28 November 2016
With the end of the last race our little Cypriot adventure was drawing to a close. This has been a holiday like no other. Quite a lot of our holidays have a race in them, usually a marathon but this had four races in four days. Between them, Commando has, understandably, spent a lot of time snoozing beside the pool and I have spent a lot of time wandering about on my own. Of course, wandering about on my own is one of my favourite things and, with all the interesting race venues, I’ve seen some places I would otherwise not have even known about.
After yesterday’s race Commando retired to the sunbed to lap up as many rays as he could while he still had the chance. For a long while I sat beside him reading. When my book came to an end though I decided to have one last wander. This was never going to be an epic walk, all those early mornings were taking their toll and I was feeling pretty lethargic. It ended up being something of a goodbye to the little bit of Cyprus I’d come to know and love.
Far slower than usual I trudged across the beach, past the banana plantation and up onto the cliff. Being Sunday afternoon the Ancient Greek ruin I now know is an old carob warehouse was empty of workmen. I wandered inside for one last look at the views of palms and mountains through the arched window, the bars of light and shade from the holes in the roof and the magnificent arcade like arches running through the centre of the building.
As I walked slowly away I knew I was seeing it for the last time and it felt a little sad. Returning to Cyprus and to Coral Bay is not out of the question but, if I do, this will be a restaurant or shops rather than a wonderful ruin. Close by the new hotel is gradually taking shape. With no workmen about I had a look through the hoardings. Once it’s built this lonely little cliff top will be a bustling resort. It will almost certainly be easier to walk here with paving rather than rocks and sand and there will be somewhere to stop for a coffee but I think I’d rather have the wild desolation.
The little shrine was my last port of call. Hopefully it will survive the new development. The candle was still burning and my smooth flat stone was still there. It seemed as if a few more had been added since I last passed but I may have been imagining it. For a while I stood there reading some of the stones and enjoying the peace of the place. Then I turned back towards the hotel.
A little way along the cliff top a large flat stone, almost square, caught may attention. Something about it made me think of all the cairns I’d seen on Toxeftra Beach and along the cliffs here. The path here is peppered with stones and rocks and, looking around I began to gather some of the smoother flat ones. Then, by trial and error I piled them on the large stone and built my own cairn. What inspired me is a mystery but it felt like I was saying goodbye to this magical place.
There was one last sunset from our hotel balcony. A small group of people were swimming little dark dots on sea of liquid copper. Once the sun had disappeared below the horizon there was a gala dinner with trophies for race winners, winning teams and fastest age graded runners. It reminded me of all the awards events and gala meals I organised when I worked for Dream Factory a lifetime ago. After the meal there was entertainment, Greek music, traditional dancers, one showing off his skill by dancing with a growing tower of glasses of water on his head. It was good not to have to stay for the clearing up for once.
Today, after a lazy breakfast, some last minute packing and a final, longing look from the balcony at the cliff walk where my little cairn is now standing watch, it was time for the whirl of transfers, airports and planes. All good things come to an end and now it’s time to go back to the cold, wet English weather. Soon that blue sky and sun will be nothing but a beautiful memory.
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