Category: Travel

A Tourist Guide to Cyprus, Part 2

A convivial ‘kalenikta’ (or perhaps that should be ‘Ay oop, me duck’ now that I have returned to more familiar shores) from the Lifestyle Support Guru to all Devoted Devotees (which is what ‘devotees’ should be – devoted) out there this evening. I know there will be many of you waiting with bated breath to hear more about the LSG’s adventures on the beautiful island of Cyprus. However, before I do that, I should like to say a little bit about the Greek language. Many believe that Greek is a difficult language with an incomprehensible alphabet, but the LSG hopes to demystify the whole issue with this handy guide – please feel free to cut it out and keep in your wallet/purse ready for any excursions to Greek-speaking areas of the world such as Athens, Rhodes, Cyprus and Melbourne (Australia, not Derbyshire, although there may be a large Greek-speaking community in Melbourne, Derbyshire, for all I know). All you need to remember is:
b=v; p=r; Λ= l; x= th; Π=p; H=I; and so on – Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy, or ‘Εασυ ρεασυ, λεμον σκυεεσυ’, as the Greeks might say.
Anyway, now that you have a working knowledge of the Greek language, I shall continue with my tourist guide to Cyprus. A coach trip to the north of the island is worth the effort, especially if the coach ‘population’ is split between British and Russians – the English-speaking guide was VERY discreet, pointing out RAF Akrotiri, but with no mention of the RAF taking off from there to be part of a recent bombing raid on Syria. However, I have no idea what the Russian-speaking co-guide said – she may have been insulting the rest of us and exhorting the Russians to persuade Putin to press the red button, for all I know!
My main disappointment was finding that my newly-acquired knowledge of Greek served no purpose in the north because it’s Turkish-occupied and, therefore, Turkish-speaking! However, it’s quite exciting going through the UN Buffer Zone and finding yourself in a country which doesn’t officially exist!

Quad and buggy rides offer another means of entertainment, especially if the day out includes an (unplanned and unexpected) off-road visit to Adonis’s Baths and Waterfalls (a sort of Ancient Greek equivalent of a power shower) – all I can say is that, if Adonis had to go all that way to have a bath, and Aphrodite’s Baths were several miles away the other way, I’m surprised they got together at all!

Segway – what can I say? I took to it like a duck to water, of course. I wasn’t the one who had to be guided by the rather gorgeous Dmitri (who was actually from Hull), one hand steering his own Segway, his other on the guiding handle of the Segway of some large, wobbly woman who appeared incapable of balancing properly and seemed to think she was going to fall off at any moment; and when she did get off at the halfway point, she almost fell over because her toes and calf muscles were so tensed up with trying to keep her balance that they almost wouldn’t hold her up (the positive side was that Dmitri had to help her stand up properly). But IT WASN’T ME, of course – it was some other very silly woman!

And my final piece of advice? Try not to go to the same places as Kate Moss – by ‘places’, I mean methods of transport which require you to wear a seat belt – aeroplanes, coaches, quad buggies and suchlike. I find it SO bizarre that, whenever I have to use a seat belt, I always seem to be sitting in the same seat that Kate Moss or a travelling stick insect had occupied previously. But LIFE is full of such strange coincidences, isn’t it, Beloved Believers?

And on that thought, I shall leave you and wish you all a very good Σάββατο βράδυ.

