We all make the odd mistake when we’re travelling or on holiday – it just so happens that my latest trip to Paphos with icelolly.com was filled with them. Well, six of them to be precise.
You’d think, after travelling to almost 20 countries around the world, I would be pretty travel-savvy by now. But nope. Between leaving my passport on the plane in Amsterdam and falling off a coach in Bruges and spraining my ankle, I’m pretty much a walking disaster.
On the brightside, while I did make some stupid mistakes in Paphos, at least it puts me in a good position to tell you what not to do when you visit.
1. Turning up to Paphos Town on a Sunday
Probably the most stupidest thing I did in the five days we were there – of all the days to decide to head into Paphos Town, we chose a Sunday. AKA the day everything’s closed. From Monday to Saturday the town is (apparently) a vibrant hub of shops, market stalls and bars. I can’t confirm or deny that because this is what we were confronted with when we arrived:
So yeah, next time you’re in Paphos, plan your days wisely and stick near the harbour area on a Sunday.
2. Not taking water to the Tomb of the Kings
Paphos in May is hot. It’s the kind of place that you need to carry a bottle of water around with you everywhere you go (they don’t recommend you drink the tap water in Cyprus).
Having been to the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park the day before where there was a vending machine, we assumed there would be water available to buy at the Tomb of the Kings. MASSIVE ERROR. They didn’t have anything.
After realising we were about to collapse from dehydration* after just five minutes of walking around the site, we decided we had to nip out to find a drink. Luckily there were a few cafes just across the car-park, but after refuelling with a few drinks and an obligatory sandwich, we only had about 15 minutes to look around the tombs until the Sightseeing Bus arrived to take us back.
The lesson here? Always be prepared, and don’t assume there will be places to buy drinks when you get there.
3. Thinking a calm sea wouldn’t give sea sickness
Still reeling from how cheap we had managed to get a one-hour boat tour for (€10, I’ll ‘ave that, thank you very much), sea sickness was the last thing on our mind when we climbed aboard our vessel.
As we left the harbour area, however, we realised that the calm sea was massively deceptive – and that we suffered from sea sickness.
In hindsight, this definitely wasn’t helped by the fact our boat was so small. If you suspect you may be prone to sea sickness, opt for the slightly larger, more sturdy boats – or pick up some tablets from the pharmacy before you go.
4. Not wearing trainers
This is something that both my friend and I did on numerous occasions. Because it was so warm and we wanted to give our feet a good airing, we often opted for flip flops or flimsy sandals over comfy trainers. This is all well and good when you’re by the hotel pool, but a terrible idea when you’re climbing around over rocks and walking vast distances in the archaeological parks. Next time I’m keeping my comfiest trainers strapped to my feet.
5. Forgetting to explore the other side of my hotel
On one side of the hotel is the pool, a blue flag beach and a handful of cats – on the other is a main road. Which one are you most likely to explore?
It was only on the last morning that my friend and I decided to have a look around the front of our hotel to see what was on offer. In just half an hour we stumbled across the cutest cafe with a huge willow-style (I am no plant enthusiast…) tree in the middle of the seating area, as well as some adorable little craft shops. In the end we were so pushed for time that we didn’t get a chance to explore as much as we liked – but damn do I wish I hadn’t left it until the last day!
6. Worrying I had caught rabies from the cats
I’ve hugged stray dogs in Pompeii and oodles of cats in Athens, Amsterdam and Germany, and not once have I given a second thought about contracting rabies.
In Cyprus, however, there were cats roaming all over the place, some looking significantly more manky than others. Within half an hour of arriving at the hotel, I had already been scratched by one cat (Batcat, below), and BLOOD HAD BEEN DRAWN. When my friend got scratched by a cat with one eye and suspicious looking lumps, we thought we’d better look into it…
And it turns out that when you type ‘Cyprus’ and ‘rabies’ into Google, you will find something that confirms you are dying – even if the other 99% of entries tell you not to worry.
While I’m not saying you shouldn’t get yourself checked over if you are concerned you’re ill when you’re away, the likelihood of getting rabies from a cat in Cyprus is virtually non-existent. Most of the strays have been taken off the streets by vets in order to be vaccinated and neutered. You’ll be able to tell if they’ve had this done by looking at their ears – those with a little ‘v’ shape cut out of their ears have been checked over.
So, um, yeah. Sorry to the staff at our hotel for freaking you out when we told you we *probably* had rabies. We didn’t.