebrated Florence’s 9 month birthday whilst we were away with an impromptu photo shoot before dinner, in a dress that screams ‘extra’ but ‘wow’ (why not?! hey) and was another memorable moment for us all.
As was seeing her splash in the pool with her protective brothers holding her, and seeing all of my kids enjoy the Greek food on offer from seafood to dolmathes and meatballs (and more). Seeing them so happy playing together made up for the travel fatigue and arguaments that comes with holidaying with children!
We returned home ready for the next chapter in our lives and a move back to Leeds (more of that to come)…
Cyprus, you were epic.
Thanks to Graco for Florence’s new pram The Graco TraveLite which is ideal for holidays!
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