The Traveller’s Guide to Cyprus

A very good evening to you all from Cyprus! Yes, the Lifestyle Support Guru has finally managed to get away on holiday – one can’t count recent visits to York, Huddersfield and Sheffield as ‘holidays’, since they are just classed as ‘moving around oop north for a day or two’, which are not really holidays at all.
This holiday started badly, I’m afraid – the alarm went off at 5.30am a couple of days ago! How can they even let that time exist? The day should always start at something like 8.30am and move sedately on to the evening, allowing for gentle pauses along the way for food and drink, or catching a plane. Nevertheless, younger siblings and I made it safely to the airport where next-sibling-down proceeded to consume a Belgian waffle with chocolate and cream at 7.30 in the morning. I managed a small cup of coffee. Youngest sibling went to the toilet.
But I am sure that you do not wish to read about such mundane happenings, even if they are part of the LSG’s fascinating life – I only tell you these things to make you realise that you, too, can be like the LSG: you may not have a sibling who will eat chocolate waffles at 7.30 in the morning, but you probably have a spouse, a better half, a rock, a soulmate, a child, a friend, a ‘hun, r u ok?’ – ANYONE! – who can fulfil this role. But I digress… having been here for three whole days, I am now an expert on how to blend seamlessly into Cypriot life so that you appear to be a native. So, here it is – the LSG’s Guide to Life as a Cypriot:
On the first morning, the siblings decide to walk down to the harbour but you decline because you have somehow forgotten to bring a small handbag for the evenings (those who know the LSG well will realise that this is an amazing oversight), so you say you will wander to a nearby shopping centre to see what they have to offer. The fact that the walk to the harbour would take up to an hour and the walk to the shops a mere ten minutes has NOTHING to do with this decision.
Imagine your surprise upon entering the shopping centre to find that the first shop is Marks and Spencer! (Actually, that’s a lie – the first shop was Holland and Barrett, but that isn’t classed as a SHOP as such, because how can one get pleasure out of buying vitamins?) You wander in (to M&S, of course, not H&B) – just out of curiosity, you understand – and ask an assistant if they have any small bags, at which point she looks sad and leads you to the ‘bag area’. She was right to look sad – there was a choice of TWO! In fact, two is not even a choice in my mind. She will try her best to sell you a beige bag, but your eye will have already been caught by a rather fetching lime green one. You can almost hear the assistant thinking, ‘We’ve been trying to sell those damn things all year.’ But the LSG is not one to follow the fashions and trends of ordinary people – oh no, if lime green takes her fancy, that is what she will get. AND a rather nice white t-shirt in the sale also happened to jump into the shopping bag – I will swear ON OATH that the same item wasn’t available in the Derby branch of M&S last week.
The next thing to do in your attempt to become a Greek Cypriot is to get a haircut – by a hairdresser from Bradford, of course. By now, no one will ever think you are anything other than a born-and-bred Cypriot, although you draw the line at joining the siblings in learning how to scuba dive…the LSG would not wish to cause any riots by appearing in public in a wetsuit.
A coach tour of the island is, of course, obligatory – especially one that mentions a visit to a winery. Unfortunately, we booked the wrong one and ended up on the tour that visited the church of the tomb of Saint Lazarus, he who was raised from the dead. I must admit to a little shiver down my spine when we went into the crypt and saw an open sarcophagus. I looked quickly around but could spot no obvious 2,000-year-old person loitering in the shadows looking like he’d just come back from the dead, although there are one or two at the hotel who could give a good impression of him.
We also passed the rock in the sea which is reputedly the birthplace of Aphrodite, the most beautiful woman ever known, although the LSG is giving her a good run for her money.
One good thing came out of the ‘raising the dead’ tour – a rather nice lemon hooded jacket jumped out at me in Larnaca (I like to think that Lazarus played a part here – I see him in lemon), just the thing for the evenings, which are still a little chilly – and a lovely contrast to the lime green bag. All that is needed now to make me look like a bowl of citrus fruit is a pair of orange trousers. There may have been some in Marks…
One final (sort of serious) point – Greek Cypriots are incredibly friendly and chatty, but if you say ‘kalimera/kalispera/efkharisto’ at some point, their faces light up with absolute joy!
The LSG is now fully immersed in Cypriot life and could be taken for a native.
The (Welsh) Brit Pack is here and living the dream! Kalenikta!

Making an exhibition of myself

A very good evening to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I hope you have all been coping well with the snow and biting winds – don’t you just love a British spring? I have some sound advice for you tonight about visiting exhibitions and how to get the most out of them. I have recently been to two very different exhibitions and I believe that I learned valuable lessons from both. The visits were made as a result of the male siblings’ interests, since one doesn’t come across many exhibitions about my own interests, specifically ‘A hundred ways to prepare a Pot Noodle’ and ‘Cork or screwtop? A wine drinker’s dilemma.’

Photo by Artiom Vallat on Unsplash

The first exhibition was to do with properties abroad, with a view to avoiding the British winter, although that becomes more and more difficult as the years go by because the British winter now seems to last from August to June. This was perhaps the most fun of the two because I simply stood next to youngest sibling and said nothing. (This was, in fact, quite difficult because, as the LSG, I feel it almost essential to offer my valuable advice whenever I think it necessary, which is most of the time. I think this may be the reason that next-youngest sibling always allows youngest sibling to sit in the front of the car when I’m driving, with the words, ‘I’d like some peace and quiet.’) Anyway, I digress. My silence clearly disconcerted the exhibitors because they kept trying to make eye contact with me and include me in their conversation; they are obviously not used to a woman standing saying nothing, just nodding occasionally. I smiled mysteriously at times and at one exhibitor’s stand I actually said, ‘I’m his minder.’ Strangely, they didn’t look surprised – more scared, if anything. We came away with several brochures and a cotton carrier bag which I shall use for dirty laundry when I go on holiday.

The second exhibition was a photography one, which is one of next-youngest sibling’s interests. Unfortunately, when he first said it was a camera exhibition, I misunderstood and thought he said a CAMRA exhibition and I had visions of quaffing lots of pleasant real ales. This was, sadly, not to be, but it was too late to change my mind because he’d already booked tickets. Once we arrived, I told next-youngest sibling to wander off on his own because I didn’t think ‘camera people’ would have the same approach to a silent, smiling bystander as ‘holiday people’ – they would be more likely to take a photo of me and enter it in some ‘Photo of the Year’ competition and win because of the compellingly distinguished features of the LSG.
I headed straight for the nearest coffee outlet since it was still very early in the morning (about 10.15) and I’d only had one coffee instead of my usual two. I then wandered around some of the stands, but could find none selling handbags or linen tops, both of which are high on my list of ‘things I love’, along with Pot Noodles, Pukka Pies, prosecco and frozen peas, so, losing interest, I went for another coffee. It was only on the way out of the exhibition that I spotted a stand that might have some interest for me – leather bags!
Sadly, they had a slightly strange design meant only to carry cameras and their accessories, not a mobile phone; a diary; a fat purse; a Kindle Fire; a little foldup stand for aforementioned Kindle; a little pouch which holds a mobile charger, a power lead, several different connectors, earphones and a USB lead; a Murray Mint; a little notebook; several pens; some money-off vouchers for Majestic Wines; a comb, and a couple of spare contact lenses. We came away with two carrier bags, neither of which will be suitable for dirty laundry and will simply sit in the house while I try to think of what to do with them.

So, there you have it, dear devotees – exhibitionism can enliven your life!

Wheelchairs Are Wonderful!

Hello, hello, hello, FFs and BBs! I know it has been a little while since I last offered you some advice to help you cope with suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or taking arms against a sea of troubles (hmm, I’m sure someone else has snaffled these words from me…), but I am back and have a GREAT DEAL of EXTREMELY VALUABLE advice on DRIVING A WHEELCHAIR! (Ha, Mr William Shakespeare – steal that for your plays, if you will!)

As many of you will know – in fact, ALL of you should know if you read my last post about Turkey; and if you didn’t read it, WHY NOT?? – DOT (Dai of Turkey, although this is no longer a strictly accurate description) has been a little under the weather and I had to go out and bring him back from the aforementioned foreign country. The use of wheelchairs has figured large in my life in the last few weeks and I now feel I can speak authoritatively on their deployment.

1. It is great fun having a wheelchair lift into the cabin of an aircraft – you can wave to the pilot and co-pilot as they complete their checks because you are lifted up right next to the cockpit, AND you are ‘loaded’ first onto the aeroplane, so this is well worth considering next time you’re thinking of flying Ryanair.

2. Take as little luggage as possible on any flights because you will find that you are dragging two suitcases along whilst your ailing companion is being whizzed along by a lithe young male on a sort of Segway with wheelchair attachment in front. When you eventually arrive at the ‘wheelchair lounge’, you are the one who will look in need of support because you are sweating profusely and breathing heavily as you have had to follow the mobile wheelchair at a steady trot, suitcases trailing behind.

3. Hiring a wheelchair is relatively easy (if not cheap), but pay close attention to the ‘opening and closing the wheelchair’ lesson – some people of close acquaintance didn’t listen carefully enough and had to return to the hire shop within half an hour of hiring to ask how to open the bl—y thing.

4. Those special dropped kerbs are not ‘dropped’ enough and you will have to perfect the technique of approaching said kerb at a slight angle and at a speed a little above walking speed if you wish to get onto the pavement without either tipping your ailing companion out of the chair or getting run over because you haven’t got off the road fast enough.

5. Pub doors should be automatic ones – at the moment, we are trying to work out the best way of getting into/out of a pub without either ailing companion getting out of the wheelchair to open the door (which rather defeats the object of a wheelchair!) or ailing companion’s companion having to abandon the ailing companion to hold the door open while trying to manoeuvre the wheelchair by dragging it from the front – by the time those in the pub have stopped laughing at your contortions and dash to your aid, it’s too late: you’re already at the bar!

6. A final point – hospital wheelchairs are best dragged backwards rather than trying to push them from behind. This allows the ailing companion to wave regally as he passes people and the ailing companion’s companion to smile benignly and smugly at other ‘drivers’ who are making a valiant attempt to steer their own ailing companions in a straight line, much like a supermarket trolley. It never works!
Happy driving!

Top Travel Tips For Turkey

International Travel

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru is an intrepid explorer, offering travel advice on such far-flung places as Huddersfield, Halifax and Hull. This evening, my advice will be about Turkey, home of delights such as…Turkish Delight!

I am here on a mercy mission because DOT (Dai of Turkey) has been taken ill and it was decided that the quickest way to help him recover was to send me out…

Top International Travel Tips

So, what advice can I offer you, my Faithful Followers (FFS for short)? Follow these Top Travel Tips and you will not go far wrong:
1. Do not assume that Turkey will be hot and sunny – this is what you will be told when you check the long-range weather forecast, but this is simply to lull you into a false sense of security so that you only equip yourself with light clothing, a pair of sandals and no raincoat. (I am a little cross that youngest sibling didn’t force me to take at least one jacket – what’s the point of a youngest sibling who doesn’t tell you to cover all eventualities?) When the downpour starts, as it does most days – but not at the same time every day, just to fool you further – you will find that the only protection from the rain that you have is a toffee-coloured mini-umbrella with a pattern of cute cartoon cats all over it, found at the back of a cupboard in sick sibling’s apartment (no, I haven’t asked). Much as I love cats, I do not necessarily wish to be seen carrying an umbrella covered in them!
2. Travel in the capital of Turkey is easy – as long as you are not easily frightened. Taxi drivers (of which there are many) have two speeds – 100 mph and ‘BRAKE’!!! You will also find that, on the whole, seat belts are there purely for decoration – I think I have found only one taxi so far where you could actually clip the belt in securely. I have developed a technique of using one hand to hold the seat belt across my body – which would serve no purpose at all in an accident – whilst clinging on to the handle above the window with my other hand. Not pretty, but it makes me feel better!
3. Learn a little Turkish (and believe me, when I say ‘a little’, I mean ‘a little’ – you would need a lifetime to get past the basics, fascinating though it is to listen to the language). A little goes a long way and I have particularly impressed local people with my mastery of ‘Thank you very much’ – Teşekkűr ederim, pronounced something like ‘teshkweredereem’. (Do not try this at home unless you are closely supervised.) It has brought a big smile to people’s faces whenever I’ve used it (in fact, the cleaner nearly collapsed laughing when I first tried it), although I am a little concerned that I may be putting the emphasis in the wrong place and I am actually telling people, ‘I am leaving you all my money when I die.’

I think that’s enough for the first lesson, but look out for ‘the tale of the confused taxi driver’ and ‘making friends with the hospital lift attendant’, along with ‘guided tours of the hospital departments a speciality’. That’s all still to come!